NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Just a few days after stunning Major League Baseball with a landscape-altering trade, the Yankees have moved on and are trying to address an actual need.
The Bombers acquired reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton over the weekend, a move that seemed like a luxury given how good their lineup was in 2017. But it should come as no surprise to anyone that the Yankees have been wanting to add starting pitching since they dropped Game 7 of the AL Championship Series in Houston.
General manager Brian Cashman is intrigued by young starters with controllable contracts. He bolstered New York’s rotation prior to last season’s trade deadline by dealing for right-hander Sonny Gray, who is just 28 and arbitration eligible the next two seasons.
Now, it appears Cashman has turned his attention to another relatively young right-hander who was actually drafted by the Yankees years ago. According to several reports, New York is interested in Pittsburgh’s Gerrit Cole and the Pirates are at least listening, ESPN reported on Monday.
Cole, who won’t turn 28 until September, was selected in the first round of the draft by the Yankees back in 2008, but he chose not to sign with them and instead enroll at UCLA. The Pirates then made Cole the No. 1 overall selection in 2011. He has since gone 59-42 with a 3.50 ERA in 127 starts, all for Pittsburgh.
Though Cole is coming off his worst season — 12-12 with a 4.26 ERA in 33 starts — he is capable of being a front-end starter. 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.
Like Gray, Cole is arbitration eligible the next two seasons.
Other options for the Yankees include re-signing veteran CC Sabathia. The 37-year-old left-hander enjoyed a renaissance season with New York in 2017, going 14-5 with a 3.69 ERA during the regular season before taking the ball in big spots throughout the postseason.
The Yankees are believed to be interested in bringing back Sabathia, but only on a one-year deal and at a reduced rate. According to the New York Post, the Los Angeles Angels have discussed possibly signing Sabathia.
New York’s rotation currently consists of right-handers Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, and Gray, plus lefty Jordan Montgomery.