It's Real This Time: Pirates Trade Gerrit Cole to the Astros for Four Players

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It’s Real This Time: Pirates Trade Gerrit Cole to the Astros for Four Players

Chicago Cubs Rumors, MLB News and Rumors

After reports ran that the Astros and Pirates had agreed to a trade involving 27-year-old starter Gerrit Cole earlier this week, the deal seemed to fizzle, and the Cubs of all teams were reportedly a Mystery Team in on Cole. It at least made you wonder whether the Cubs wanted a crack at topping the Astros’ offer before the Pirates pulled the trigger.

But, whether that was the case or not, it doesn’t matter, because Cole really is headed to Houston this time:

That’s a very interesting return for the Pirates, who are clearly prioritizing nearer-term help than just low-level prospects. Three of the players have seen big league time, and two have already established themselves; Musgrove is an effective swing arm who could possibly be a very solid starter for the Pirates, and Feliz is probably going to be a good reliever for a while. Moran is a former top 100 type who hasn’t yet put it all together yet, while Martin is a top 20ish outfield prospect in the Astros’ good system.

It’s not an overwhelming return, and it’s more quantity than impact quality, but I can see that appealing to the Pirates – spread around the talent a bit, save money and save up for next year.

The deal makes me think the Pirates are not looking to rebuild, and it’s conceivable that the net impact to their roster here is not all that negative in 2018. If they sell off Andrew McCutchen and/or Josh Harrison, too, though, then I think we can conclude they’re eyeing a down year in 2018, and then coming back in 2019 with a young club (and plenty of money available to spend in free agency).

Having landed Cole, this takes the Astros out of the running on Yu Darvish and/or Jake Arrieta and/or Alex Cobb, and could shake loose that market generally, since those pitchers can’t be waiting on the Astros anymore. Since the Yankees did not get (cost-controlled) Cole, they may not be able to be as aggressive in the free agent pitching market as the Astros could have been. (At least not until the Yankees shed more salary, since their avowed goal is to stay under the luxury tax cap, and they are currently at a spot where one big addition would give them no in-season leeway.)

In other words, if you want the Cubs to get a top free agent arm, the Astros landing Cole is a good outcome.

Cole, by the way, has always dominated the Cubs (except in Wild Card Games), so it’s fine to see him rolling out:


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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.