It is not a secret that the New York Yankees want to improve their starting rotation. And right now, it seems the best way to do so is via the trade market.
There are several free agents worth adding to any rotation, such as Yu Darvish or Jake Arrieta. But both are likely to command hefty contracts, and the Yankees want to get below the luxury tax threshold if possible, especially after adding Giancarlo Stanton earlier this offseason.
The trade market features far more options, but it seems the Yankees have set their sights on just one name: Gerrit Cole. The Pittsburgh Pirates star has emerged as a priority for the Yankees, and it seems both franchises have engaged in talks regarding a potential move during the coming weeks.
Cole is coming off another good season as the Pirates’ ace. He left a 12-12 record with a 4.26 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 196 strikeouts in 203 innings pitched across 33 starts. He left his injury problems behind, and once again was a workhorse for a Pittsburgh team that finished fourth in the NL Central. But considering the team’s problems are not going to disappear anytime soon and that they are likely to finish near the bottom of the division once again, perhaps trading Cole makes sense.
A trade would be the best thing for both franchises
He’s a young starter who could lead any rotation, but why keep him if the team is not going to win anytime soon? It’s the same time that might happen with Andrew McCutchen, the former All-Star outfielder who is likely to leave the Pirates if the right offer comes along. At the very least, Cole would net an impressive haul of prospects back. That’s definitively something to consider.
As if that wasn’t enough, Cole also has experience pitching in the postseason. The righty has a 3.94 ERA in three playoff starts, and that’s exactly what the Yankees need. They need someone who can get the job done in the postseason as well. Especially if they can get him without parting ways with some of their top prospects, as it has been reported over the past few days.
Cole would likely slot as the third of the fourth starter in New York’s rotation, likely between Masahiro Tanaka and Sonny Gray. That’s a quality group arms, as the projected rotation with Cole would also include Luis Severino and C.C. Sabathia. We could easily be talking about one of the best rotations in all of baseball.
If the Yankees have the chance to get Cole, they should take it. It makes too much sense to let such an opportunity pass up just like that.