Could the Hot Stove finally be heating up for the Astros?
The Astros are reportedly talking with the Pirates about acquiring Gerrit Cole from the Pittsburgh Pirates per Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.
However, this trade would most likely include a couple of top prospects like Kyle Tucker or Forrest Whitley.
As you can see, the asking price is high for Cole. It would come with risk as the Astros will have several key players heading into free agency in the next few years.
So, what should we make of this?
Astros searching for a top-tier starting pitcher
It is no surprise the Astros are looking into bringing in a top-level starting pitcher. Dallas Keuchel enters free agency after the 2018 season, so this addition would help in the event of his departure and possibly assure it.
Club owner Jim Crane shares the team’s interest in adding a high-level starter if the deal makes sense. With that being said, the organization will do what’s best for this team and its fans.
Who is Gerrit Cole?
Cole is a starting pitcher for the Pirates. Last year, he records a 12-12 record, including a 4.26 ERA in 203 innings pitched. He has been subject to injuries in the past. But Cole has also shined. In 2015, he posted a 19-8 record, finishing fourth in the Cy Young voting that season. There is plenty of potential, but it comes with risk. We all know what the coaches can produce when it comes to bringing in talent. Charlie Morton is evidence of what is possible.
Does Cole make sense in Houston?
Cole will hit arbitration, which will most likely lead to a salary increase. In 2017, Cole made $3.75 million, while only recording a 12-12 record. He will be a free agent following the 2019 regular season. So, if the Astros make this deal, they’ll have team control for two seasons. However, both Tucker and Whitley have yet to make their debuts and potentially offer more in long-term value than Cole.
Listen to Talking Stros discuss the whole situation below.
What about the free agents?
The Astros can work the free agency market for a top-tier starter, but it comes with disadvantages. Contract value will likely be higher, and the terms may not fit on either side. For instance, Jake Arrieta made $15.64 million last year, which would most likely tell us his asking price is similar or more. As for Yu Darvish, he made $11 million last season but is coming off a very rough postseason showing. This could lower his value moving into 2018. The advantage to this route is you will pay more, but maintain control of your young talent.
All in all, the Astros have plenty to consider as they look for a top-tier starter in 2018. Every scenario involves risk, but that won’t stop the organization from make a move to better this team.
**Statistics and information courtesy of Baseball-Reference and Sportrac**