USA Today Sports

Red Sox shouldn't be afraid of Gerrit Cole

Rob Bradford
December 22, 2017 - 11:26 am

Gerrit Cole is a really good pitcher. In 2015, he was an All-Star, finishing fourth in the National League Cy Young voting. 

The Pittsburgh starter is also just 27 years old and won't be eligible for free agency until 2020.

He's a good guy to have.

But when Red Sox fans hear the rumors that Cole is the next piece of the assumed new Yankees dynasty, it shouldn't induce Giancarlo Stanton-like hives. Particularly considering to what lengths New York might have to go in order to secure their next top-of-the-rotation pitcher, and what the righty will represent in the American League East.

As of Friday morning, the talks between the Yankees and Pirates regarding the potential trade of Cole may have gained some steam. Jim Bowden of  MLB Network Radio tweeted the two sides were close to a deal. That trade, according to Bowden, wouldn't include highly-regarded infield prospect Gleybar Torres, who is seemingly ready to slot into Starlin Castro's former spot at second base. The exclusion of Torres would be a feather in the Yanks' cap considering his upside and importance to the 2018 dynamic.

But, still, the Yankees are allocating some important pieces from what is a pretty impressive minor-league treasure chest. We knew that would happen. The value of what they were getting in return was the question.

Cole shouldn't make the Red Sox lose sleep.

In case Boston followers aren't all that familiar with the former UCLA pitcher, he was the guy the Red Sox faced last season in the season opener, tagging Cole for five runs on seven hits over five innings. That was the fourth, and most recent, appearance against an American League East team, with the starter pitching OK, but not great, against such opponents. (Against the division, Cole is 3-1, but with a 5.48 ERA.)

It would be easy to pick through Cole's performances against the American League, which have totaled 17 starts and a 3.35 ERA. In the past two seasons there have been six starts, resulting in a 4.31 ERA. But that's not the point here. He is a very good pitcher, and one teams would be lucky to have.

The question should be this: Is Cole a true ace in the American League East? Is he someone a team feels somewhat defeated against even before the first pitch is thrown? The answer, for me, is no.

The kind of presence that all teams, including the Red Sox, should feel uneasy about belongs to the likes of Corey Kluber, Chris Sale, Luis Severino, Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer. You might throw Yu Darvish in the mix, and, if he pitches like he did in the postseason, David Price could possibly re-enter that conversation.

Cole? He fits into the Sonny Gray, Drew Pomeranz, and Marcus Stroman grouping. Again, great guys to get you through a season. But ace? I just don't think this is what we're talking about with this acquisition. There is a lot there. But what was there in 2017 was a 12-12 record and 4.26 ERA in the National League.

The dynamic still remains the same. The Red Sox can potentially (again, potentially) match up starting pitching-wise with the Yankees, even with New York hauling in Cole. The difference between the two clubs remain the same. The Sox right now won't be able to keep up offensively, and until we know what is going on with Carson Smith and Tyler Thornburg, the Yanks have a bullpen advantage, as well.

So, go about your business Red Sox fans. Your problems haven't changed. That will only be the case if J.D. Martinez's introductory press conference is anywhere else but Fenway Park.

Comments ()