Pittsburg Pirates ace Gerrit Cole has been dealt to the Defending World Series Champion Houston Astros in return for RHP Joe Musgrove, 3B Colin Moran, RHP Michael Feliz and OF Jason Martin.
In 2017, Cole had a win-loss record of 12-12, a 4.26 ERA, and a 2.8 WAR in 203.0 innings pitched during a career-high 33 starts. Cole also struck out 196 and walked 55.
Obviously, Cole’s numbers in 2017 were far from stellar, but if Cole can have the same type of year that he had in 2015 when he went 19-8 with a 2.60 ERA, the AL is going to have their hands full when facing the Astros. 2015 was also the year that Cole finished 4th in the Cy Young Award voting and received his first career All-Star nod.
Interestingly, the Pirates and Gerrit Cole avoided arbitration on Friday (the day before the trade took place) when Cole signed a one year $6.75 million deal. As a matter of fact, the 27-year-old ace has one year left of arbitration and will likely be searching for a considerably large salary bump in 2019, which is one of the reasons why the Pirates considered trading him in the first place.
“Trading Gerrit Cole was not an easy decision. We are very appreciative for what Gerrit has done for our team and organization, especially his important role on the 2013-15 playoff teams,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said in a news release. “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 #1 Overall Draft pick in 2011 will join one of the strongest starting rotations in baseball, which includes Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Charlie Morton, Lance McCullers Jr., and Collin McHugh. The Astros will now be even better then they were in 2017 with their stacked lineup and pitching rotation.
The Pirates, as I said before, will receive RHP Joe Musgrove, 3B Colin Moran, RHP Michael Feliz and OF Jason Martin. So let’s look at what they will be working with in 2018…
Joe Musgrove started 15 games for Houston in 2017, with a 4.77 ERA. Musgrove also made seven relief appearances in the postseason and even got the win in Game 5 of the World Series, while Michael Feliz went 4-2 with a 5.63 ERA in 46 relief appearances for Houston in 2017.
Third baseman Colin Moran went 4-11 with a home run and three RBI in 7 games with the Astros last year. He also hit .308 with 18 home runs and 63 RBIs in 79 games with Triple-A Fresno in 2017. All the while, Minor League outfielder Jason Martin hit a combined .278 with 18 home runs, 66 RBI, and 16 stolen bases in 125 games between High-A Buies Creek and Double-A Corpus Christi.
This trade will likely launch a Pirates rebuild and another Astros World Series run. The Pirates will likely still be stuck near the bottom of their division in 2018, while the Astros cruise to another Division Title. This game can be so unfair sometimes.