Pirates trade pitcher Gerrit Cole to Astros

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Pirates trade pitcher Gerrit Cole to Astros

It has been a historically slow offseason for most Major League Baseball teams and free agents, but the Houston Astros quickly pulled together a trade for Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole.

Despite Morosi's report, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported that "multiple sources are cautioning" that a deal wasn't done yet. This is not a one-year rental, and Houston landed a proven arm who is just 27 years old.

Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole delivers a pitch during the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals on September 23, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He didn't flinch under the pressure and posted a 2.45 ERA in those contests. He finished with a career-worst 4.26 ERA in 2017 and career-worst 1.44 WHIP in 2016. Darvish is the free agent starter Houston has been mentioned alongside the most, and there are only so many "high-end" pitchers on the free agent market. It's less clear how badly the Pirates need outfield prospects given the presence of Austin Meadows, Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco.

Acquiring Cole would bolster the Astros' already stellar starting rotation, as Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers Jr. and Charlie Morton all are under contract for the defending World Series champions in 2018.

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