NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Though the Yankees are no closer to landing right-hander Gerrit Cole today than they were a month ago, they remain patient.
The Bombers are using the same approach in their reported pursuit of the Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander as they are with the Baltimore Orioles in discussions involving third baseman Manny Machado.
In both cases, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman appears ready to wait out his potential trade partners. As far as the Pirates are concerned, the veteran executive seems to know he has what they want, but remains determined to only make the deal on his terms. Plus, it helps that there aren’t all that many teams out there with as many young assets to trade as the Yankees.
While it’s true the world champion Houston Astros have reportedly expressed a pretty serious interest in Cole, they may not be willing to hand over as many top prospects as the Yankees are, the Daily News’ John Harper reported. Hence why Cashman hasn’t budged on what many believe he’s willing to part with, likely outfielder Clint Frazier and a high-end pitching prospect.
However, if the Astros decide to break character and up the ante, it’s unclear if Cashman will show the same urgency, Harper reported. The Yankees have been linked to other young pitchers and have reportedly expressed interest in at least one big-name free agent starter.
In addition to his potential front-end-of-the-rotation ability, Cole appeals to the Yankees because he is under team control for the next two seasons, which fits the Bombers’ stated desire to prevent their payroll from getting out of control. Cashman has gone to great lengths this offseason to get the Yankees under the luxury tax threshold in 2018. Even with the addition of NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton, New York’s payroll is reportedly at $178 million, $19 million below the threshold.
Cole enjoyed his best season back in 2015 when he went 19-8 with a 2.60 ERA. Injuries and inconsistency have plagued him over the last two seasons, which included a 12-12 mark and 4.26 ERA in 2017. His issues seemed to be related to location as he gave up a career-high 31 home runs. But under the tutelage of pitching coach Larry Rothschild, the Yankees believe the 27-year-old righty can get back to being the pitcher he was earlier in his career.