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Podcast: Analyzing the Pirates' return for Cole, McCutchen

MLB.com

The following is an excerpt from this week's Pipeline Podcast, in which Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis talk to Tim McMaster about the Pirates' recent trades and the unveiling of the Top 10 prospect lists for right-handed pitchers, left-handed pitchers and catchers. To listen to the show in its entirety, go to the MLB Pipeline Podcast page.

Tim McMaster: Let's start with the trades, and we'll start with the Gerrit Cole trade. That one happened first, guys. The Pirates get Joe Musgrove, Colin Moran, Michael Feliz, and Jason Martin as Gerrit Cole heads to Houston and certainly solidifies what was already a really good rotation. But for the Pirates, it's a really good mix, I think. Let's start with Joe Musgrove because in Musgrove you have a guy who already pitched not only in the Majors, but has already pitched in the postseason, Jonathan.

The following is an excerpt from this week's Pipeline Podcast, in which Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis talk to Tim McMaster about the Pirates' recent trades and the unveiling of the Top 10 prospect lists for right-handed pitchers, left-handed pitchers and catchers. To listen to the show in its entirety, go to the MLB Pipeline Podcast page.

Tim McMaster: Let's start with the trades, and we'll start with the Gerrit Cole trade. That one happened first, guys. The Pirates get Joe Musgrove, Colin Moran, Michael Feliz, and Jason Martin as Gerrit Cole heads to Houston and certainly solidifies what was already a really good rotation. But for the Pirates, it's a really good mix, I think. Let's start with Joe Musgrove because in Musgrove you have a guy who already pitched not only in the Majors, but has already pitched in the postseason, Jonathan.

Jonathan Mayo: Yeah, I mean the World Series. It's not often you get a guy who is that young, I guess he's now 25, but to have a World Series ring. Now, he did most of that work as a reliever as he sort of moved. He had a little trouble establishing himself as a starter with the Astros, not that they have a long leash there because they were competing. But he's going to move into the rotation now. I mean this is a guy who was a Top 100 guy not that long ago. So to get the chance to see what he might be able to do in a starting role over the course of a long season is kind of exciting.

McMaster: Jim, thoughts on Musgrove, and if you want to go forward with that, Colin Moran is an interesting guy too. He's No. 5 now as far as prospect ranking goes for the Pirates. He's a guy that has been on the radar for a long time. It seems like he's finally going to get a real shot in Pittsburgh.

Jim Callis: Yeah, you know it's an interesting trade, and one I'm sure we'll circle back to at the end of this discussion after we talk about the players. Was it a good trade? Could they have done better? You heard Yankees rumors. And I really think this trade could go either way because if these players -- I should say if they all hit their ceilings because the odds that you're going to get four guys to hit their ceilings, those are pretty long. But I mean it's pretty interesting. Without belaboring Musgrove, this guy was one of the best command starters in the Minors before he got up to Houston. And he got knocked around in the rotation but he was really effective as a reliever. So even if he doesn't make it as a starter in Pittsburgh, he could still have some value. With Moran, I feel like every time I've got him figured out, it changes. I mean this guy was the No. 6 overall pick in 2013. I still think that if the Astros had taken Mark Appel in 2012 like they wanted to, but he wasn't signable, they couldn't get a commitment on what it would take to sign him, if Appel was off the board -- because they took him No. 1 overall in 2013 -- they would have taken Colin Moran No. 1 overall over Kris Bryant, over Jon Gray. He was a safe bet to hit. There was no way this guy wasn't going to hit. And then he got into pro ball, and he didn't hit very much for a while. He was originally drafted by the Marlins, he got traded a year later for Jarred Cosart, and he did hit some for average, but not for power. He didn't show much defensively. Frankly, Jonathan, you probably heard some of this too, his body language turned off a lot of scouts. I mean, he did not have a lot of love in the scouting community for a guy who was the No. 6 overall pick in the Draft. Then he had a really rough 2016, and it looked like he was going nowhere, and then last year he made some adjustments to his swing to try and hit more balls in the air, and he had the best year of his career and got up to the big leagues briefly.