The possibility of Gerrit Cole to the Yankees saga is finally over. And now, the Bombers have even more motivation to beat the Astros, not that they needed it.
If you follow me on Twitter for all things Yankees, then you know I was a bit peeved at the Pirates when they settled on finally trading starting pitcher Gerrit Cole to the Astros.
In my opinion, the suddenly rebuilding Buccos decided the quantity of prospects was more important than quality.
Saturday’s trade sent right-handers Joe Musgrove and Michael Feliz, third baseman Colin Moran and outfielder Jason Martin to Pittsburgh for the much-discussed Cole.
What infuriates me is that the Pirates were so insistent on poaching the Yanks’ top prospects, Gleyber Torres, Justus Sheffield, Estevan Florial and Miguel Andujar — yet inevitably settled for a far lesser package of players from the ‘Stros.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic went so far as to claim none of the assets the Pirates acquired will have as significant an impact as Clint Frazier. Rosenthal also went on to say:
"“Heck, Frazier might even prove more valuable than all of them combined.”"
As a reference point, Moran is a 25-year-old often injured third baseman who finished last season as the Astros’ No. 5 prospect. Martin was the club’s No. 15 prospect, yet was left unprotected in the recent Rule 5 Draft where he went unclaimed. Color me unimpressed with the depth of Houston’s farm system.
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Feliz, 24, posted a 5.63 ERA in 2017 and was left off the Postseason roster, whereas Musgrove, the most familiar name of the bunch, proved much more valuable out of the bullpen in ’17 with a 1.44 ERA in 23 appearances versus his 6.12 ERA in 15 starts.
I understand that trade proposals evolve as time goes on; however, the Pirates tried to rob the Yankees with their insane demands. It’s not like they asked for or received the Astros’ top talent: Forrest Whitley, Kyle Tucker, Derek Fisher and Yordan Alvarez.
The ‘Stros should thank the Yankees for helping the Pirates come to their senses, that acquiring a player with two years remaining on his contract, coming off a down season, isn’t worth the creme de la creme of prospects.
Reports stated that the Yanks were willing to trade Clint Frazier or Chance Adams in a package for Cole, but not both. So, instead of one potentially game-changing piece, the Pirates decided on four players that will have a combined 15 years of team control before free agency.
Does this trade make the defending World Series champions stronger? Yes. Does it add depth to the Pirates’ system, albeit without adding one potential future star? It looks that way as of now.
But I stand by the belief that if the Yankees are to eventually trade Frazier, Adams or most anyone else, for that matter, the player they receive in return needs to come with as few question marks as possible. Cole didn’t do that.
Of course, there will be pressure on the Yanks to exceed the lofty expectations they set last season, especially after acquiring Giancarlo Staton this winter, but we’re still a little less than a month away from pitchers and catchers reporting for Spring Training.
Sometimes not pulling the trigger on a deal trade that would change the future of a club is the best thing that can be done. Let’s wait and see how this non-trade comes out in the wash.