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 was fourth in National League Cy Young Award voting in 2015.
Finally, Martin is ranked as Houston's no. 15 prospect, according to MLB.com. He'll receive all the benefits of working with a smart organization - although the Pirates are also one of the best in analytics - plus he'll have run support, a shot at postseason glory and the opportunity to use Justin Verlander as a mentor. Houston breezed to the AL West title with 101 wins, and went on beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7 of the World Series. In 33 starts in 2017, he was 12-12 with a 4.26 ERA. This time, several sources have confirmed that the Pirates have indeed dealt Cole to the reigning world champion Astros. He was highly sought out this winter by multiple teams - most notably the New York Yankees.
Chris Archer, Michael Fulmer, Matt Harvey and other prominent starters have had their names tossed around in recent swap speculation. It was also the first season in which he was able to pitch 200+ innings, a feat he has accomplished twice in his career.
Cole had signed a one-year extension with Pittsburgh on Friday for $6.75 million.
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Ahmad has been practicing with the team while sitting out, and he should be well-adjusted when he returns to the floor. However, Smith has been slowed by a foot injury that kept him out of Tuesday night's Oklahoma game, a Red Raider loss.
2015 was Cole's best year to date, with sterling marks in almost every metric one chooses to judge pitching. So to recap.... after long weeks of agonizing rumors, Gerrit Cole is a Pirate no more. He went 3-for-11 in minimal major league action.
The pressing question for the Astros, though, is what version of Cole they're going to get.
Cole, 27, can be a free agent after the 2019 season. Musgrove, 25, is another former first-rounder, but he's been unexceptional as a swingman; last season, he was ripped for a 4.77 ERA in 109 1/3 innings, mostly out of the bullpen, with 18 home runs allowed in that span.