Sources told the NY Daily News it was inevitable the Yankees would acquire Pirates starter Gerrit Cole in a trade, but this news has apparently not deterred the Astros, who have amped up their pursuit of the Pittsburgh pitcher.
Although Cole is coming off a mediocre season, the Yankees likely believed they could transform him into a strong starter by having the 27-year-old rely less on his fastball and more on his off-speed pitches.
In contrast, the Yankees could include outfielder Clint Frazier, who is now blocked by Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge, or Chance Adams, who very well could have to wait to see time at the major league level with all of the talent NY has in their rotation. Those rumors cooled, but the Yankees are still reportedly interested. Remember, the Yankees drafted Cole back in 2008 and were hot after him in December but the deal fell off. Houston and NY are both loaded with possible prospects. Cole is 59-42 overall with a career ERA of 3.50.
With Cole alongside Keuchel, Verlander and Lance McCullers Jr., the Astros would have an excellent top four in their starting rotation. His best season came in 2015 when he went 19-8 with a 2.60 ERA, 1.091 WHIP and 202 strikeouts in 32 starts.
The prospects changing hands in the deal are still unknown, but outfielder Derek Fisher was one of the names being discussed initially.