The Yankees have shut down talks with the Pirates regarding a trade for RHP Gerrit Cole, reports George A. King III of the NY Post.
A deal sending Cole from the Pirates to the Astros -- which was reported earlier Wednesday -- is not happening as of now, but "talks could pick back up quickly," reports Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.
Meanwhile, there is another team (not the Yankees) currently attempting to trade for Cole, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag.
The Yankees have been linked to Cole since earlier this offseason.
The Astros are looking for starting pitching, and Cole has been on their radar, Passan first reported. Astros owner, Jim Crane, affirmed the rumors that he is looking to fortify his already stellar rotation that includes Dallas Keuchel, Justin Verlander, Lance McCullers Jr., and Charlie Morton.
Cole was a favorite of the Astros last offseason, but when a deal couldn't be made, Crane went with Verlander which turned out well.
Passan suggests that the Astros would have to give up either OF Kyle Tucker or RHP Forrest Whitley -- their top two prospects -- to land Cole. Lef fielder Derek Fisher has also been connected to the trade talks.
Talks between the Yankees and Pirates have cooled off since the rumors they were close to striking a deal. The Pirates reportedly wanted the Yankees' top prospects, INF Gleyber Torres, but they preferred OF Clint Frazier to be the centerpiece of the deal. The trade talks have since died down following this exchange.
Cole, who was the 28th overall pick for the Yankees back in 2008, has spent his entire MLB career with the Pirates since 2011. After posting an All-Star worthy season with a 2.60 ERA and 1.09 WHIP, Cole's production has since declined. He had a 3.88 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in 2016, and last season he saw a 4.26 ERA and 1.25 WHIP over 33 starts -- the most in his career.
The 27-year-old is currently in the arbitration process after earning $3.75 million last season.
The Astros had Cole for about 30 minutes and now that he's back on the market that he never actually left, the Yankees are withdrawing from talks for the righty. The hot stove is officially frozen over.
Should the Yankees decide to re-engage, I don't believe they should push beyond whatever prospects they had on the table. It is in Brian Cashman's best interests to remain steadfast in his offer to the Pirates and not be alarmed that the Astros or any other team is weighing a run at Cole.
One potential move for the Yankees is to shift their attention away from the rotation altogether and bring in some stability in one of the open infield positions. I suspect they may intensify their pursuit of Todd Frazier to allow for more seasoning for Miguel Andujar, and as a safeguard to any injury issues with first baseman Greg Bird.
The Yankees would then have just one potential rookie positional starter if Gleyber Torres proves to be ready during spring training. While they could sustain two rookies, Frazier might bring some peace of mind with solid glove work and some power at the bottom end of the lineup.
Instead of Cole, the Yankees may look to reinforce the back-end of the rotation with some spring training invites and simply rely on their own system depth.