Hot Stove: Gerrit Cole traded to defending World Series champions

After weeks, possibly months of anticipation, the Pirates have traded Gerrit Cole. However, Cole will not be headed to New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles; instead, he’ll make his way to Houston to pitch in a staff that already included Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers Jr., Collin McHugh, Brad Peacock, and Charlie Morton. In return, the Astros sent Joe Musgrove, Colin Moran, Jason Martin and Michael Feliz to Pitsburgh. It’s obvious that these ‘Stros are intent on defending their title.

The main piece of the trade, Gerrit Cole, was drafted with the 1st overall pick in the 2011 draft. Interestingly enough, the Astros will now have had the top picks from 2011 (Cole), 2012 (Carlos Correa), 2013 (Mark Appel), and 2014 (Brady Aiken). Appel was traded and Aiken never signed, but that’s what years of being awful could get you. Cole has been trending downwards as of late, posting a 4.26 ERA and 4.08 FIP in the 2017 season, significantly worse than his 2.60 and 2.66 marks two years prior, in his only All Star season to date. A major concern of his was keeping the ball in the ballpark, allowing 1.4 HR/9 despite never topping 0.7 in the first four years of his career. It’ll be interesting to see how he fairs in Houston — as we saw in the postseason, a lot gets over the fence there.

Cole, 27, will not become a free agent until 2020.

Coming back to Pittsburgh, RHP Joe Musgrove looks to have an immediate impact on Pittsburgh’s pitching staff, whether they decide to start him or not. Drafted in the first round of the 2011 draft, Musgrove, 25, has a career 4.52 ERA in 171.1 innings pitched. A concern for Pittsburgh could be his great numbers in Houston (3.54 ERA), compared to sub-par road numbers (5.94 ERA). It could just be a small sample size issue, however.

In addition to Musgrove, Pittsburgh picked up another right hander in Michael Feliz. Feliz, who will turn 25 in June, has pitched to a tune of a 5.13 ERA in 121 career innings. Things look bright, however, as a 3.67 FIP and 12.8 K/9 indicate Feliz may be a bounce-back candidate for the Pirates next season.

22-year-old outfielder Jason Martin will also head over to the Pirates. Martin, a left handed hitter, posted an .802 OPS in 320 plate appearances in AA in 2017. He was the Astros 15th ranked prospect prior to being traded.

Lastly, Pittsburgh picked up another prospect in Colin Moran. Moran, now 25, was a top 100 prospect in 2014, but has only played 16 games in the Majors despite his age. In AAA last season, Moran slashed .308/.373/.543, bests for him in every category. A capable fielder at both first and third, Moran was the fifth best prospect in Houston’s system and the ninth ranked third base prospect in all of baseball. The left handed hitter was drafted in the first round in 2013 by Miami and traded to Houston at the deadline in 2014.

What are your thoughts on the trade? Who won?

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