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Jonathan Holder has a realistic shot of making the All-Star team

Middle relievers have only recently started receiving universal recognition for their individual performance in Major League Baseball, due to the new age of numbers in the sport. Saves are no longer the all-telling, ultimate stat about a reliever’s success and WAR, ERA+, and other metrics have opened the eyes of fans on just how valuable it is for a team to have dominant relievers outside of the ninth inning role. Their widely agreed on importance has led to a lot of non-closer relievers making the All-Star team in recent seasons. The American League squad had two of them in 2017 and 2015, and a whopping four in 2016. If this trend continues, the AL should feature at least one or two non-closer relievers, and possibly more, with the scarcity of lockdown closers in the AL in 2018. The Yankees feature a lot of highly talented middle relievers and the pitcher who has surprised everyone the most, Jonathan Holder, has a very realistic shot of cracking the AL All-Star squad.

MLB Trade Rumors: Yankees closing in on Gerrit Cole

Per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the Yankees are closing in on a deal to acquire Pittsburgh Pirates ace Gerrit Cole. Passan goes on to say that while the final package has not come together at this point, the sides are talking and there is “a feeling of when rather than if.” He also goes on to say that while the Yankees remain the likeliest destination for Cole, the Pirates would likely still move him elsewhere if the trade with the Yankees falls through.

Credit: Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports

The Yankees interest in Cole first became apparent during the Winter Meetings but were rumored to have cooled since then. It now seems that may have been a ploy for leverage on the part of the Yankees. While other teams would surely be interested in Cole, the Yankees farm system is one the best in baseball and is home to many attractive, high end prospects. A name that has been thrown around a lot in trade speculation is that of Clint Frazier. There are also reports that the current hold up is that Pittsburgh is asking for top prospect Gleyber Torres, though it is unlikely the Yankees would part ways with him. It would definitely take additional pieces to land Cole, but don’t be surprised if Frazier is involved if this deal happens. 

Cole will be entering the sixth season of his career in 2018 and will be just 27 years old. He has a history with a Yankees organization that drafted him in the first round coming out of high school in 2008 and that offered a hefty bonus to get him to sign. Cole was committed to UCLA though and followed through with that commitment before being drafted by the Pirates with the first overall selection of the 2011 MLB Draft. For the 2017 season Cole pitched to a 12-12 record with a 4.26 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP.     

Article by Matt Graziano