With their acquisition of Pirates ace (if that’s what he truly is) Gerrit Cole on Saturday, perhaps the Astros announced their intention to trade the long term for the best possible chance to win another World Series within the next two years. Here’s an excerpt of my brief breakdown of the trade:
Given the price the Astros ended up paying to acquire Cole, it’s easier to see why they wanted him so badly. Previous reports indicated that the Pirates would hold out for a higher class of prospect than this. What they actually got, in the end, was Joe Musgrove (an intriguing but no longer promising pitcher crowded out of the picture in Houston), Colin Moran (a corner infielder whose professional track record is mixed, and who was blocked in Houston), Michael Feliz (a hard-throwing righty who (picking it up yet?) had no apparent place in the deep Astros bullpen), and Jason Martin (a toolsy but flawed outfield prospect whom the team left unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft last month). That’s a lot of quantity, but it’s conspicuous for the absence of bigger names, like Francis Martes, Forrest Whitley, Kyle Tucker, and Derek Fisher. This feels like a deal the Astros would have been very happy to make at any time, and one to which the Pirates eventually acceded because they were overeager to be rid of Cole and couldn’t extract the sexier targets in either the Houston or the Yankees system for which they had originally aimed.
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