The New York Yankees have been the talk of the offseason, as they acquired NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton from the Miami Marlins for Starlin Castro and two prospects a week ago. However, it’s looking like their trading habits won’t be stopping there this winter.
According to a report from George A. King III of the New York Post, the Yankees are discussing a deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates that would send right-hander Gerrit Cole to the Bronx and it would possibly include sending outfielder Clint Frazier to Pittsburgh. The Pirates are also looking for a major-league ready starting pitcher in return for Cole, according to King.
With the expectation that the Pirates deal outfielder Andrew McCutchen this offseason, they would need a power-hitting outfielder to replace him. The 23-year-old Frazier could fit that bill, as he has “legendary” bat speed, as coined by Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.
Frazier hit 16 home runs in 133 games between Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and the Yankees’ big league club (12 homers in AAA, four homers in MLB). Frazier has also become expendable with the recent acquisition of Stanton, the likelihood that Jacoby Ellsbury and his extraordinary contract aren’t moved and their pot of outfield prospects waiting in the minors.
With Pittsburgh looking for a controllable, young, major-league ready starter, the Yankees can provide that with pitching prospect Chance Adams. The 23-year-old Adams posted a 2.69 ERA in 150 1/3 innings pitched, along with a 135/58 K/BB ratio, across 27 starts in Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
The Yankees have enough starting pitching in the minors ready to make the move to the majors, so they aren’t in dire need to have Adams on their big league roster, making him also expendable. A deal including Frazier and Adams could get a deal done for the 27-year-old Cole, based on what Pittsburgh is looking for.
Over 33 starts in 2017, Cole struggled to a 12-12 record, along with a 4.26 ERA and a 4.08 FIP, as well as a 196/55 K/BB ratio, in 203 innings pitched. During his five-year career, he owns a 59-42 record, along with a 3.50 ERA and a 3.27 FIP.
Cole’s 2017 campaign might be a worrisome season for Yankee fans, aside from his ERA and FIP. Over his first four seasons in the big leagues, Cole allowed 36 home runs in 579 1/3 innings, good for a 0.6 HR/9, but he allowed 33 home runs in 2017, which translates to a 1.4 HR/9. That’s not very good, considering if he was traded to New York, he would be pitching in a very hitter-friendly ballpark.