March 18, 2018

Astros bolster rotation by acquiring Pirates ace Gerrit Cole

14 January 2018, 12:29 | Pamela Mathis

Gerrit Cole Really is Going to the Astros

Pirates deal Gerrit Cole to Astros for four players, including pitcher Joe Musgrove

That being said, the Pirates have acquired players in this trade that should be able to contribute right away.

If the Astros can turn Cole around, there's no telling how good that team can be.

Verlander and Keuchel were quite pleased with the move. Houston breezed to the AL West title with 101 wins, and went on beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7 of the World Series.

The Pirates or Astros have yet to officially announce the trade, and there were reports of a trade for Cole that surfaced Wednesday, which turned out to be false.

A few days before Christmas, there was speculation that Cole was headed to the New York Yankees. When they couldn't work out a deal with the Pirates, the Astros instead got Justin Verlander. He fits that mold, too, slinging his four-seam fastball at 96 miles per hour and chowing down on the innings: In two of the last three seasons, he's crossed the 200-inning mark, and previous year, he led the NL in starts with 33. David Freese, who will be a free agent after the season, was set to open the year as the Pirates' third baseman.

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Gerrit Cole is heading to Houston. If those players are dealt as well, it could be the start of a massive fire sale and send the Pirates into rebuild mode. Musgrove, Moran and Feliz have already appeared in the major leagues and should contribute in Pittsburgh nearly immediately.

By adding Cole, the Astros make their already formidable rotation even mightier. The 25-year-old has made 25 starts and 49 appearances with Houston over the past two seasons. His best season was 2015, when he went 19-8 with a 2.60 ERA and 202 strikeouts.

Brian Cashman drafted him in the first round of the 2008 draft, but the righthander chose to attend UCLA instead. He has upside with the bat and glove, but blocked by Alex Bregman at third base in Houston, he was expendable.

He played in nine games for the Astros in 2016-and seven more last season-before suffering a freak injury when he fouled a ball off of his own face. Despite that, he had a 5.63 ERA in part because of subpar control.

Martin, 22, was an eighth-round pick in 2013. Martin isn't well-known, but he hit.278/.332/.487 with 18 homers and 16 steals between High-A and Double-A last season.

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