Could the Astros be pushing for a trade before the deadline to avoid arbitration for Gerrit Cole?
Forty-plus hours since the rumors came out that a Gerrit Cole trade was imminent, and still no movement. The Astros are searching for a top starting pitcher through the trade market or the free agent market. While they don’t like trading prospects, the two key free agents could be seeking a long-term deal with some $$.
Just because no deal happened on Wednesday, that doesn’t mean that the trade is dead. Jeff Luhnow is patiently waiting for the right deal and player. There was some speculation that there was some rush to acquire Cole before the Friday arbitration deadline.
If the Pirates are going to trade Cole, why give them the say on how much he makes? This is what Jon Morosi hinted at after the trade failed to materialize.
"“The Astros are therefore incentivized to finalize the trade before Friday so they can file at their number rather than inherit the Pirates’ figure.” – Jon Morosi."
Cole was drafted in the 2011 MLB Draft with the first overall pick by the Pirates. George Springer was drafted with the 11th overall pick that year. After four years of big league service, he is arbitration eligible for 2018-19. According to MLB Trade Rumors, he is projected to make $7.5 million through arbitration.
The front office has their own players to reach agreements with.
The Astros have seven players still without an agreement before tomorrow’s deadline. Jake Marisnick has already agreed to a deal to avoid arbitration. The Astros have some of their biggest stars unresolved so that they will be focusing on that. Because the worst thing that could happen would be going to a hearing with players, you are hoping to extend.
Four of the players are big names such as, Springer, Lance McCullers, and Dallas Keuchel. Also up are vital parts of the team in Ken Giles, Brad Peacock, and Collin McHugh. They already won a hearing with McHugh last year, but do they dare take Springer to arbitration?
With that in mind, it’s almost a foregone conclusion that Springer will get paid at some point soon. Springer is the poster child for the Astros. They won’t want to do anything to damage the relationship between those two players specifically.
In other words, the front office will be busy tomorrow trying to reach a deal to avoid arbitration. They may not have time to work on a trade unless they are good multitaskers. Don’t think the arbitration decision will favor in too much into the decision to trade for Cole.
Is there a chance to add Cole?
Richard Justice said on the MLB Network that the Astros are more comfortable with two years of Cole versus adding more years of Yu Darvish or Jake Arrieta. As the Astros have explored the market, they have not found a deal they felt comfortable with.
If the Astros want Cole, they will get him regardless of what is decided tomorrow. I believe that there is a good chance that a deal will get done, but nobody seems to be in a rush to finalize a deal. Cole would potentially make the Astros rotation one of the best in franchise history if healthy.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***