The first day of the Winter Meetings included a few rumors with teams asking the Pirates about Gerrit Cole. The rumors have varied in terms of whether the Pirates might actually deal Cole, and all of them have been along the same lines of the other team just checking on the player. We know that the Pirates are listening, but they aren’t actively shopping Cole.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re not open to a move. In fact, Buster Olney reports tonight that there is a belief the Pirates would move Cole if they found the right match.
Industry evaluators convinced the Pirates are prepared to move Gerrit Cole, if they can find the right match. Arguably best available starting pitcher in the market.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 12, 2017
This isn’t really a surprise, and shouldn’t be big news. Any team should be willing to move a player for the right match. The question that is unanswered here is what exactly is “the right match”? Is it something that a team would realistically pay, in line with what you’d expect a team to ask for if they’re willing to sell? Or is it a higher price, where the Pirates would be wanting a premium, believing that they could contend.
I know I’ve repeated the “are the Pirates buyers or sellers” thing over and over, and we still don’t really have an answer. This doesn’t give us a direct one. But I’d guess that this probably leans more toward the idea that the Pirates are willing to sell, especially when paired with the speculation at the start of the week that they could deal Andrew McCutchen this week, and seem like sellers.
There shouldn’t be a middle ground here. If the Pirates deal one of McCutchen or Cole, they need to deal the other. As I detailed today, this isn’t a team that looks like a strong contender, and removing your best projected hitter or pitcher would sink any chances of contending in 2018. If one of these two moves, the other needs to move.
Adding to the Cole news today, Bill Brink says that the Orioles are one of the teams that have asked about Cole.
Heard the Orioles are among teams that have asked the Pirates about Gerrit Cole.
— Bill Brink (@Bill_Brink2) December 12, 2017