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Astros deal for Gerrit Cole, further opening Yu Darvish door for Yankees

Pirates starting pitcher Gerrit Cole delivers against the

Pirates starting pitcher Gerrit Cole delivers against the Mets at Citi Field onJune 2, 2017. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

As the Astros made a major trade to improve a rotation that won the World Series, the pitcher they beat in Game 7 remains a hot topic among clubs shopping for starters.

The world champions acquired righthander Gerrit Cole, previously a trade target for the Yankees, from the Pirates on Saturday. That left the Yankees one fewer competitor in the chase to land Yu Darvish.

The Astros will send four players to the Pirates, according to multiple reports: righthanders Joe Musgrove and Michael Feliz, third baseman Colin Moran and outfielder Jason Martin.

Meanwhile, last impressions apparently are not lasting impressions in the case of Darvish. The righthander is in demand despite his poor performance in the World Series, especially Game 7. He allowed five runs (four earned) in 1 2⁄3 innings and never allowed the Dodgers to get into the game against the Astros.

Darvish allowed nine runs (eight earned) and nine hits in 3 1⁄3 innings in two World Series starts and was 0-2 with a 21.60 ERA. A lengthy story in Sports Illustrated later indicated that he had been tipping his pitches.

Suitors apparently believe that is a minor problem that can be fixed. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, appearing on WFAN last week, called Darvish “a unique talent and premier starting pitcher in the marketplace.”

Darvish has been on Twitter (@faridyu) during the past week and tacitly acknowledged published reports that said the Yankees, Astros, Twins, Cubs and Rangers have expressed interest in him. “I know one more team is in,” he tweeted.

When a Yankees fan went on the social media site to implore Darvish to sign in the Bronx, the Japanese pitcher replied, in English, “They don’t give me offer yet.” In an apparent reference to a statement by Michael Kay on his ESPN radio show that the Yankees had proposed a contract for $160 million over seven years, he later added, “Sorry guys. My mistake. Actually they did make offer but the numbers are not correct.”

Cashman said on the radio show that he had spoken to Darvish’s representative but did not say that he had made an offer.

The Yankees reportedly had shown interest in trading for Cole, 27, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft, who will join a rotation that includes former Cy Young Award winners Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander. Cole went 12-12 with a 4.26 ERA last season.

New York Sports