The Astros steal Gerrit Cole from the Pirates but will miss Joe Musgrove in the bullpen.
Well Astros fans, we got another top of the rotation starting pitcher. After an almost trade earlier this week, the Astros pull off a surprise deal only a couple of hours after Fanfest ended. Some fans were just getting home; then Jeff Luhnow pulls off a big deal that will increase the chances of going back to back in 2018. In fact, this deal puts them into championship contention in 2019 as well.
According to Tim Brown, welcome to Houston Gerrit Cole! While he is coming off an off season, he has the stuff to be successful in the rotation. The 27-year-old right-hander went 12-12 last season with a 4.26 with 196 strikeouts in 203 innings. His homer rate skyrocketed in 2017 from a previous high of 11 to 31. He still throws in the upper 90’s and could use his slider more with the Astros under Brett Strom’s tutelage.
This makes a super rotation led by Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander in either order. Cole or Lance McCullers will battle for the third spot in the rotation, rounded out by World Series hero Charlie Morton. While the Yankees have gone out and added more offense, the Astros have created a rotation to limit most offenses. So the big question is, who did they give up to acquire Cole?
Who did we trade?
If I were a Pirates fans, I would not be too thrilled in this trade. While I think the world of one player involved, the others are not big time loses to the system. If they had to trade Forrest Whitely or Kyle Tucker, we would be singing a different song. Instead, they gave up four depth options in the trade.
It is sad to see Joe Musgrove go. He offered so much to the Astros out of the bullpen down the stretch and in the playoffs. He sputtered a little in October, but he looked much better in the bullpen versus as a starter. Would guess that the Pirates would move him to the bullpen, but he could be the headliner in the trade.
The other headliner was Colin Moran who was showing signs of breaking out in 2017 before fouling a pitch off his face. He missed most of the rest of the season, getting in a few games in September. The former first-round pick of the Marlins will be playing joining his third organization and has a bright future. There was little room for him on this roster.
The other two players are Michael Feliz and Jason Martin. Feliz showed some potential but was not the most reliable reliever. He is another potential starter for the Pirates should they decide to go that route, but there was not too much room for him here. Martin was a minor leaguer who showed some power and speed potential but looked to be a liability on defense.
With the names that were thrown around in trade talks, the Astros got Cole for not that much. We assumed Fisher would be part of the deal, but for now, it seems like he will be the left fielder this year. He won’t be an everyday type of player but will play a lot. Jake Marisnick and Marwin Gonzalez will also play the outfield. Enjoy the brilliance of Mr. Luhnow who waited patiently for the right deal. While they will miss Joe Musgrove, the rest didn’t fit in the plans for 2018.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***