Though trades within the division are generally frowned upon, the Cubs match up well with the Pirates, who, as Heyman speculates, could look for a return consisting of major-league talent, as the club aims to compete by 2019. For Chicago, Cole would be a nice addition to a starting rotation that currently finds two of its big right-handers, Jake Arrieta and John Lackey, on the open market.
Cole was nearly sent to Houston on Wednesday before talks broke down, leading Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow to confirm that no deal was imminent.
The right-hander has been lethal against the Cubs throughout his career, pitching to a 2.95 ERA with 103 strikeouts in 14 career starts and carries a superior 2.29 ERA (7-1 record) in eight career starts at Wrigley Field.
The Pirates and Cole avoided arbitration on Friday, reportedly agreeing to a one-year, $6.75-million deal. He's under team control until 2020.