Gerrit Cole Pirates Yankees
Starting pitcher Gerrit Cole of the Pittsburgh Pirates throws a pitch in the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on Sept. 29, 2017 in Washington, DC. Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Pirates’ quest to trade Gerrit Cole might be the worst-kept secret of the 2017 MLB offseason. After two straight losing seasons, the team is taking offers for their best pitcher.

Rumors of Pittsburgh dealing the right-hander began during last season, and he’s been linked to several teams. While the Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers and Minnesota Twins have all reportedly been interested in acquiring Cole at some point, the New York Yankees stand out as the favorite to complete a trade.

There were talks of the Yankees getting Cole before the 2017 MLB trade deadline, but the team ultimately made a deal with the Oakland Athletics for Sonny Gray. New York is, once again, in the market for a starting pitcher, and they probably aren’t going to shell out a ton of money in free agency. The Yankees have an embarrassment of riches in the minor leagues, even after landing Giancarlo Stanton, making them an ideal trade partner with Pittsburgh.

Having such a loaded farm system, however, could be what’s preventing the Yankees from already having Cole on their roster. According to multiple reports, the Pirates want Gleyber Torres, New York’s minor-league infielder and the No.1 prospect in the organization. The Yankees seem to be unwilling to trade Torres, and despite reports that a deal is likely to be made, the two teams have reached a stalemate.

New York does appear to be prepared to trade outfield prospect Clint Frazier. Frazier began last season as the Yankees’ No.2 prospect, ranking behind only Torres. He showed flashes of becoming a star player in 134 MLB at-bats. Frazier finished the year with four home runs and a .231/.268/.448 slash line.

There have been rumors that the Yankees might have to give up pitching prospect Chance Adams, as well. The 23-year-old had a 2.89 ERA in 115.1 innings at Triple-A.

Cole, 27, has two years left of arbitration before becoming a free agent after the 2019 season. He’s got a career 3.50 ERA and 1.22 WHIP, but the right-hander is coming off the worst season of his career. Cole had a 4.26 ERA in 203 innings last year, allowing 31 home runs.

If the Pirates manage to trade Cole, which might be an inevitability, they could look to unload outfielder Andrew McCutchen, as well.