The reigning World Series champions have made a move to significantly bolster their starting rotation.
According to Tim Brown of Yahoo, the Houston Astros have indeed struck a deal to acquire right-hander Gerrit Cole from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for pitcher Joe Musgrove and infielder Colin Moran.
Outfielder Jason Martin and right hander Michael Feliz is also heading to Pittsburgh according to Ken Rosenthal.
On Wednesday, it appeared as though Cole was headed to Houston, though later reports said there was no deal and it was a false report.
“As is the case with these things, talks could pick back up quickly,” Jeff Passan of Yahoo said then. “For now, though, Gerrit Cole to Houston is not happening.”
The teams must have continued talks and came to an agreement.
Cole, 27, is coming off arguably the worst season of his career in which he posted a 4.26 ERA, 4.08 FIP, 1.25 WHIP and had a 1.4 HR/9. Though he did prove his health while making 33 starts and throwing 203 innings.
Perhaps the best season of the 27-year-old’s career came back in 2015 when he went 19-8 with a 2.60 ERA, 3.23 FIP, 1.091 WHIP and 99 ERA+ over 208.0 innings. He also appeared in that year’s All-Star game.
Musgrove, 25, went 7-8 for the ‘Stros in 2017, flip-flopping between being a starter and reliever. He registered a 4.77 ERA and 4.38 FIP in 109.1 innings.
Moran, 25, has appeared in just 16 Major League games, hitting to a .206/.270/.382 clip in just 37 plate appearances. MLB Pipeline ranked him as the team’s No. 5 prospect at the time of the trade.
On Monday, Astros owner Jim Crane said the team is actively pursuing a high-end starting pitcher and it looks like that has finally come to fruition.
“We don’t have anything done yet, and it may not come to be, but we are constantly looking to improve the team,” he said. “It would have to be a significant upgrade. We’re happy where we are at. I’ve been told we have the best team in baseball on paper, but paper doesn’t win titles.”
Cole is arbitration eligible for the second time this offseason and is under team control for three seasons.