25 May MLB Trade Deadline: Gerrit Cole
By: Lou Landers – @RealSportsCrew
This MLB trade deadline segment will highlight a player who could be on the move by the 2017 MLB trade deadline. As always, the contenders look to add key pieces for their playoff pushes and the bottom feeders look to trade away established players as a way to bring in young talent as they begin or continue the rebuilding process.
SP: Gerrit Cole: Pittsburgh Pirates
Cole is a former 1st overall pick of these Pittsburgh Pirates back in 2011. By June of 2013, Cole made his highly anticipated big league debut against the World Series Champion San Francisco Giants. He got the win in that start and ended up making 18 more starts that season, finishing the year with 10 wins and an impressive 3.22 ERA over 117.1 innings.
Fast forward to 2015, where Cole was named to his first all-star game and was an NL Cy Young candidate. He helped the Pirates make the playoffs and established himself as one of the better young RHP in baseball. He pitched over 200 innings that season, won 19 games, had a 2.60 ERA, had over 200 strikeouts and only allowed 11 HR. All was going well for Cole and the Pirates as they appeared to be one of best young, up and coming teams in MLB.
Unfortunately, 2016 brought a different fate for Cole and the Pirates. He dealt with injuries throughout the season, only throwing 116 innings, posting a 3.88 ERA which is the highest of his career. The Pirates took a step back as well, watching the Cubs run away with the NL Central and wondering if their window was closing. Simply put, the window for this Pirates ball club has closed. The teams in their division are only getting better and that is showing here in 2017. I expect the Pirates to start a fire sale by the end of June and Cole will be the player that is the most sought after by the other 29 teams in MLB.
Cole has been much better in 2017, looks healthy and his ERA of 3.36 is much closer to his career average of 3.24. Of course, not all 29 teams will be buyers at the deadline, and it will take quite a lot to pry Cole away. There are a number of teams out there such as the Astros, Dodgers, Yankees, Rockies, Rangers and Red Sox who can use a front line starter and have the prospects it would take to make a deal happen. What adds to Cole’s value is that he is signed through the 2020 season. The buyers at this years deadline would not only be getting a premier SP, but they will have team control for 2 more seasons after this one. The acquisition of Cole would not be a short term solution, he can be a part of playoff caliber teams for years to come.
The teams I mentioned above not only have the prospects to get a deal done, but also have the financial resources to take on Cole and possibly even offer him a contract extension. If I am the Pirates, I am moving Cole sooner rather than later, starting my rebuild now and creating a bidding war. At this point in the season, there are more buyers than sellers which will allow them to leverage offers they are receiving from every team.
Stay tuned, this guy won’t be a Pirate for much longer, the question is, where will he be traded?