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MLB trade rumors: Cubs, Pirates have discussed Gerrit Cole

The Cole sweepstakes don’t involve just the Yankees and Astros.

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs and Pirates have talked about possible trade options that could send Gerrit Cole to Chicago, Jon Heyman reports.

Cole appeared destined to head to the Yankees as another part of Brian Cashman’s offseason splash, but talks simmered. Then it was the Astros, who reportedly had a deal in place to acquire the right-hander until those rumors were also dismissed. Now the Cubs could become a dark horse in the race for the 27-year-old.

The Cubs are in danger of losing Jake Arrieta to free agency, which would leave a gaping hole in the starting rotation that Theo Epstein would have to fill. Cole would be a viable option if the Cubs can package a deal that the Pirates approve of, and better than any offer the Astros or Yankees can put together.

Cole stayed healthy in 2017 and threw over 200 innings, but finished with the worst ERA of his career (4.26). He also struggled with the long ball, giving up 1.4 home runs per nine innings, up almost a full run from his 2016 mark of 0.5.