Astros Reportedly Engaging with Pirates on Gerrit Cole Trade - Many Implications Follow

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Astros Reportedly Engaging with Pirates on Gerrit Cole Trade – Many Implications Follow

Chicago Cubs

All right. This would definitely heat up a frigid stove:

So many implications:

  • If the Astros were to land Cole, that would probably take them out of the running on Yu Darvish and/or Jake Arrieta and/or Alex Cobb. And if the Astros are this in on Cole, well then that could explain a lot of the holdup on the free agent pitching market, since they’re still involved there, too:

  • Moreover, the team that didn’t get Cole – the Yankees – may not be able to be as aggressive in the free agent pitching market as the Astros could have been. (At least not until the Yankees shed more salary, since their avowed goal is to stay under the luxury tax cap, and they are currently at a spot where one big addition would give them no in-season leeway.)
  • Perhaps this lights a fire under the Yankees, though, and they come back to the table with a better offer to the Pirates for Cole.
  • As we have said all along with the Cole rumors, because he’s unlikely to be dealt in the division to the Cubs, his moving out will most directly impact the Cubs for the simple fact that the Pirates will be weakened in the NL Central in the near-term. That will especially be the case if the Pirates follow a Cole trade with an Andrew McCutchen deal and a Josh Harrison deal.
  • That, in turn, could make the Cardinals even more eager to field a strong team in 2018, knowing that the Pirates rebuild could be a short one. They – like the Cubs – won’t have a lot of seasons with two rebuilding clubs in the NL Central and another (the Brewers) that doesn’t project to be all that strong just yet. (Of course, the caveat there is that the Brewers could take the same tack.)
  • Speaking of which, if and when Cole is dealt, the return will be ample, and I’d tentatively expect the Pirates to focus on near-big-league-ready talent, as they still have a whole lot of young, controlled talent (and prospect talent near the bigs), and could have a ton of payroll available heading into next offseason. In fact, if the Pirates deal Cole, McCutchen, and Harrison, I’d tentatively expect them to be *more* competitive in 2019 than I expect them to be as we sit here today.

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.