While all of the recent trade rumors for Gerrit Cole have been about the New York Yankees, Jerry Crasnick reports that the Pittsburgh Pirates have actually been in discussions with multiple teams since the winter meetings.
The #Pirates have been engaged in talks with multiple clubs on Gerrit Cole since the winter meetings. This isn't a case of the #Yankees or bust. A trade doesn't appear imminent at this point. But things could pick up again between Christmas and New Years.
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) December 23, 2017
As recently as two days ago, the rumors said that a Yankees and Pirates trade would happen, with some saying that they were very close. If this tweet by Crasnick is correct, then we likely won’t hear anything until after Christmas and it could go on longer if the Pirates get more teams seriously involved. We will have more thoughts on this shortly, along with adding any possible updates throughout the day.
UPDATE 1:35 PM: Analysis from Tim Williams…
You can take a guess where most rumors come from based on which side they benefit. The basic rumors saying a team is interested in Player A are more informative. But when a negotiation is taking place, it starts to feel like you’re hearing from one side or the other, depending on the rumor.
Most of the rumors we’ve heard to date have been out of the New York media, saying the Pirates are asking for too much. We’ve heard from the national media sources with the same information, saying the Pirates are asking for Gleyber Torres, and the Yankees won’t be trading him, along with a few other prospects.
To date, the talks have had this feel where if the Pirates want to trade Cole, they need to trade him to the Yankees, and the Yankees are being nice enough to be offering a package headlined by Clint Frazier. And that’s convenient for the Yankees. They don’t need Frazier, due to their other outfield options after the addition of Giancarlo Stanton. A trade of Frazier and others for Cole would help upgrade their team without really losing anyone of importance, which is the type of trade you want to be making.
But this latest rumor is a reminder that before all of the serious Yankees talks, there were other teams showing interest in Cole. You typically don’t see many rumors that might have come from the Pirates side, as their organization is extremely secretive. But it’s easy to think this one came from the Pirates side, just to give that reminder that it’s not “Yankees or bust” as Crasnick put it, and to battle back against the rumors coming out of New York saying they’re asking for too much.
I’ve felt that Gleyber Torres is too much for Cole, and I doubt the Pirates will get that. But it makes sense for the Pirates to play hard ball in these negotiations, rather than giving in to New York and accepting only the prospects they’re willing to give up. I’ve pointed out that if the roles were reversed, we’d be hearing criticism about how the Pirates are hoarding top prospects and unwilling to spend what is needed to get an MLB upgrade like Cole. It’s weird that we haven’t heard the same thing about the Yankees, and that these trades have been portrayed as “Yankees or bust” at this point.
I think the biggest takeaway here is that we’re getting more confirmation that the Pirates seem intent on dealing Cole, which would set them up to be sellers this offseason.