UPGRADE: Astros reportedly dip into the major trade category to get Cole

Note to all American League contenders, pretenders, challengers, wannabe aspirers and would-be competitors and opposers: Jeff Luhnow and Jim Crane mean business. Serious business!

Gerrit Cole to the Astros would mean the best rotation in baseball would become the best rotation in the universe. Forget Roy Oswalt, Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens.

Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Cole, Lance McCullers Jr. and Charlie Morton will make any competitor or wouldbe, wannabe, wishtobe team take a hard look in the mirror.

Of course, the caveat is that the message of a Cole acquisition is more of a message to Keuchel and Scott Boras than it is to the rest of the league. Acquiring Cole may only allow for a stronger negotiation with the long-time Astro or signal that the team has given up in its potential negotiations on a long-term deal.

Moreover, perhaps a bigger question: If Keuchel and Cole are both in the above aforementioned rotation, What. Just. Happened?! And what does it mean for Brad Peacock, Morton, Collin McHugh Francis Martes and others on the ever-so-growing Astros’ depth chart?

The biggest — and perhaps most telling — question however, could be what the Astros had to give up to add Cole.

Cole will not blow up the budget that is already sky-rocketing. He’s estimated to earn approximately $7.5 million in 2018 and will have one more arbitration year in 2019.

Here’s a quick status update for each pitcher in the rotation mix for 2018. With a rising payroll, it would seem imperative the Astros would want to hang onto as many under-team-control players as possible.

  • Verlander. Signed through 2019, free agent in 2020.
  • Keuchel. Final arbitration year in 2018. Could become free agent after this season.
  • Morton. Final year of two-year deal. $7 million in 2018. Could become free agent after this season.
  • McHugh. Under team control through 2019. Could become free agent in 2020.
  • McCullers. Under team control through 2021. Could become free agent in 2022.
  • Peacock. Under team control through 2020. Could become free agent in 2021.



50 comments on “UPGRADE: Astros reportedly dip into the major trade category to get Cole

  1. Well in this world where a tweet is a report – it has been reported that the deal is not complete in contradiction to the previous report (tweet).
    So if it does happen it will mean the team is going for the jugular, if……they don’t send Keuchel packing for prospects before the season begins.


    • Passan’s tweet concludes with: “…Generally, this sort of thing winds up with a deal being consummated. Just not at this point.” Possibly meaning he has to be notified and the rest of the t’s need to be crossed. Hopefully, the deal isn’t at the expense of major Astros’ prospects.


      • Yeah
        Now on mlbtraderumors.com Jeff Luhnow is quoted as saying no trade is imminent. This is goofy when the original report said a deal was agreed to
        I would think they would try to put together a package of higher end prospects and guys who have played some major league ball w/o Tucker and especially Whitley. Maybe Fisher, Moran, Martes or Feliz.


      • Dan, I don’t think Luhnow can say anything formally/officially/publicly. There are certain protocols that must happen before a deal is announced or completed. For example, Cole has yet to be informed of the deal (though I’m guessing he’s aware NOW!).

        Also, filing date for arbitration cases is Friday. Word is the Astros want the trade to be consummated before then so they can submit their own numbers rather than be stuck with the Pirates’ numbers.

        We’ll see, but my guess is that the deal is finalized ultimately.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. One of the tweets from the Chronicle website said something about wishing “Jake and Joe” best of luck as they “move on from the Astros”. So I take it it’s stating that Jake Marisnick and Joe Musgrove were traded for Cole?


  3. All this talk of adding Gerrit Cole to the livery stable makes me think of two old Western movies:

    1. Pat Gerrit [okay, I know it was Garrett] and Billy the Kid; Gerrit/Garrett’s famous line was “Why don’t you take your money, shove it up your ___, and set fire to it? ”
    2. El Dorado [John Wayne played Cole Thornton]. Cole’s famous quote when seeing J.P. Harrah [Robert Mitchum’s character] was: “I’m lookin’ at a tin star with a… drunk pinned on it. “


  4. Just yesterday some Yanks outlets reported that HOU wasn’t serious, and NY was a shoe-in.

    I’m warming to the Keuchel sent packing for prospects, only because I’ve wondered whether he truly wants to be here. But Dan’s the first I’ve read that in print lately – even though we already discussed at length, and I was firmly in the Don’t Trade Keuchel camp. It also would mean we have zero lefty pitching, and we’re letting a warrior who coaxed his replacement (Verlander, in effect) to come play here.

    It could also mean we’ve evaluated what we have in-house pretty thoroughly, and taking a queue from NY replacing McCann 3.2 WAR with Sanchez’ 4.1 is exactly what sabermetric organizations do: upgrade.

    The reason I think this is such a Keuchel correlative is that I was under the impression we had plenty of depth. It’s looking more like the fringier pitchers aren’t quite the standard anymore.


  5. Wow, this is turning into a Jeff Passan-Jon Morosi, he said/she said deal. Morosi says it’s imminent, Passan says it’s a “false rumor”. Oh, for a peek behind the veil on these conversations!


  6. News flashes….
    – In the final resolution to the Jennifer Anniston, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt love triangle (according to anonymous sources close to the celebs) Jolie and Anniston are now a couple – from here out known as Jengelina. Brad is free to build his own geometric shape with someone else.
    – In response to the length of baseball games, Commissioner Rob Manfred (according to anonymous sources close to the MLB offices) will install a version of the ED-209 from the Robo Cop movies at every game. After 10 seconds have elapsed from the pitcher getting the ball from the catcher, the ED-209 will begin firing on either the pitcher or the hitter depending on who is not ready at that time, if a pitch has not been thrown.
    – In a surprise decision (confirmed by anonymous sources close to the Governor’s office) the State of Texas will attempt to stem the tide of gambling money flowing to Louisiana by extending the immigration wall to the eastern border with the Pelican State.
    – It has been confirmed (according to sources close to the two bloggers) that Chip and Dan will officially change Dan’s name to Dale and dare the Disney Corporation to sue them for stealing their chipmunk’s identities. Disney, the Chippendale Dancers and Ethan Allen makers of Chippendale furniture refused to comment on this report.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Considering Cole’s trade to NY was imminent, and now Cole’s trade to Houston is imminent, the leak must be in Pittsburg.
    I think that is why Luhnow came out with the denial. He wanted to make sure that everyone knew this is just talk, not fact.
    There may be something in the works, but it’s just in the works. The Astros have a full roster so everything has to be done properly and in the correct order.
    I think somebody in the Pirate camp is muddying the waters.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Stuff Pirates say:

    “Me? I’m dishonest, and a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly. It’s the honest ones you want to watch out for, because you can never predict when they’re going to do something incredibly… stupid.”
    – [Captain] Jack Sparrow

    ” What arrrgh ya doin’?”
    – Captain Barbosa

    “This is either madness… or brilliance . . . . It’s remarkable how often those two traits coincide”
    – Will Turner and [Captain] Jack Sparrow

    “Take what ye can . . . give nothin’ back!”
    – [Captain] Jack Sparrow and Mr. Gibbs

    “If you were waiting for the opportune moment, that was it.”
    – [Captain] Jack Sparrow

    “Why is the rum gone?”
    – [Captain] Jack Sparrow

    “I leave you people alone for just a minute and look what happens, everything’s gone to pot! ”
    – [Captain] Jack Sparrow

    Liked by 1 person

  9. More stuff pirates say:

    “Would you like an adventure now . . .or would you like to have your tea first?”
    -Peter Pan

    “Smee, you are a supreme idjit!”
    – Captain Hook [a/k/a Dustin Hoffman]

    “Sorry? No, no, sorry doesn’t cut it. You left me standing at the ALTAR! ”
    – Benjamina Gunn [a/k/a Miss Piggy]

    “Aw, hell, Jim. I could never harm you. You’re honest and brave and true. You didn’t learn that from me. ”
    – Long John Silver [a/k/a Tim Curry]

    “I’ve got . . . the FEVER!” “I’ve got it TOO!”
    – Shipmates, Muppet Treasure Island

    “Well, well, a codfish on a hook. ”
    – Peter Pan

    “Oh, Mother, we’re back – all except the lost boys. They were not quite ready.”
    -Wendy Darling

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I stuck this on the end of the weird stats thread just before this thread went online and got crazy:

    “Looking like the Gerrit Cole stove is heating up. I think it would be a nice acquisition but have some concern about pitchers coming into the American League from the National. I remember seeing something about that transition not working well for the majority of pitchers changing leagues National to American while American league pitchers generally fared better in the National League. Cole’s +4.00 NL ERA makes me a little nervous.
    If we do land Cole who is odd man out in the rotation? I’m still not a big fan of McCullers and his lack of durability and fastball command. How about packaging McCullers for Yelich? OTOH, I would be intrigued by the prospect of looking at Peacock as a closer. I think his temperament is steadier than Giles and his command has gotten better as the season wore on.”


    • Doc, I’m just trying to be a realist here. If you go trading a bunch of prospects for Cole and Yelich, will we ever have the pitchers in our system to replace Keuchel and Morton next offseason, McHugh, Verlander, Cole and Peacock the following offseason?
      I’m fine with trading for Cole as long as it doesn’t cost us Whitley or Tucker.
      But I’d rather have Cargo and not lose any more young pitchers and maybe have someone on the farm to replace a couple of those starters we are going to lose from our rotation in the next two years.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Darvish said tonight he has narrowed his choices of teams to six, including Houston. Could this have held up the trade for Cole?
    Did Pittsburgh try to get the Astros to take another player in addition to Cole?
    Did Cargo make a call and the Astros are trying to figure it all out?
    Did the Pirates want guys in return who aren’t on the 40-man roster and the Astros didn’t want to just release someone to get Cole on the roster.
    Have the Pirates made Cole an offer in arbitration that the Astros don’t want to live with?
    I think we’ll find out what we need to know pretty soon.


  12. Call me an old fool, but if what we have today as “news ” is now considered “news ” – then where did “over the backyard fence gossip” go?

    The President has mental health issues, a Pirate is- is not an Astro, Russians stole/rigged everything, this is the Coldest Winter since global warming began. Why wait to report facts, just make something up 😜

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Luhnow will trade for another pitcher…..who will that be?? Pull a name out of the hat. Darvish won’t be in an Astros uniform. Take that to the bank.
    And, no Luhnow isn’t going to give up Tucker or Whitley. *Chris Archer*!!!


    • Palavering…what most politicians do. Maybe another word for purely unadulterated BS. I guess the pundits have nothing better to do at this time of year. Like 1OP, I’d rather have another bat (Cargo) than a pitcher at this point. If we need one mid season, then I can go with that. Otherwise I like our team as it is. Change for change’s sake is not always the best path to take. I like our pitching core and I sure don’t want to give up any top notch prospects (Whitley, Tucker). If we do want to trade people use those that are blocked by others we have in place for the next few years.


  14. For the record, I was against the suggestion of doing two trades, going after Cole AND Yelich
    I was OK going after Cole with a trade involving players other than our top 2 prospects.
    What I suggested was going after Cole and Cargo because Cargo would only cost money and, if Fisher was included in the Cole trade, the door would be wide open for Tucker to move into the outfield in a couple of years without being blocked by Fisher on the roster, thus forcing the Astros to make a roster move down the line that they didn’t want to make.


  15. Just think, a little over 24 hours ago Gerit Cole was our projected #3 starter!

    If the F.O. really thinks they can turn him back into the ace he was in 2015, I would be good with a trade, unless Whitley was involved. But I’d personally rather see us trade whoever we’d consider trading for Cole to Miami, and Miami’s choice of our blocked guys [Moran, Davis, Kemp, Reed] for Yelich and Realmuto.


    • Mr. Bill, that sounds pretty good, but I think the reality is that other clubs are not all that excited about Moran, Davis, Kemp, Reed, White, etc.

      My take is that I don’t think we need the starter. I agree with Mr. (I think) Z in that we can always deal with the need for a starter come the deadline, if there is one.

      Now on the left field front, I’d be okay going to war with Fisher and Jake out there, but I’d also be pleased with an upgrade. Cargo does not thrill me, but I think he’d still be an upgrade. Yelich is the guy who remains on the top of my list. And I still think I’d give up Tucker. He’s a prospect. Is he an automatic? Many think yes. There is no guarantee though. I know there is the issue of who plays the outfield going forward, with the loss of Springer a real possibility, but Yelich is a guaranteed commodity right now for 2018. Okay, beat me up now.


  16. I am fine trading for Cole and I understand it will hurt in some fashion, but I still believe in Francis Martes and I think he may end up being just as good as Cole is now. He just needs to develop. The kid is only 21 and has over-powering stuff with a nasty curveball. I definitely don’t want to trade Whitley, but I would hate to lose Martes as well, but there will always be a price to pay when you are in ‘win now’ mode so I get it.


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