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Report: Gerrit Cole trade talks with Yankees going strong

MLB: New York Yankees at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports dropped a couple huge tweets Thursday evening indicating the Yankees are working on a trade for Gerrit Cole, the deal is “a matter of when rather than if,” and that the Pirates are “highly motivated” to move the pitcher with two years of club control remaining.

Talks had seemed to stall, but now it appears they’re still going strong, the wording of Passan’s tweets even suggesting a move could come soon.

Of particular interest here is that even if the Pirates fail to reach an agreement with the Yankees, they’re apparently pursuing a trade themselves, and could push for a deal even if New York backs off. Until recently, most speculation came in the form of other teams inquiring or expressing interest in Cole, which was hardly surprising.

While Cole and Andrew McCutchen are different cases, the Pirates could be looking to avoid a situation like McCutchen’s when his value eroded in 2017 after nearly having been traded the previous offseason. It’s entirely possible the Pirates won’t get better offers for Cole than they have now, and that factor may be enough for them to pull the trigger, giving up some of the faint hope of one last run in 2018 in exchange for a more guaranteed, higher quality package for Cole.

UPDATE: Now, here’s Jon Heyman confirming what most would suspect, that the main sticking point is whether Gleyber Torres or Clint Frazier would lead the package going to Pittsburgh, with the Pirates preferring Torres.

It’s worth noting that any return would involve several players, so it’s possible this isn’t a huge stumbling block, since the Pirates could prefer stronger secondary players in the deal. If anything, if it’s really just Torres/Frazier holding a deal up, that makes it all the more likely a trade eventually happens.

BT dubs, here’s Passan’s full story.