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The Cubs might be interested in trading for Gerrit Cole

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Could the Pirates righthander be in the Cubs rotation in 2018?

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

If the Cubs don’t sign one of the still-free-agent trio of Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb or Yu Darvish, perhaps a trade for Pirates righthander Gerrit Cold could fill the spot in the rotation.

That’s the rumor from Bruce Levine, anyway:

The two starting pitchers getting the most attention on the trade market are Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole and Rays right-hander Chris Archer, and both are receiving attentions from top clubs like the Yankees and Cubs.

OK, so that’s a pretty vague rumor. Still, let’s have a look at Cole. I wrote about the Cubs’ interest in him last May and there were rumors around that the Cubs were interested in him at the trading deadline last summer.

Cole was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft and made his MLB debut for the Pirates in 2013. He put together three very good years and then had some injury issues in 2016, including triceps tightness and some elbow problems. He had a bad second half in 2016 (5.48 ERA, 1.615 WHIP in nine starts) and his 2017 wasn’t all that great (4.26 ERA, 1.251 WHIP), though it was still worth 2.8 bWAR.

Cole is in his second year of arbitration eligibility and likely is set to make about $6 million in 2018 after a salary of $3.75 million in 2017. He’s under team control for this year and next.

I suppose if the Cubs could get Cole without trading major-league talent, they should absolutely explore this. But I’m guessing the Pirates would want one of the Cubs’ young stars, and to me, at least, that would put a Cole trade off the table.

What do you think?