Yankees News: A.J. Cole Traded to New York; Nationals Receive Cash

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 24, 2018

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 11: Starting pitcher A.J. Cole #22 of the Washington Nationals throws to a Atlanta Braves batter in the first inning at Nationals Park on April 11, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The New York Yankees acquired right-hander A.J. Cole from the Washington Nationals for cash considerations, the team announced Monday.

The move comes three days after the Nationals designated Cole for assignment. He has endured a brutal start to the 2018 season, allowing 15 earned runs through 10.1 innings.

Cole is a somewhat odd fit for the generally hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium.

He has already surrendered six home runs this season and has allowed 1.8 homers per nine innings over his MLB career, per FanGraphs. Along the same lines, Cole has a 46.5 percent fly-ball rate, which puts him in the higher end of the spectrum in that regard.

With all of that said, the Yankees can afford to take a gamble on Cole and see if he fulfills the potential he showed early in his career. MLB.com listed him as the No. 56 prospect in baseball in 2014.

New York already has a strong starting rotation from top to bottom and a devastating bullpen trio of Aroldis Chapman, Chad Green and David Robertson. If Cole continues struggling, then it won't end up costing the Yankees too much.

The team successfully transformed Green from a middling starter to a dominant reliever, so perhaps pitching coach Larry Rothschild might be able to work similar magic with Cole if he's unable to crack New York's rotation.

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