Pirates-Astros Trade, 1st Ld-Writethru,775

Doug Mendoza
January 14, 2018

The Pirates begin their rebuild after missing the playoffs in consecutive seasons, a strategy that might also lead them to trade longtime outfielder Andrew McCutchen and Josh Harrison, among others. Earlier this week, there were reports that a deal between these two teams involving Cole had gotten done. With the deal sending four players to the Pirates, members of the Astros took to social media to celebrate the addition of the right-handed pitcher.

Cole is coming off a career-worst ERA at 4.26 in 203 innings pitched, but he remains one of the hardest throwers in the game. The Pirates and their top starting pitcher had avoided arbitration on Friday by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $6.75 million.

In exchange for Cole, their 2017 opening day starter, the Pirates acquired pitcher Joe Musgrove, outfielder Jason Martin, infielder Colin Moran and reliever Michael Feliz. Musgrove, 25, is another former first-rounder, but he's been unexceptional as a swingman; last season, he was ripped for a 4.77 ERA in 109 1/3 innings, mostly out of the bullpen, with 18 home runs allowed in that span.

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Cole burst onto the scene in 2013, and proved to be a driving force on the team that finally broke the 20-year long losing streak. He hit.308 with 18 home runs and 63 RBIs in 79 games with Triple-A Fresno.

The pressing question for the Astros, though, is what version of Cole they're going to get. In the end, Cole will in fact be joining the reigning World Champion Astros' rotation. The Pirates' haul is not the best on first glance, but if they are able to get the most out of the players they acquired, they could easily be the winners of this deal. He has upside with the bat and glove, but blocked by Alex Bregman at third base in Houston, he was expendable. There's some upside here as he's fanned 165 in 113 innings in two seasons of relief. Despite that, he had a 5.63 ERA in part because of subpar control.

Other reports by GizPress

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