One trade target.
According to Ken Rosenthal, the Astros are already looking around for possible upgrades to the rotation. While nothing is imminent, the Astros could be talking to the Pirates about Gerrit Cole and left-handed reliever Tony Watson. The Pirates are in last place in the NL Central with Starling Marte suspended and Andrew McCutchen not hitting as expected.
As much as the Astros need a second left-handed reliever, I don’t see the Astros spending a lot to acquire one. They might make an Oliver Perez type of deal later or take a gamble with Reymin Guduan. However, the Stros do seem willing to give up significant resources to improve the rotation. To acquire Cole, it would indeed take a haul to get him.
Unlike Marco Estrada, Cole would not be a one-year rental. Cole is under team control through 2019. The 26-year-old right-hander is having a great season and will be highly sought after at the trade deadline. If fact, last night Cole held down the dynamic Washington Nationals’ offense to get his second win. He pitched seven innings giving up three hits and one run while striking out three hitters.
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A look at his stats.
Overall, Cole has a 2-4 record with a 2.84 ERA while striking out 50 hitters in 57 innings. Cole has a career 3.22 ERA with a 1.19 WHIP. To acquire a player like this, it won’t come cheap. At this point, the Astros have basically declared that Kyle Tucker is untradeable. Martes could be the same way, but the Astros would rather hold onto Tucker.
The Astros have already said that they wanted to be proactive with resting players. Last year’s season fell apart after they stood pat at the trade deadline, then they lost McCullers and Keuchel. Cole has already cracked a career WAR of 10 according to Baseball-Reference. Add him to a rotation with Keuchel and McCullers. This will be a tough team to beat.
While I believe the Stros and Pirates are talking trades, I wouldn’t see anything happening anytime soon. If it comes down to a decision between Jose Quintana and Cole, it could come to who would cost the least? Cole is tempting, but in Luhnow I trust. Fiers could be a throw in to help the Pirates eat some innings for the next few years as well.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***