The Twins are known to be on the hunt for rotation upgrades and have already been linked to top free agents Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta, but they’re also poking around the trade market. Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that Minnesota has spoken to the Pirates about Gerrit Cole and also engaged the Rays in discussions on Jake Odorizzi (Twitter links). Both righties come with two remaining years of team control. It’s not at all clear that the Pirates intend to aggressively shop Cole this offseason, though as a low-payroll club Pittsburgh always has to willing to at least entertain offers for its top talents. Cole certainly falls into that category, though he had somewhat of a down season in 2017. The former No. 1 overall pick logged 203 innings with the Bucs, marking his second career 200-inning campaign, but he also posted a career-worst 4.26 ERA. That was largely attributable to to a massive spike in his homer-to-flyball ratio (15.9 percent), which led to a career-worst 1.37 HR/9 mark. However, Cole’s 2017 season also came with cause for optimism. The 27-year-old saw both his strikeout and walk rates bounce back from 2016, as he averaged 8.7 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 while maintaining a solid ground-ball rate (45.8 percent) and averaging 96 mph on his fastball.