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Report: Yankees Likeliest Team To Land Gerrit Cole

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Could the Yankees get Cole for Christmas?

According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the rebuilding Pirates are expected to trade ace right-hander Gerrit Cole within the next week, and the Yankees are his likeliest destination.

Both Yahoo and WFAN baseball insider Jon Heyman reported that a sticking point in negotiations seems to be over the top prospect the Yankees would send to Pittsburgh in a trade. The Pirates are reportedly trying to pry shortstop Gleyber Torres away from New York, while the Yankees would prefer to deal outfielder Clint Frazier.

The Yankees' reluctance to move Torres makes sense. After trading away second baseman Starlin Castro and third baseman Chase Headley this offseason, they have holes to fill in their infield. Meanwhile, they have a glut of outfielders with Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner.

Heyman reported Friday that no deal appears imminent.

Gerrit Cole
Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole delivers a pitch during the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals on Sept. 23, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

Cole, who won't turn 28 until September, was selected in the first round of the draft by the Yankees in 2008, but he chose not to sign with them and instead enrolled at UCLA. The Pirates then made Cole the No. 1 overall selection in 2011. He has since gone 59-42 with a 3.50 ERA in 127 starts, all for Pittsburgh.

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Though Cole is coming off his worst season — 12-12 with a 4.26 ERA in 33 starts — he is capable of being a front-end starter. His best season came in 2015 when he went 19-8 with a 2.60 ERA, 1.091 WHIP, and 202 strikeouts in 32 starts.

Cole is arbitration eligible the next two seasons. He earned $3.75 million in 2017.

If the Yankees add Cole, he'd join a rotation that already includes Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray and CC Sabathia.

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