Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the Chicago Cubs.

MLB Rumors: New York Yankees Looking To Acquire Gerrit Cole From Pittsburgh Pirates?

The New York Yankees are off to a hot start six weeks into the 2017 MLB season. The Yankees currently have a 21-11 record, good for second in the AL East and third overall in American League. New York is now considered as legitimate playoff contenders after being predicted as a .500 team in the offseason.

The Yankees were not supposed to be this good because they are still in rebuilding mode after being sellers last season when they traded Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman. However, the hot start gives the Yankees a shot at making the postseason after missing it last year.

However, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman needs to address the team’s main need if they really want to make it to the playoffs. New York’s rotation is solid despite the poor start from staff ace Masahiro Tanaka. He was not himself in his first two starts as he gave up a total of 10 earned runs in 7.2 innings.

Tanaka has managed to turn it around and he has now won five straight games for the Yankees to improve his record to 5-1 with a 4.36 ERA. Michael Pineda, Luis Severino, and Jordan Montgomery are also having a solid start to the season with only CC Sabathia as the current concern for the team, as reported by CBS Sports.

The New York Yankees rotation is solid despite the poor start from staff ace Masahiro Tanaka.
Masahiro Tanaka, No. 19 of the New York Yankees, talks with Gary Sanchez, No. 24, in the seventh inning of a game. [Image by Joe Robbins/Getty Images]

Sabathia, the former New York Yankees ace, just had his fourth straight poor outing and he currently has a record of 2-2 in seven starts with a 5.77 ERA. If New York wants to truly contend for at least a wildcard spot, they have to acquire a top starting pitcher before or at the trade deadline.

Jose Quintana of the Chicago White Sox has been linked with the Yankees since the offseason but no deal has been reached. However, it seems like New York will focus its attention to a different pitcher, Gerrit Cole of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

According to one MLB executive, the Yankees have the prospects to acquire Cole from the Pirates, a team that is quickly sinking in the standings, and they could opt to start a rebuild. The executive told the New York Daily News that a combination of outfielder Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield might be enough to convince Pittsburgh to let go of their ace. Frazier and Sheffield are two of the top prospects in the stocked farm system of the Yankees.

“Frazier hasn’t hit much in Triple-A but he’s still young with a high ceiling, and Sheffield projects as a No. 3 or 4 starter. It might take another solid prospect and a fringe guy too because Cole would be a hot commodity if he is available, and Pittsburgh would want quantity as well as quality. But the Yankees have the depth to outbid other teams.”

Gerrit Cole and the New York Yankees, believe it or not, have a history. The Yankees selected Cole 28th overall in the 2008 MLB Draft out of high school. However, Cole decided to spurn the huge offer from the Yankees and he opted to attend college at UCLA. He spent three years in college before getting drafted first overall by the Pirates in 2011.

In his five seasons in the majors, the 26-year-old righty has established himself as one of the top starting pitchers in the league. He was named an All-Star in 2014 and he is having a solid season despite a 1-4 record with a 3.06 ERA. If the Pirates are convinced that the season is over for them, they could make Cole available and the Yankees are going to be there to pounce.

Gerrit Cole is a potential trade target for the New York Yankees this season.
Gerrit Cole, No. 45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates, waits out a replay review in the first inning during a game. [Image by Justin Berl/Getty Images]

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported that the New York Yankees have always been a fan of Gerrit Cole ever since they drafted him in 2008. The Yankees are making a good decision if they trade for Cole since he is under contract through the 2019 season. He is also just entering his prime and he might be the key to taking the Yankees back to the playoffs or even the World Series.

However, it should be noted that these are just speculations at the moment. The New York Yankees might not make a deal until the trade deadline in July when the playoff contenders are separated from the pretenders.

[Featured Image by Jon Durr/Getty Images]

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