Cardinals’ Yadier Molina Says He Plans to Retire After 2020 Season

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina expects to retire after his contract runs out following the 2020 season, according to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com.

The 35-year-old signed a three-year extension prior to the 2017 season worth $60 million that starts in 2018. If he finishes the deal, he will have played 17 years in the majors, all with the Cardinals. 

       

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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Cardinals’ Yadier Molina Says He Plans to Retire After 2020 Season

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina expects to retire after his contract runs out following the 2020 season, according to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com.

The 35-year-old signed a three-year extension prior to the 2017 season worth $60 million that starts in 2018. If he finishes the deal, he will have played 17 years in the majors, all with the Cardinals. 

       

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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Cardinals’ Yadier Molina Says He Plans to Retire After 2020 Season

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina expects to retire after his contract runs out following the 2020 season, according to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com.

The 35-year-old signed a three-year extension prior to the 2017 season worth $60 million that starts in 2018. If he finishes the deal, he will have played 17 years in the majors, all with the Cardinals. 

       

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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MLB Hall of Fame Umpire Doug Harvey Dies at Age 87

Former umpire Doug Harvey, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010, died of natural causes Saturday at the age of 87, according to Ben Weinrib of MLB.com.

Commissioner Rob Manfred provided a statement acknowledging his impact on the game:

"Hall of Famer Doug Harvey was one of the most accomplished umpires of all-time. Known for his strong presence and communication skills, he umpired some of the most memorable moments ever, including from behind the plate for Kirk Gibson's walk-off home run to open the 1988 World Series. A generation of umpires learned as a result of Doug's example, his eagerness to teach the game and his excellent timing behind the plate.

"On behalf of Major League Baseball, I send my deepest condolences to Doug's family, his friends and the umpiring community."

Harvey currently ranks fifth in MLB history with 4,673 games worked.

     

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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Jay Bruce Reportedly Agrees to 3-Year, $39M Contract to Return to Mets

Jay Bruce will return to the New York Mets after agreeing to a deal with the team, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reported Wednesday.

According to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, Bruce will earn $39 million over three years.

Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan reported the San Francisco Giants and Houston Astros were interested in signing Bruce but couldn't get a deal completed.

The veteran outfielder is coming off one of the best years of his career, hitting a career-high 36 home runs between his time with the Mets and Cleveland Indians. He finished with a .254 batting average and an .832 OPS, both of which were ahead of his career marks.

He ended up hitting .278 with two home runs and four RBI in the playoffs while the Indians lost to the New York Yankees in the American League Division Series. Bruce hit the game-tying home run in Cleveland's 9-8 Game 2 victory that needed 13 innings to determine a winner.

While Bruce is a bit of a one-dimensional player, he remains an elite power hitter with 277 home runs in his career, totaling at least 20 in all but one of his 10 seasons at the major league level. He has 69 home runs and 200 RBI in the past two seasons while playing for three different teams.

Even with below-average defense and speed, the 30-year-old continues to show he can be a valuable commodity in the middle of a batting order and a key part of an offense.

Although he is known to go through hot and cold streaks throughout his career, the Mets added a significant offensive upgrade, which will be a big help in the upcoming season.   

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Yu Darvish Rumors: Rangers, Yankees, Cubs, Astros, Twins Final Suitors

Pitcher Yu Darvish remains a free agent, but he has reportedly narrowed his options down to the Texas Rangers, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

The Astros would be out if they are able to acquire pitcher Gerrit Cole, who they are reportedly close to getting in a trade, via Jon Morosi of MLB Network.

Darvish spent the first five-and-a-half seasons of his MLB career with the Rangers before being traded to the Dodgers prior to the deadline. 

As Wilson noted, the pitcher "loved his time with them" and would sign, but Texas is not planning to go after any high-priced free agents this offseason, likely ruling them out of the competition.

This leaves the Yankees, Cubs and Twins as the top options for the 31-year-old.

New York has been hoping to add pitching this offseason with uncertainty in the rotation behind Luis Severino, although Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported last month the team is waiting on Darvish's price to drop.

For the first time since the luxury tax was invented, the Yankees are trying to stay under it and adding a player like this wouldn't help.

The Cubs are also interesting as a top contender looking to fill the hole left by free agent Jake Arrieta. The organization is always willing to spend money, although long-term deals could get in the way of re-signing young stars like Kris Bryant or Kyle Hendricks, as well as potentially adding Bryce Harper next offseason.

Minnesota is more of a wild card considering it is rarely a destination for big-name free agents, but this is a team that could be scary with the addition of one more elite pitcher.

Darvish was expected to come off the board quickly this offseason, but he has remained patient along with many other top players in his situation. Still, the four-time All-Star should make a significant impact no matter where he goes after producing a 3.42 career ERA in five seasons.

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Khris Davis, Athletics Agree to 1-Year Contract, Avoid Arbitration

The Oakland Athletics announced Wednesday they have come to terms on a one-year deal with outfielder Khris Davis to avoid arbitration. 

Davis has spent the past two years in Oakland after starting his career with the Milwaukee Bucks. In that time, he has become one of the top power hitters in the game, hitting 42 home runs in 2016 and 43 in 2017.

As the team noted, his 85 home runs in the last two years trail only Giancarlo Stanton (86) for the most in the majors.

 

 

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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Christian Yelich, J.T. Realmuto Reportedly Shopped in Marlins Trade Talks

The Miami Marlins appear set to continue their fire sale by putting outfielder Christian Yelich and catcher J.T. Realmuto on the trade block. 

According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, the team has been involved in "active trade discussions" for both players although no deals appear to be close. Unsurprisingly, the asking price is high for both young players.

The Marlins have been slashing payroll throughout the offseason since coming under new ownership, trading away top players like Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon.

Yelich is not only one of the highest-priced players remaining on the roster but is also the only player signed past 2020. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, he is owed $58.25 million over the next five years and has been "in play" for a deal for the past few weeks.

The 26-year-old hit .282 last season with 18 home runs and 16 stolen bases and already has both a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger on his resume. He earned MVP votes in 2016 thanks to his career-high .859 on-base plus slugging percentage.

Realmuto is a bit of a different story considering he still has three more years of team control before hitting free agency. He is eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter.

However, he made it clear he didn't want to stick around for a rebuild with everyone else gone from the roster. Craig Mish of SiriusXM reported the catcher requested a trade in mid-December. Yelich was similarly "unhappy," per Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, although he didn't specifically ask out of town.

At 26 years old with quality power—he hit a career-high 17 home runs last season—Realmuto is already one of the top catchers in the game and won't come cheap.

Although the Marlins could get a good return from both players in a potential deal, it would remove two of the only noteworthy players left in Miami.

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Todd Frazier Price Tag Reportedly May Keep Yankees from Signing 3B to Contract

While free-agent third baseman Todd Frazier has expressed interest in returning to the New York Yankees, the team might not be able to fit him on the payroll, according to Brendan Kuty of NJ.com.

New York intends to stay below the luxury-tax threshold of $197 million for 2018, and the squad is reportedly already sitting at $178 million, per the Associated Press (via ESPN).

Frazier is currently seeking a multi-year deal and has been in contact with several organizations about a new contract.

The 31-year-old came to the Yankees in July as part of a seven-player deal with the Chicago White Sox that also brought in David Robertson. He hit 11 home runs in 66 games and had a .365 on-base percentage that would have been a career high over a full season.

He also started all 13 games of the postseason for the Yankees, most notably hitting a three-run home run in Game 3 of the ALCS.

While New York is known for having a nearly limitless payroll, the team plans to stay under the luxury tax next season.

"You can have a world championship-caliber team and not have a $200-plus million payroll," owner Hal Steinbrenner said in November, per David Lennon of Newsday. "And I think we’re finally getting to a point where that’s coming true for us because we’ve got a lot of good young players on our team."

According to George A. King III of the New York Post, the Yankees have been taxed each of the 15 years since the plan was introduced in 2002, totaling $341 million.

With players like Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez still yet to reach arbitration, the organization can maintain a reasonable payroll. Unfortunately, this could lead to a missed opportunity for Frazier, who earned $12 million last season.

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Astros 1B Coach Rich Dauer Had Subdural Hematoma After World Series

Former Houston Astros first base coach Rich Dauer has recovered from an acute subdural hematoma, "a collection of blood outside the brain," that he suffered after the team's World Series victory, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

On Nov. 6, the team announced he went through emergency brain surgery; however, Dauer told Rosenthal his brain is "perfectly fine."

He had already planned to retire following the 2017 season.

The ailment came after the 65-year-old slipped and hit his head the night before the team's World Series parade. He went to the celebration, but he was forced to leave on a stretcher and was eventually brought to an emergency room at Houston Methodist.

Chances of survival prior to the surgery were considered just 3 percent, and according to Dr. David Cech, "most of these people end up vegetative, in a nursing home."

Fortunately, he was able to leave the hospital on Nov. 15 and is now apparently healthy.

Dauer had been with Houston since 2015 and a part of professional baseball for more than 40 years. The team has since promoted Alex Cintron to replace him as the team's first base coach for 2018.

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MLB Exec Bob Bowman Resigned Due to Alleged ‘Troubling Workplace Behavior’

Major League Baseball executive Bob Bowman resigned after 17 years with the league last month due to alleged inappropriate behavior in the workplace, according to Rachel Bachman and Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal.

Commissioner Rob Manfred reportedly forced Bowman out after two separate incidents over the past year, one where he allegedly verbally abused a coworker and another where he allegedly shoved an executive. However, per the report, there were also troubling patterns of behavior by Bowman that have taken place for more than 10 years.

On Nov. 6, Bowman announced he would not seek a new contract.

The 62-year-old was known for leading MLB Advanced Media as well as spinoff digital platform BAMTech. Walt Disney Co. spent $1 billion for a 33 percent stake in BAMTech last year and recently added $1.58 billion for a 75 percent share.

However, Bowman allegedly was also responsible for "cultivating a culture of partying and heavy drinking" with employees and propositioned female colleagues. He also allegedly hired women at the 2016 All-Star Game who were "widely believed by attendees to be escorts."

He apologized for his past behavior in a statement:

"The culture that started at BAM was hard working and driven. At times, it was also inappropriate and I take full responsibility. This inappropriate behavior reflects my personal flaws and not someone else’s. This behavior and my personal behavior were wrong. To those who felt the sting of my behavior, I am truly sorry. To my family, friends and business colleagues who have been steadfastly supportive of me, and whom I have embarrassed, I apologize."

MLB and MLB Advanced Media have previously worked in separate offices but plan to move to a unified space in 2019.

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Report: J.T. Realmuto Requested Trade from Marlins After Team Dealt Star Players

J.T. Realmuto apparently doesn't want to stick around after the Marlins traded away many of the team's top players this offseason. 

According to Craig Mish of SiriusXM, the catcher has requested a trade. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports added that the move is in response to what's happening with the Marlins organization.

Over the last few weeks, Miami has dealt away Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon in an effort to slash payroll under new ownership.

While Realmuto is often overshadowed by other top players on the roster, the 26-year-old has been a top player at his position in recent years.

After hitting .303 with 11 home runs in 2016, the catcher added to his power numbers in 2017 with 17 home runs. His .278 batting average was second among catchers with at least 400 plate appearances, trailing only Buster Posey.

Mish and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports noted the potential value on the open market:

Players like Stanton and Gordon were high-priced talents, reducing the potential teams that could make a deal work. However, Realmuto is heading into his first year of arbitration, meaning he will still be under a team-friendly deal for a few more seasons.

Any team in need of a catcher would likely call the Marlins front office, leading to a heavy bidding war for the young player.

Unfortunately, it would remove one of the few recognizable players remaining on Miami's roster going into 2018.

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Stephen Strasburg Could Skip Future MLB All-Star Games Due to Past Injury

Washington Nationals star Stephen Strasburg thinks the All-Star Game caused an injury last season, and it could prevent him from playing in the exhibition in the future.

The pitcher explained Sunday that playing last year "pushed me back a bit" and "started making my arm hurt," per the Associated Press.

Strasburg went on the disabled list shortly after the All-Star break with an elbow injury.

It was the 29-year-old's third selection to the All-Star Game, although he didn't pitch in either of the last two years. His lone appearance came in 2012 when he threw one scoreless inning.

However, it appears simply being involved in the festivities was enough to mess up his routine.

Injuries have been a problem for Strasburg throughout his career, with the right-hander only reaching 200 innings once since entering the league in 2010. He notably underwent Tommy John surgery earlier in his career, but even lately he is only averaging 25 starts per year over the last three seasons.

He has been dominant while healthy, ending the year 6-1 with a 0.86 ERA in the second half of last season to help him finish third in Cy Young voting. His 2.52 ERA in 2017 was his lowest of any full season of his career.

This makes sense for him to potentially avoid unnecessary trips that could cause injury, even if he is under contract through 2023.

With the Nationals hosting the 2018 All-Star Game, however, the team might want one of their biggest stars front and center.

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Jake McGee Reportedly Agrees on Contract to Re-Sign with Rockies

The Colorado Rockies and reliever Jake McGee agreed to a new contract Wednesday pending a physical, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic and Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

McGee has been with the Rockies for the past two seasons, struggling mightily in 2016 before bouncing back in 2017 with a 3.61 ERA in 57.1 innings. He added three saves and 20 holds with only three blown saves. Factoring in the difficulties of playing in Colorado, he posted a well above-average ERA+ of 139, per Baseball Reference

While he was significantly better on the road (2.64 ERA, compared to 4.73 at Coors Field), he remains an effective player.

The 31-year-old has also proved his worth in six years with the Tampa Bay Rays, tallying a 2.77 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in this span.

Unlike other lefty relievers around the league, McGee is also more than just a "lefty one-out guy." He has actually had more success against right-handers in his career than left-handed hitters, which continued last season.

While teams are always looking for a specialist, the Rockies have instead kept a valuable late-game reliever who can get hitters out on both sides of the plate. While the team has plenty of other decisions to make regarding the bullpen, this move will at least keep things steady going into 2018.

Closer Greg Holland is a free agent, and if the Rockies are unable to re-sign him, McGee could find himself in the closer mix for 2018.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Winter Meetings Buzz on Matt Harvey, Gerrit Cole and More

While the free-agent market hasn't been as active as in past years, the trade market continues to heat up.

The league's winter meetings kicked off in a big way, with Giancarlo Stanton heading to the New York Yankees in a blockbuster trade, but this could be just the start of an active stretch of the offseason. Teams have plenty of needs going into next year, and if they can't get them through signings, they can try to find them in trades.

It's hard to know which players will end up on the move, but these pitchers have gained plenty of interest so far and could be dealt before long.

                   

Gerrit Cole, Pittsburgh Pirates

After a down year by his standards, Gerrit Cole could be on the move.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported the Yankees are interested in the starting pitcher, although the team probably wouldn't want to trade him.

However, Buster Olney of ESPN noted the Pirates are willing to listen to potential offers and that the Yankees make a natural trade partner.

Cole lasted a full season after an injury-riddled 2016 but finished with a career-worst 4.26 ERA to go with a 12-12 record. At his best, however, the 27-year-old is one of the most talented starters in the majors. He finished 2015 with a 2.60 ERA, an All-Star appearance and a fourth-place finish in Cy Young voting.

Considering he is under team control for another two seasons, any team could take the chance on the high-upside player turning things around and reverting to his previous form.

The Yankees especially have a lot to gain, with a team that should contend for a World Series next year behind one of the best offenses in the league. Luis Severino and Sonny Gray should lead the rotation, but there are still question marks beyond that with spots available for a front-line starter.

With plenty of quality prospects to spare, even after the Stanton deal, it's worth the risk for New York to go after a player like Cole.

                

Alex Colome, Tampa Bay Rays

Teams are always in the market for proven closers, and a bidding war for Alex Colome could lead to a nice payoff for the Tampa Bay Rays.

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the St. Louis Cardinals and Colorado Rockies are "aggressively pursuing" the Rays reliever. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times added the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs as possible destinations as well.

Colome led the majors with 47 saves last season after totaling 37 the year before, which is enough for teams to take notice. On the other hand, the rest of his numbers weren't quite as impressive.

His ERA was worse compared to 2016 (3.24 from 1.91), along with WHIP (1.20 from 1.02) and strikeout rate (7.8 from 11.3). He was also among the worst full-time closers in the league with six blown saves.

Still, a proven player under team control for the next three years is worth a lot at this level.

The Cardinals lacked a quality closer last season while the Rockies will likely have to replace free-agent reliever Greg Holland. The Mets could use any help, ranking last in the NL with a 4.82 bullpen ERA. 

Any of these teams could benefit from adding a player like Colome. 

                  

Matt Harvey, New York Mets

It's rare to see too much buzz for an oft-injured pitcher who posted a 6.70 ERA last season, but Matt Harvey is an exception.

The Mets starter was considered one of the best in the game in 2013 when his 2.27 ERA put him in serious contention for the Cy Young. However, Tommy John surgery and other injuries have limited him to just 64 starts over the last four seasons.

Over the last two years, Harvey has just a 9-17 record and a 5.78 ERA.

Still, his upside is enough for teams around the league to call the Mets and discuss a potential trade.

Heyman reported the Rangers discussed a possible swap of Harvey for Jurickson Profar, although Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News countered that by saying Texas wants someone with more than one year of team control.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports noted the Orioles could be interested in dealing away one of its top relievers like Brad Brach in exchange for Harvey. This not only matches up in potential salary with similar arbitration projections, but it makes a lot of sense on the field considering the Orioles ranked dead last in the majors in starter ERA while New York ended 29th in bullpen ERA.

Meanwhile, the Cubs could also be involved in a deal for the 28-year-old starter, per Andy Martino of the Huffington Post.

Marc Carig of Newsday reported it is "doubtful" Harvey is traded this offseason, but with so much interest, the Mets should at least consider a deal for the struggling player.

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Jay Bruce Rumors: Mets, Rockies, Blue Jays, Mariners Among Interested Teams

Jay Bruce remains a free agent, but the market for the outfielder appears to be heating up.

According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, there is interest from the New York Mets, Colorado Rockies, Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners. Bruce spent parts of the last two seasons with the Mets but ended the year with the Cleveland Indians after an August trade.

     

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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Jay Bruce Rumors: Mets, Rockies, Blue Jays, Mariners Among Interested Teams

Jay Bruce remains a free agent, but the market for the outfielder appears to be heating up.

According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, there is interest from the New York Mets, Colorado Rockies, Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners. Bruce spent parts of the last two seasons with the Mets but ended the year with the Cleveland Indians after an August trade.

     

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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Jay Bruce Rumors: Mets, Rockies, Blue Jays, Mariners Among Interested Teams

Jay Bruce remains a free agent, but the market for the outfielder appears to be heating up.

According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, there is interest from the New York Mets, Colorado Rockies, Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners. Bruce spent parts of the last two seasons with the Mets but ended the year with the Cleveland Indians after an August trade.

     

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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Report: Marlins ‘Threatened’ Giancarlo Stanton to Accept Giants, Cardinals Trade

The New York Yankees officially announced Monday they acquired Giancarlo Stanton in a trade, but the Miami Marlins apparently wanted their star player to go elsewhere.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports provided the details:

Stanton had refused to waive his no-trade clause for potential deals to the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants.

The National League MVP admitted his growing up a Dodgers fan helped sway his decision against going to the Giants.

"I'd say a little bit. I wouldn't base a decision off that, but I also wouldn't want to go to the team that they disliked the most," Stanton said Monday, per Daniel Brown of the Mercury News. "And I wasn't sure if they were going to beat that team, either. But at the same time if they were in the right position that I wanted, I would have done it."

While neither the Giants nor the Cardinals made the playoffs last season, the Yankees went to the American League Championship Series before losing to the eventual World Series champion Houston Astros in seven games. 

Pairing Stanton with Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and others makes an already elite offense arguably the best in the majors.

Considering the 28-year-old has never reached the playoffs with the Marlins, it's understandable for him to want to go to a ready-made contender.

On the other hand, Stanton did sign a 13-year deal with Miami with a no-trade clause that would have kept him in town through at least 2027. Threatening him to stay in his current deal that he already agreed to was a weird strategy that clearly didn't work out for the front office.

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Yankees Trade Rumors: New York Interested in Dealing for Pirates’ Gerrit Cole

The New York Yankees apparently aren't finished making moves this offseason. 

According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, the team is interested in a trade for Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole. However, Heyman also reported the Pirates don't intend to deal the 27-year-old.

Cole is coming off a disappointing season by his standards, finishing with a 12-12 record and a 4.26 ERA, the highest of his career. He was able to stay healthy—pitching 203 innings after an injury-filled 2016—but he was far from the dominant force he was a few years earlier.

The Pirates ace showcased his talent in 2015 when he finished fourth in the Cy Young voting, posting a 19-8 record 2.60 ERA and 202 strikeouts.

With two more seasons under team control before he can reach free agency, it's easy to understand why the Pirates would want to hold onto their talented young player.

Conversely, the Yankees are clearly looking for the final few pieces to make them into a World Series favorite after adding Giancarlo Stanton in a trade with the Marlins. With an offense that could be one of the best in the league and a rotation that already has Luis Severino and Sonny Gray, adding a top-flight talent like Cole could make this team even more dominant.

The Yankees drafted Cole out of high school in 2008 before he eventually landed in Pittsburgh's organization three years later, and it seems like they could be aggressive in trying to add the high-upside player.

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