Pirates trade P Gerrit Cole to the Houston Astros

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 29: Starting pitcher Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates throws a pitch in the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on September 29, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH– The Pittsburgh Pirates completed a big trade over the weekend, trading P Gerrit Cole to the Houston Astros.

Cole, 27, has two years of team control left, and adds another strong starting pitching option to the defending World Champions.

He rebounded from an injury-plagued 2016 season to throw 203 innings of 4.26 ERA ball. Cole struck out 196 batters on his way to a 12-12 record.

In return, the Pirates acquired 3B Colin Moran, Ps Joe Musgrove and Michael Feliz, and OF Jason Martin.

Moran, 25, has only received limited big league action because of the Astros’ stacked infield. However, over seven games in 2017, Moran hit .364 with a home run and 3 RBI’s.

In AAA, where Moran spent most of the season, he hit .308 with 18 HR’s and 63 RBI’s. He is expected to offer the Pirates a starting option at third base in 2018.

Musgrove, 25, has spent the majority of the past two seasons in the Major Leagues, switching between starting and relieving roles. In 2017, Musgrove went 7-8 with a 4.77 ERA, but was much more effective when moved to the bullpen. It is unclear whether Musgrove will start or relieve for the Pirates, but after losing Cole in the trade, the team will need to fill nearly 200 innings from last season.

Feliz, 24, has spent the majority of the past two seasons in the Major Leagues. A fireball reliever, Feliz has pitched to mix results. Despite striking out 165 over 113 innings the past two years, Feliz’s ERA has been above 5.00.

Finally, Martin, 22, has yet to play above the AA-level. Over two stops in the Minor Leagues last season, Martin hit .278 with 18 HR’s and 66 RBI’s. Some believe his ceiling is to be a fourth outfielder, but with age on his side, his potential is yet to be seen.