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Pirates trade Yankees' target Gerrit Cole to Astros
14 January 2018, 12:45 | Andy Ferguson
Pirates trade Gerrit Cole to Houston
In exchange, the Pirates receive right-handed pitcher Joe Musgrove, third baseman Colin Moran, right-handed reliever Michael Feliz and outfielder Jason Martin.
Gerrit Cole, 27, is under team control until 2020. But adding Cole gives them the best rotation in baseball, putting them in a great position to repeat as World Series champions in 2018. Houston breezed to the AL West title with 101 wins, and went on beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7 of the World Series. 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.
"We don't focus too much on short-term performance", Houston General Manager Jeff Luhnow told reporters after the trade was announced.
The New York Yankees had been among the teams mentioned in recent trade speculation involving Cole. He also finished second in the NL in home runs allowed with 33 in 203 innings pitched. In his career, he is 59-42 with a 3.50 ERA.
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Cole had signed a one-year extension with Pittsburgh on Friday for $6.75 million. The Pirates begin their rebuild after missing the playoffs in consecutive seasons, a strategy that might also lead them to trade longtime outfielder Andrew McCutchen and Josh Harrison, among others.
The Pirates have slumped badly since those three straight postseason appearances. Musgrove, Moran and Feliz have already appeared in the major leagues and should contribute in Pittsburgh nearly immediately.
The pressing question for the Astros, though, is what version of Cole they're going to get. 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. His best season was 2015, when he went 19-8 with a 2.60 ERA and 202 strikeouts.
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