PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates on Wednesday appeared close to a trade that would have sent Gerrit Cole to the Astros, but an industry source said that no deal is "done" yet.The Astros and Pirates reached an agreement on a trade, according to MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi, but there was no
PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates on Wednesday appeared close to a trade that would have sent Gerrit Cole to the Astros, but an industry source said that no deal is "done" yet.
The Astros and Pirates reached an agreement on a trade, according to MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi, but there was no deal as of Wednesday afternoon. A source told MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, however, that a Cole-to-Houston trade "could still happen."
Multiple reports stated that neither Cole nor agent Scott Boras were informed of a finalized trade. That is typically the last part of the process, or close to it, when the Pirates are working to complete a deal. They prefer to have everything agreed upon and in place before telling a player that he has been traded.
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In this case, it seems there was no need to tell Cole that he's changing teams. He's still a Pirate. For now, anyway.
Cole's future remains a topic of interest as the Pirates consider whether they will contend in 2018 or retool their roster around their young core with an eye on '19 and beyond. The Astros, Yankees and Twins have been linked to the 27-year-old right-hander, who has two years of club control remaining before he is eligible for free agency.
It might make sense for the Pirates to complete a deal before Friday, which is the deadline for clubs to exchange salary figures with their arbitration-eligible players. Cole is arb-eligible for the second time after making $3.75 million last season. He is likely to receive a significant raise this year, and any team interested in acquiring Cole may want to play a part in setting his salary rather than putting it in the Pirates' hands.
Cole was the Astros' top target last summer, a source told MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez, but they pivoted to Justin Verlander when they weren't able to pry Cole from the Pirates. Cole, who finished fourth in the National League Cy Young Award voting in 2015, went 12-12 with a 4.26 ERA in 203 innings over 33 starts last season.
Cole still makes sense for the defending World Series champions, as owner Jim Crane said they are in pursuit of a "high-end" starting pitcher this offseason. Cole would join a loaded rotation that already includes Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers and former Pirate Charlie Morton. With Keuchel and Morton reaching free agency after the 2018 season, Cole also would provide depth for 2019.
Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.