Pirates trade RHP Cole to Astros

Pirates deal Gerrit Cole to Astros for four players, including pitcher Joe Musgrove

Pirates deal Gerrit Cole to Astros for four players, including pitcher Joe Musgrove

Cole, a product of UCLA, was the top pick from the 2011 draft by the Pirates.

2015 was Cole's best year to date, with sterling marks in almost every metric one chooses to judge pitching. He has a 3.50 ERA with 749 hits allowed and 734 strikeouts in 782.1 innings in five seasons.

The trade came one day after the Pirates and Cole agreed to a one-year contract to avoid salary arbitration. He had one year of arbitration remaining and was likely to command a huge raise in 2019, one of the reasons the Pirates had considered trading him. "Acquiring these four quality young players, three of whom we project to be an important part of our 2018 team, with many years of potential contribution, is an important step for us as we work toward bringing playoff baseball back to our fans".

The Pirates have slumped badly since those three straight postseason appearances.

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They accepted a package headlined by Musgrove, who is unproven as a starter in the major leagues. Over the past two years, he's played in a total of 16 games with the Astros.

Musgrove could take over 's spot in the rotation.

The Pittsburgh Pirates welcome in two right handers in Musgrove and Feliz - the latter of whom is reputed to have a "big arm" according to Jon Heyman. 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. In 84 innings pitched the past two seasons Schugel has allowed 72 hits, seven home runs, he has averaged 3.10 BB/9, 7.55 K/9, and he posted a 48.6 percent groundball rate. "We just happen to have someone in front of him".

With 2015 No. 2 overall draft pick Alex Bregman representing the future at third base for the defending world champions, this trade should provide Moran a chance to blossom into a full-time major league player.

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