After all is said and done, pitcher Gerrit Cole might be traded to the New York Yankees by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Late last week, a deal was still being worked on for the right-hander to move from Pittsburgh to the Big Apple. A source has indicated that it is not whether the trade will happen, but when.
The Pirates are motivated in a big way to trade Cole even if this potential deal does not work out with the Yankees, said sources. According to one source, a deal may be reached prior to Christmas.
At midweek, reports surfaced that the talks between the team had cooled off after the end of the winter meetings.
The Pirates are apparently looking to land Gleyber Torres an infielder in a deal but said Clint Frazier an outfielder was the more likely central figure, even though the Pirates would need more than only a straight swap of player for player.
Pittsburgh did not reach the postseason this season making it two straight seasons without postseason play following three consecutive seasons of playing in the playoffs.
Pittsburgh plays in the highly competitive National League Central that features the Cubs, Brewers and Cardinals.
By trading Cole, it appears the Pirates are motivated to speed up their rebuild, while the Yankees are amidst a highly competitive period.
Cole played for the NL All-Star team in 2015. That season his ERA was 2.60, with 202 strikeouts and a 1.09 WHIP in his 208 innings of work. He ended the 2016 season with an ERA of 3.88 and a 1.44 WHIP. During 2017, his ERA increased to 4.26 with a 1.25 WHIP.
Nevertheless, Cole is just 27 and has proven to be a strong pitcher in the past. He also owns a 0.88 WHIP in his 16 innings in the postseason.
For his career, Cole is 59-42 with an ERA of 3.50 over five seasons. His best year was 2015 when he finished at 19-8 with his 2.60 ERA. That season he finished in fourth place in voting for the NL Cy Young.
The Yankees hope to compete for the American League East title in 2018 after pushing the Houston Astros to seven games in the ALCS and adding slugger Giancarlo Stanton to their lineup.
Acquiring Cole would give the starting rotation a playoff tested pitcher to bolster it to another level.
The Yankees starting rotation at this point consists of Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino, CC Sabathia, Jordan Montgomery and Sonny Gray.