Astros land Gerrit Cole in deal with Pirates

Astros land Gerrit Cole in deal with Pirates

Second time’s the charm.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have traded ace pitcher Gerrit Cole to the Houston Astros in exchange for right-hander Joe Musgrove, infielder Colin Moran, reliever Michael Feliz, and outfield prospect Jason Martin, the team announced Saturday.

This comes only three days after a supposed deal had been reached between the two clubs only to later be squashed.

Cole helps solidify an already vaunted rotation headlined by Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel. It also signifies the Astros will likely move one of their swing-men to the bullpen.

The 27-year-old Cole is coming off an up and down season where he went 12-12 with a 4.26 ERA, the highest of his five-year career. He did throw 203 innings, which is an encouraging development after losing portions of 2016 to a triceps strain.

At his peak, Cole is a front-line starter. The former first overall pick finished fourth in Cy Young voting in 2015 when he went 19-8 with a 2.60 ERA while tossing 208 innings.

Cole is under team control for two more seasons before becoming a free agent. He is set to make $6.75 million in 2018 after avoiding arbitration with the Pirates.

Going the other way, Musgrove has split time between the rotation and the bullpen since his debut in 2016. For his career, he is 11-12 with a 4.52 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, and 8.0 K/9 across 171 1/3 innings.

Moran was listed as the Astros’ fifth-best prospect by MLB Pipeline prior to the trade. In Triple-A, he hit .308/.373/.543 with 18 home runs in 79 games last season. He also made 12 plate appearances at the major-league level, hitting his first career home run in a July win against the Baltimore Orioles.

The 24-year-old Feliz has light’s out material, striking out 172 batters in 121 innings over parts of three seasons. Martin, 22, played 79 games in Double-A in 2017, hitting .273/.319/.483 with 11 home runs and seven stolen bases.

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