Forget about Gerrit Cole.
The Houston Astros traded four players to the Pirates for Cole last night. Do the Yanks now counteract, and how?
The addition of Cole gives the Astros a formidable rotation headed by Keuchel, Verlander and Cole.
Keuchel does become a free agent after 2018 and could be a Yankees target then (of course, he’d have to shave off that hideous beard of his).
But how do the Yanks counteract that now? Can they?
For the time being, Clint Frazier, Chance Adams, Miguel Andujar and anyone else who may have been discussed as trade bait for Cole are still Yankees. That may prove to be a good thing.
There isn’t much space left under the cap that the Yanks have adamantly said they want to stay under. Depending on what numbers you want to go by, probably $16-$20MM.
Do the Yanks want to spend that on one guy or two? How close to that cap do they want to go?
Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn are still on the free agent market, but what is their price and will it drop?
Can the Yanks still make a deal for Michael Fulmer, Patrick Corbin (just agreed to $7.5MM in arbitration), or can they entice the Rays to trade Chris Archer ($6.416MM) within the division? If the Rays are trading Archer within the division, you can imagine what they might want back.
If the Yanks are able to get someone like Corbin at $7.5MM, do they then go after infield insurance in a Jed Lowrie or Eduardo Nunez at $7MM? Do the math and those two additions, a pitcher at $7.5 and the infielder at $7MM and you are so close to that cap with barely any wiggle room.
Some move by Houston. Your move, Yanks. Meanwhile, Boston hasn’t done anything of significance yet. You know they will.
There is still talk of the Yanks waiting for Darvish’s price to drop. Even so, they probably would have to make a deal to shed salary. Ideally, it would be Ellsbury, and the Yanks would accept paying 1/2 his salary, but as has been mentioned before, Ellsbury has a full no-trade and no desire to go anywhere. Shedding 1/2 of Ellsbury’s salary may enable the Yanks to sign Darvish, but no one else.
The postseason chess games continue.
Now that Cole has been dealt, don’t be surprised if Josh Harrison and/or Andrew McCutchen are the next Pirates to go.
This, the Cole deal, could be the domino that warms up a “hot” stove league that has been very cold so far.
I am rooting for my Steelers today, but once again, it looks like the road to any Super Bowl trophy goes through New England. Whether it’s the Steelers or Jaguars up in New England next week, or the NFC team beating New England in the Super Bowl if the Steelers or Jags can’t take out New England in the AFC title game, to be the best, you’d have to beat the best and as of now, the best is still the Patriots.
This will be the seventh consecutive year that the Patriots are in the AFC title game.
As for the rest of the NFL who aren’t Patriots fans (like me), we are all waiting for Brady to finally show his age. Until then….