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.
Tim Brown, a writer for Yahoo Sports, reported that Cole was dealt to the Houston Astros for two players Saturday. In 2017, meanwhile, he stayed healthy but was a mess on the mound, lit up to the tune of a 4.26 ERA and a full-season worst 101 ERA+. Musgrove started 15 games last season and could join Pittsburgh's rotation in 2018. He holds a career ERA of 3.50 through 5 Major League Baseball seasons. With Cole, they have insurance when Keuchel and Morton hit free agency after the season. Compare that to his fastball:.263 batting average against, .453 slugging percentage, and 12 home runs. Over the past two years, he's played in a total of 16 games with the Astros. The Astros were able to acquire Justin Verlander last season minutes before the trade deadline passed. However, it now seems Freese and Moran will compete to break camp as the starting third baseman this year. In the end, Cole will in fact be joining the reigning World Champion Astros' rotation. He's a giant, hard-throwing right-hander who posted an ugly 5.63 ERA in 48 bullpen innings in 2017. He's also surrendered 18 home runs, however, and been more hittable than you'd expect given that strikeout rate. He compensated by turning more to his changeup, doubling his use of it, but he may be better off going more to his slider, against which batters hit just.229 with a.379 slugging percentage. He's interesting, but may project as a fourth outfielder, lacking the range to stick in center, but also lacking the arm strength you want in right. I'm not high on Moran, but maybe 2017 was a turning point.More news: Mazda to build $1.6B production facility in Alabama
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Cole burst onto the scene in 2013, and proved to be a driving force on the team that finally broke the 20-year long losing streak.
Musgrove, Moran and Feliz likely will open the season with the Pirates.