Pittsburgh Pirates Trade Gerrit Cole To The Houston Astros

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 08: Gerrit Cole
PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 08: Gerrit Cole /

After a long offseason of rumors, the Pittsburgh Pirates have traded Gerrit Cole to the Houston Astros.  The former first overall pick spent six and a half seasons in the Pirates organization.

Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports has reported the Pittsburgh Pirates have traded Gerrit Cole to the Houston Astros.

Gerrit Cole made his debut June 11, 2013 against the San Francisco Giants, and since that date he ranks 14th in all of baseball in FIP among pitcher with 500 or more innings pitched.  His final Pirates line shows a career 3.50 ERA and 3.27 FIP (ERA- of 90 and FIP- of 83) in 782.1 innings.

Cole, in his rookie season of 2013, started the game on September 3rd against the Milwaukee Brewers, with the Pirates ultimately winning 4-3 and winning their 81st game of the season.  He also took the ball against the Texas Rangers on September 9th when the Pirates won their 82nd game of the season.  He was entrusted with starting game five of the 2013 NLDS along with the 2015 Wild Card game.  Cole pitched in a lot of big moments and games for the Pirates, and he certainly will be missed.

On the other end of the trade, the Pirates have acquired Colin Moran, Joe Musgrove, Michael Feliz, and Jason Martin.  MLB Pipeline ranks Moran as the Astros fifth best prospect, giving the third baseman a 50 grade overall and a 55 hit tool and 45 power.  Martin, an outfielder, is ranked number 15 by MLB Pipeline with a 45 grade overall.  Moran ranks ninth on Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus, and Martin is not on either lists top 10.

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Musgrove, who started the 2016 Futures Game, has a career 4.52 ERA (108 ERA-) and 4.31 FIP (100 FIP-) in 171.1 innings across 25 starts and 49 games.  Feliz, a reliever, throws 96 miles per hour and has struck out 32.7 percent of hitters.  However, in his 98 games across three years he has walked 9.1 percent of hitters and has a 5.13 ERA and 3.67 FIP.

For 2018, STEAMER projects Musgrove for a 3.63 ERA and 3.60 FIP, but that’s because he would have been coming out of the bullpen in Houston, so those projections should get worse.  Moran projects at a .304 wOBA and 91 wRC+.  Feliz a 3.75 ERA and FIP, and Martin hasn’t hit AAA yet.  Three of the four players will contribute to the big league club, but based off their projections the impact of an average third baseman, a low-end relief pitcher, and a very backend starter seems low.  At the time of the trade, it looks like Jeff Lunhow and the Houston Astros have created the best rotation in baseball, and the Pirates have slightly upgraded at a position of need at third, gotten worse in the rotation, and added a bullpen arm.

*Numbers from fangraphs