ibusinesslines.com December 16, 2018

Heyman | Astros acquire Gerrit Cole from Pirates

14 January 2018, 08:16 | Charlene Valdez

Heyman | Astros acquire Gerrit Cole from Pirates

Heyman | Astros acquire Gerrit Cole from Pirates

The headliners of the package going back to Pittsburgh are RHP Joe Musgrove, RHP Michael Feliz and 3B Colin Moran.

The move places Cole in the middle of an already strong pitching staff in Houston, which features future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander, 2015 Cy Young Award victor Dallas Keuchel, World Series Game 7 hero Charlie Morton, Lance McCullers Jr., Brad Peacock and Collin McHugh. Cole, Ivan Nova, David Freese and Francisco Cervelli are under team control through 2019.

The defending World Series champion Houston Astros just got better.

Prospect Jason Martin is also heading to Pittsburgh.

Cole, the former No. 1 overall pick out of UCLA in 2011, is married to Brandon Crawford's sister Amy. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow thinks pitching coach Brent Strom can help Cole recapture that form. If the Pirates are able to transform him back into the pitcher that had a 1.88 and 2.74 ERA in 2015 and 2016, he could be a solid fourth or fifth starter. With Dallas Keuchel hitting free agency after the 2018 season, Astros owner Jim Crane made no secrets that the team would seek out starting pitchers this winter.

Cole tied for the NL lead with 33 starts, was third in innings (203) and 10th in strikeouts (196). He was 19-8, with a 2.60 ERA that season.

Cole is in his second year of arbitration eligibility, and players and management are set to swap salary figures Friday.

Since the final day of August, the Astros have traded seven players, five of them minor-leaguers, to acquire Verlander, who won four games last postseason, and Cole.

Moran, 25, had strong numbers at Triple-A last season but that came in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League.How his 18 homers in 338 at-bats will translate to the major leagues remains to be seen.

Musgrove could take over Cole's spot in the rotation.

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