Astros-Pirates trade for Gerrit Cole 'close'

Gerrit Cole Pirates Astros

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Multiple reports surfaced Wednesday that a deal between Houston and Pittsburgh for Cole was imminent - if not complete - only to later be shot down by Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow to the Houston Chronicle.

NY also has been linked in media reports to free agents Yu Darvish and Alex Cobb. Passan did note that "generally, this sort of thing winds up with a deal being consummated".

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Cole went 12-12 with a 4.26 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 196/55 in 203 innings across 33 starts for the Pirates in 2017.

The Yankees were also considered to be interested in Cole's services but contract talks with the Pirates fell off and never resumed. Cole lost to Jake Arrieta in the 2015 National League wild-card game in one of the more memorable games of the Cubs' three-year playoff run.

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However, the right-handed hurler has slipped some in recent years. He has a 3.50 ERA in 127 career starts. He is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2019 season. It's less clear how badly the Pirates need outfield prospects given the presence of Austin Meadows, Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco.

While the Pirates focus on the future, Houston can turn its attention toward its World Series defense with another formidable pitcher in tow.

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