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Gerrit Cole trade to Astros "not imminent", "false rumor"

Astros general manager informed that there was nothing done yet

The deal in place between the Astros and the Pirates that would sent Pittsburgh right-hander Gerrit Cole to Houston, according to Jon Morosi sources appear to be mistaken.

According to Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports that Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow has acknowledged he's "talked to several teams about possible trades" but said "at this point, nothing is imminent."

Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, also reported that there was "no deal" yet and that it was only a "false rumor".

According to a source, Cole was Houston's top target last summer. When a deal could not be put together, the team opted for Verlander, who flourished down the stretch and in the postseason for the World Series champions.

Besides Cole, the Astros have also been linked this offseason to right-handers Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta and Chris Archer, among other hurlers.

"I've been told that on paper we have the best team in baseball, but paper doesn't win titles. I think with the depth of our farm system, where some of the guys are going to be blocked for some time, it might be prudent to make a move if we can get a deal done that makes sense."
- Crane

According to Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan, who was first to report the Astros' negotiations with the Pirates about Cole, Houston left fielder Derek Fisher's name has come up in the discussions for Cole, whose contract includes two relatively affordable years of control. In exchange for Cole, Pittsburgh's ace, the Pirates may also seek top talent from Houston's farm system, such as outfielder Kyle Tucker (Houston's No. 1 prospect per MLB Pipeline, and the game's No. 8 overall prospect) and right-hander Forrest Whitley (Astros' No. 2, No. 36 overall), though many in the industry believe Whitley is "untouchable.

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Whitley has seen his stock rise significantly over the past year, and some reports suggest he is "untouchable" in Houston's eyes. A first-round pick in 2016 out of San Antonio's Alamo Heights High School, Whitely struck out 143 batters in 92 1/3 innings across three levels in 2017, topping out at Double-A Corpus Christi. And in that a recent Poll of execs conducted by MLB.com's Jim Callis, the 20-year-old right-hander got one vote as the best overall prospect in baseball and three votes as best pitching prospect in baseball.

MLB.com | By Jon Morosi and Jesse Sanchez

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