'No evidence' Pirates aggressively trying to trade Gerrit Cole, agent Scott Boras says
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — As the winter meetings slog toward their finish line, the Pirates might be plotting a roster move that could catch even agent Scott Boras by surprise.
On Wednesday, the Pirates and Yankees kept in touch about a potential trade that would send ace pitcher Gerrit Cole to New York. The two teams appear to match up well for a deal.
The Yankees crave more star power to bolster a rotation that already includes Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka and Sonny Gray. The Pirates are intrigued by two of the Yankees top prospects, outfielder Clint Frazier and third baseman Miguel Andujar.
Boras has represented Cole since 2011. On Wednesday morning, Boras said he "had no evidence" the Pirates were eager to trade the former first-round pick.
"Whenever you're a great player in Pittsburgh and you've got four years of service, people start talking about luggage," Boras said. "That's just part of what the Pirates do and have done. As far as I know, Gerrit is going to be a principal part of their plan for 2018."
Several teams have inquired about Cole this offseason, but the Yankees appear to be the most determined — and most patient.
Brian Cashman said that the #Yankees are "circling the airport" with regard to starting pitching. Added that he's got plenty of fuel to wait a while.— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) December 13, 2017
Cole, 27, has two years of team control remaining and is projected to make $7.5 million next season. This past season, he went 12-12 with a career-high 4.26 ERA.
Boras often encourages his clients to set their value in the marketplace. The Pirates have not approached Cole, who will be a free agent after the 2019 season, about a multi-year extension.
With the Pirates looking to retool their roster, Cole would benefit by moving to a team with a better chance to win. That's not the Pirates' concern, Boras said.
"I'm not sure that meeting is happening," Boras said. "I'm not sure the Pirates are talking about, 'Let's sit down and talk about what's best for Gerrit Cole.' I think they're talking about what's best for their franchise and how they can best leverage him and utilize him for their immediate needs.
"There's a franchise where their franchise value has just quadrupled since they bought it. Ownership might decide to take a different tack at being more on the road to Playoffville. We'll see."
Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.