"Trading Gerrit Cole was not an easy decision", general manager Neal Huntington said in a prepared statement. Earlier this week, there were reports that a deal between these two teams involving Cole had gotten done.
The Astros made a big splash to improve their already strong rotation, while the Pirates acquired a handful of players with a lot of potential, but not a lot of results. While he was by no means bad, (12-12, 4.26 ERA, 196 strikeouts) Cole will look to re-discover in Houston what made him an ace for the Pirates just a few seasons ago.
On Friday, Cole and the Pirates agreed to a one-year contract worth $6.75 million to avoid arbitration.
Musgrove pitched in 38 games (15 starts) last season for the Astros and went 7-8 with a 4.77 ERA.
Cole will join All-Stars Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander on a team that just won its first crown. He hit.308 with 18 home runs and 63 RBIs in 79 games with Triple-A Fresno.
Musgrove could take over Cole's spot in the rotation.
The move places Cole in the middle of an already strong pitching staff in Houston, which features future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander, 2015 Cy Young Award victor Dallas Keuchel, World Series Game 7 hero Charlie Morton, Lance McCullers Jr., Brad Peacock and Collin McHugh.
That doesn't necessarily mean this will end up as a huge win, nor does it mean that the Pittsburgh Pirates didn't get enough in return. And with the changes to free-agent compensation made in the current CBA, the best the Pirates would get for Cole when he inevitably walked after the '19 season would be a pair of draft picks.
Cole was beleaguered by the home run ball in 2017, but there is every reason to believe that 2017 was an aberration. I'd project Moran as a second-division starter, but there's the chance he won't hit for enough power to play a corner infield slot. However, it now seems Freese and Moran will compete to break camp as the starting third baseman this year.
Feliz is a hard-throwing right-handed reliever who struck out 13.13 batters per nine innings in 46 appearances last season.
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