The New York Yankees are known to be looking for another starting pitcher, and they are apparently aiming high.
According to a Yahoo! Sports report, the Yankees remain engaged with the Pittsburgh Pirates about right-hander Gerrit Cole, and there is "confidence" a deal will get done. Other potential pieces in the trade are unknown.
Sources: The New York Yankees are working on a deal to acquire starting pitcher Gerrit Cole from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Sides are talking, and while a final package has not come together, there is confidence. "A matter of when rather than if," one source said.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 22, 2017
Although Cole has never played for a team other than the Pirates, he does have a connection to the Yankees. They selected him out of a Southern California high school with their first-round pick in the 2008 draft. Cole did not sign, went to UCLA and in 2011 the Pirates made him the No. 1 pick in the country.
The Yankees recently agreed to a one-year contract with CC Sabathia, giving them five starting pitchers. Their rotation depth chart looks something like this:
Acquiring Cole would presumably push Montgomery -- assuming he isn't involved in a Cole trade, of course -- to Triple-A for the time being. The Yankees could bring Montgomery up for spot starts or go to a full-time six-man rotation. Baseball is trending in that direction.
Cole, 27, just completed his worst season in the big leagues. He threw 203 innings with a 4.26 ERA (101 ERA+) and 31 home runs allowed. Cole allowed 34 home runs in 579 1/3 innings from 2013-16. Part of that is the purportedly juiced baseball, though moving into hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium would only exacerbate the home-run problem though.
The Yankees insist they will not trade top prospect Gleyber Torres, though they still have enough farm system depth to swing a significant trade. Top outfield prospect Clint Frazier, the headliner in the Andrew Miller trade at the 2016 deadline, was made expendable by the Giancarlo Stanton addition, for example.