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Welcome to Houston: Astros acquire pitcher Gerrit Cole in trade with Pirates

Welcome to Houston: Astros acquire pitcher Gerrit Cole in trade with Pirates

After what seemed like a never-ending saga, the Pittsburgh Pirates have finally parted ways with right handed starter Gerrit Cole. Earlier this week, there were reports that a deal between these two teams involving Cole had gotten done.

The announcement was made by Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow. In 33 starts in 2017, he was 12-12 with a 4.26 ERA.

On Friday, Cole and the Pirates agreed to a one-year contract worth $6.75 million to avoid arbitration.

The official trade is Cole heading to the Astros in exchange for Colin, Joe Musgrove, Michael Feliz and Jason Martin. His best season was 2015, when he went 19-8 with a 2.60 ERA and 202 strikeouts.

Verlander and Keuchel were quite pleased with the move.

The pressing question for the Astros, though, is what version of Cole they're going to get.

Cole, 27, has two years remaining before becoming a free agent.

Cole was beleaguered by the home run ball in 2017, but there is every reason to believe that 2017 was an aberration. Young, cheap, and productive, Cole is the kind of player that contenders lust for. While Charlie Morton, Lance McCullers Jr. and Brad Peacock all had varying degrees of success last season, the Astros could use a consistent third starter behind Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander. However, his power is diminishing and Moran could end up being a long-term solution for the Pirates at the hot corner.

In order to maximize the potential return of the trade, the Pirates need to start Musgrove and employ Moran at third base, which means a possible trade for David Freese. There's some upside here as he's fanned 165 in 113 innings in two seasons of relief. He's a giant, hard-throwing right-hander who posted an ugly 5.63 ERA in 48 bullpen innings in 2017. Martin, 22, played all three outfield positions and batted.278 with 18 home runs in Class A and Double-A.

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