Cole sends heartfelt thanks to Houston fans

October 31st, 2019

, who is a free agent this offseason, posted a tweet on Thursday afternoon thanking the city of Houston for its support over the past two seasons.

Cole was acquired by the Astros from the Pirates in January 2018, and the right-hander helped Houston reach the postseason in each of the past two years, including a run to the World Series that ended in a Game 7 loss to the Nationals on Wednesday night.

"Houston, last night was a tough one for us and the heartbreak hasn't gotten any easier today. Before I became an Astro I didn't know much about Houston, but after just two years you have made it feel like home. ... The Astros organization has been such a pleasure to play for, and the Cranes are indeed special people and great owners. I've met lifelong friends on the team and in the community and learned a little about pitching along the way. ... Thank you for making us better people and better players. This was a great season. We have a lot to be proud of.”

Cole is a front-runner for the American League Cy Young Award after he led the AL with a 2.50 ERA and led the Majors with 326 strikeouts. It was his most dominant season yet, and in the postseason he posted a 1.72 ERA with 47 strikeouts and 11 walks over 36 2/3 innings.

In his two seasons with the Astros, Cole made 65 starts with a 2.68 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP over 412 2/3 innings, striking out 37 percent of the batters he faced.

Entering his age-29 season in 2020, Cole is the premier free agent on the market and may end up setting a new record for the highest overall value and the highest annual average value for a contract awarded to a pitcher.