Astros bolster rotation by landing Pirates ace Gerrit Cole

Pirates deal Gerrit Cole to Astros for four players, including pitcher Joe Musgrove

The Houston Astros will be the team receiving Cole, and will be sending four players to Pittsburgh, right-hander Joe Musgrove, third baseman Colin Moran, right-hander Michael Feliz and outfielder Jason Martin. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports said the deal was for two years and $16.75 million. It was the highest ERA of his four-year career, and Cole went 19-8 with a 2.60 ERA en route to becoming an All-Star in 2015.

The World Series champion Astros add Cole, the former 19-game victor, to a rotation already armed with Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers Jr. and Charlie Morton. He has a 3.50 ERA with 749 hits allowed and 734 strikeouts in 782.1 innings in five seasons.

Moran, 25, is a natural third baseman who also can play first base and shortstop.

So, the Pirates chose to listen to trade offers from various teams, including the Yankees, but the Astros, who tried to acquire Cole at the trade deadline this past season, gained traction in talks over the past week.

As we move into the post-Cole Era, the Pittsburgh Pirates are now just 31 days away from their first workout of Spring Training at Pirate City.

Cole, 27, is in his second year of arbitration eligibility.

The trade came one day after the Pirates and Cole agreed to a one-year contract to avoid salary arbitration. He went 3-for-11 in minimal major league action. The Astros had the 11th-best team ERA in 2017. The most attractive thing about Feliz is his strikeouts per nine innings, which was 13.13 in 2017.

Cole probably is only the first domino to fall for the Pirates, who have triggered another roster retooling phase.

Moran was drafted with the sixth overall pick in 2013 by the Miami Marlins.

This also indicates the Pirates are indeed going to retool for 2018, with Josh Harrison and Andrew McCutchen the next to go.

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