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MLB hot stove: Could Pirates’ Gerrit Cole be dealt to Yankees for Clint Frazier?

 

Although baseball’s winter meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., officially ended on Thursday, Yankees’ general manager Brian Cashman will still be manning the phones this winter in search of additional starting pitching. 

Over the past week, a few names have circulated in trade rumors, but the one generating the most buzz at the moment is Pittsburgh Pirates’ front-end righty Gerrit Cole.

According to a source who spoke with George King of the New York Post, the Yankees and Pirates have reportedly discussed a deal that could potentially send the 27-year-old Cole to the Bronx in exchange for a package headlined by touted youngster Clint Frazier. The report also mentions Yankees’ pitching prospect Chance Adams as another possible trade piece. 

Per King’s report:

The Pirates are expected to deal outfielder Andrew McCutchen, so they are looking for an outfielder who has power. While Frazier may not qualify as a legitimate power threat, hitting gurus believe his bat speed — which Cashman labeled “legendary” when acquiring the 23-year-old from the Indians in 2016 — will lead to more homers with regular playing time.

The Pirates also are looking for a pitcher ready to work in the majors and the closest to that in the Yankees’ system is right-hander Chance Adams, who some view as a reliever even though he went 11-5 with a 2.89 ERA in 21 Triple-A starts after posting a 4-0 record and 1.03 ERA in six Double-A starts.

Cole, who the Yankees selected in the first round of the 2008 June Amateur Draft, chose college ball at UCLA over the majors that season, and three years later, he was selected first overall by Pittsburgh in the 2011 draft. In 127 career starts with the Pirates, Cole owns a 59-42 record and 3.50 ERA, and in 2017, he was one of just 15 starters to pitch at least 200 innings. In those 33 starts (12-12, 4.26), he allowed 199 hits and 96 earned runs, but he also struck out 196.

Frazier, 23, made his major league debut last July against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park, and in 39 games (134 at-bats), he hit .231 with four home runs, nine doubles, four triples, and 17 RBI. He also posted a .715 OPS in 2017.

If the Pirates express interest in Adams, the Yankees’ second-best prospect (according to MLBPipeline) could see the majors next spring. In 2017, the 23-year-old righty was on the verge of being promoted during September callups, but New York ultimately refrained from doing so. In a combined 27 starts between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Adams went 15-5 with a 2.45 ERA.

For the past deacade, Yankees have kept tabs on Cole, who isn’t eligible for free agency until 2020.

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