Upon further review: Astros give up four players to get Cole


And, so it is to be. Gerrit Cole to the Astros is a reality after all. But the deal is lop-sided, with Houston giving up four players for the right hander.

Was Jeff Luhnow just playing the game by saying nothing is imminent earlier in the week, or did things fall apart and come back together suddenly? This is one of those deals we hope to have a behind-the-scenes back story leak out.

Read the story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. And the story from Jake Kaplan in the Chronicle.

Cole will join Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers Jr. In return, Pittsburgh gets four players: Jason MartinColin Moran, Michael Feliz and Joe Musgrove.

Still, the Astros avoided giving up two future pieces in Kyle Tucker and Forrest Whitley.

With the acquisition of another frontline starter, you should assume that other moves are coming as the depth chart gets deeper and deeper. For now, you have seven starters and 10 relievers on the Astros’ depth chart.

Cole agreed to a contract with the Pirates ($6.75 million) on Friday rather than go to arbitration.

Questions…

  • You may argue against a Keuchel trade (either now or later), but if Cole can bring this type of return, what would Keuchel bring back?
  • Which of the four players traded away will Houston miss in 2018?
  • Which of the four hurts the most in the long run?
  • If more trades are coming, which players are most likely to go?
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51 comments on “Upon further review: Astros give up four players to get Cole

      • That’s a fricken haul! No two ways about it.

        But I’ve been saying it for years now about the fringe players, there’s just No Room in the Inn.

        I’m heartened to know the players I covet are also of huge value. Even Gregerson is the Cardinals closer, while we had him shelved for a good part of 2017.

        No, what it tells me is we’re super stocked for the days ahead….

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Musgrove also cuts the heart out of the Devo, Hoyt trio. I’m sure they’ll all stay tight, but we’re starting to see a few pieces of sacrifice for the greater good?

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  2. Does anybody here know anything about Gerit Cole’s attitude and work ethic? Is he a ‘team player’? Is he a close friend of any of our players?

    I think we will miss Musgrove most, this year and long term.

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  3. I think Uncle Jeff did great. Who doesn’t like Musgrove great kid, Moran was blocked for years and he is getting older, maybe a back up infeilder. Who Knows on Martin , maybe Feliz could be good for Pittsburgh or could be just a average BP guy. Cole in this rotation and only 27. I say wahoo!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. 6:03PM Pirates officially announce trade. Astros front office too busy laughing and high-fiving to issue a statement. Feliz has a great arm but failed to dominate for any long stretch here. Musgrove was great in pen and is still developing. Moran was blocked. Martin looks like a part time player. We may need to replace some bull pen innings, otherwise this looks like a solid trade.

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  5. #1. The chances of these players hurting us will be much less in the NL.
    #2. I liked Moran, but as long as Marwin was around, there was no room for Collin.
    #3.The Astros did not give up any of the players I listed as sure-fire in the previous blog or any of their top 4 young, highly coveted prospects.
    #4. Martin was there for the taking in the rule 5. But we didn’t protect him and noone took him.
    #5. Cole has two years left of control and Keuchel only one. That makes Cole worth more currently.
    #6. I will miss Musgrove, but Morton and Peacock ruled in the playoffs and they will be in the bullpen again if the Astros go to the playoffs again, so that helps with the loss of Musgrove.
    #7. Feliz had value, but not a position in our organization.
    #8. Arbitration played a part in delaying this trade.
    #9. This opens up two more slots on the 40-man roster.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Ok, I don’t know what to think. I like all the guys we gave up, but question whether any would make the 2018 Astros opening roster. I think it’s a great opportunity for Moran and Musgrove. Now what happens? Is McHugh on the block? LMJ to replace Giles?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope McQ is on the block!!
      Love the way you’re thinking LMJ to the pen, not Peacock.
      According to Lidge on MLB, Giles simply lost confidence in his stuff during post season, and that the arsenal is still elite during the regular season to gain that confidence back in 2018. He spoke intelligibly about the Stros also when in the booth.

      There’s still so much to be decided, though, and such a long season that this allows some other pitchers to emerge. I’m more excited about Martes and Paulino (Whitley Bukauskas) than anyone we gave up, so it’s starting to sink in how stacked this stable of horses is.

      And rather than think about Keuchel as a limitation in time, we should all just focus on 2018, because the outcomes during the season will dictate further moves.

      I like Stassi as the primary backup; he deserves a good look.

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  7. Musgrove was really the only proven player traded away. All of those guys may go on and do great things, but what were they really worth to us in the short term? Was Moran going to get a lot of ABs for us? Will our pitching staff be that much worse off without Musgrove and Feliz? This is a good trade, because Cole definitely has value to us and the guys we traded may well have more value to the Pirates than to us.

    I don’t think you can compare this trade to what DK might bring, considering age and contract status of the players.

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    • Musgrove and Feliz especially had some great life on their pitches, and then in lots of cases it just flattened out. Without looking, Feliz had 13/K per 9, and appeared dominating. Then all of a sudden, he’d throw a beach ball. Losing that edge, location and concentration is something that made Strom visibly upset. I’m thinking those are the best reasons we had to part with them. That lack of consistency.

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    • daveb7, reading some of the comments in the Post-Gazette, the names could easily have been replaced with names like Chip, Dave, OP, Becky, Mr. Bill, Dan etc just a few years ago. Similar comments to when the Astros were trading away the elite players for what seemed to be nothing and seemingly writing off the upcoming season.

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    • They got three major league ready players and one prospect in exchange for a former ace who is trending downward. They could have had players with higher ceilings I’m sure, but they got three guys who can help them win now and in years to come due to the years of control remaining. I think they did pretty well.

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  8. To say I’m pi$$ed off is an understatement😠 Musgrove and Feliz hurts *REAL* bad. The LAST time Luhnow overpaid for a pitcher….we got screwed. I hope this dude is worth it.
    Not happy…..at ALL.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This trade is my idea of why we have garage sales. You unload a bunch of junk you have but don’t need, pick up $1000, and go buy one thing that is nice. My preference would have been Archer, but these players for Cole is OK by me.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Trades always hurt because we get attached to these guys, but with the exception ofMusgrove we didn’t really lose anything we needed.
    The 4 for 1 surprised me but hopefully he’s worth it.
    100 mph if he can control it sounds pretty dang impressive.

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  11. So I’m up at my mom’s house incommunicado and the big trade happens.
    I will miss Musgrove the most but they did not give up anything that they MUST have in the next couple years.

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  12. I do hope Morton set a Pirates precedent but I read not too long ago how pitchers going from the NL to the AL did not fare nearly as well as those going AL to NL. I think it’s evident that pitching in the AL is tougher. Cole’s +4.00 NL ERA does concern me but I’m trusting in Luhnow and Strom. I think this trade is also McCullers insurance and even Giles insurance. McCullers and Giles both lack fastball command and for me that makes them unreliable. Peacock could be a dynamite closer with his temperament and stuff. McHugh came back from that injury with a new pitch and looked good. He’s another guy with a steady head. I could still see a trade with the Marlins for Yelich and/or Realmuto with McCullers going back to Florida and taking up the mantle of Jose Fernandez.

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  13. I can’t believe Luhnow was able to acquire Cole without giving up Whitley, Tucker, Martes, Fisher or Alvarez. According to NEIFI projections the Astros are now projected for 103.5 wins and it is the highest pre-season win projection they have ever given out. We all have an emotional attachment to Musgrove, but his ceiling is probably a #3 and it is very unlikely he reaches that ceiling. Moran could be a nice hitter, but we have a much better 3B under control for 5 more years. Needless to say I absolutely LOVE this trade. As JJ Cooper said on Twitter this is the kind of trade that fans propose offering blocked players that have a limited ceiling for one of the best players on the other team. I don’t know how Luhnow pulled this off, but he did and I couldn’t be more excited. I never doubted the process, but I have to admit I never thought it would be THIS good. Wow!

    Liked by 4 people

  14. In truth the four players we sent are worth more to the Pirates than to us.
    The team did not need to make this move, but it shows that they have a good understanding of how to improve with minimal hurt to themselves. This gives them increased flexibility in both the rotation and the bullpen and in stretching into 2019.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Reading around – one theory that makes sense is that they will get Cole to throw more of his best pitch – the slider – rather than so many fastballs.
    It will be interesting to see what happens when he pitches with such a potent lineup behind him.

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  16. Most Pirates fans are unhappy, but a few think it was a fair trade.
    Most Astros fans see this a win for the 2018-2019 team.
    Cole is ecstatic and wasn’t afraid to show it on twitter.
    Even his teammates are ecstatic for him, showing how they feel about their team’s chances to win without spending money.
    The JA Happ trade brought us Musgrove and the Jared Cosart trade brought us Moran.
    Martin was an 8th round pick in 2013 and Feliz was an international free agent signing. Together they were traded for the ace of the Pirates staff for two years. At his age and with his stuff, he appears to me to be a candidate for an extension, if he works out this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. With Colin Moran and Jason Martin’s departure from the Astros prospect list, Jairo Solis flies all the way up into the list at #21 and Ronnie Dawson manages to show up at #30.
    Solis just turned 18 in December, even though he made jumps all the way to Greeneville last season.

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  18. https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-astros-might-be-the-perfect-team-for-gerrit-cole/#more-272725
    Reading the Pirates blog, it appears that the Pirates asked Cole to pitch to contact, much to the dismay of their fans. The Pirates needed more inning out of their starters so they encouraged this philosophy of pitching to contact to avoid high pitch counts and go farther into the game for Cole.
    Apparently it backfired, with Cole giving up a lot of home runs in 2017 in comparison to his prior years.
    This article I linked is interesting in the perspective of what the Astros could try to do with Cole.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We used to be a pitch to contact team, and it got us nowhere. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t we have the highest k/9 ratio in baseball? Cole will thrive here…Luhnow knows what he’s doing.

      Liked by 4 people

    • I just finished reading this article and was going to post it here, but I’m glad you beat me to the punch. This article is a prime example of why I have so much confidence in our front office. I can’t tell you how many salty fans of other teams on Twitter posting about Cole’s ERA last year and that he stinks. This article mentions Collin McHugh and Charlie Morton and how they convinced them to go away from their 4-seamer and rely more on their sliders and curves. McHugh was tossed away and his career looked to be dead until the Astros picked him up. Charlie Morton was seen as a BORP that couldn’t get LHs out. We may have the nerdiest front office baseball, but I say…geek out!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Hey everyone, we’ve been talking about the Astros re-signing Keuchel and how important that might be. Given some of the information we’re hearing over the past few days, I wonder if Morton might not be a better — and less expensive — extension?

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    • Morton indicated he may hang them up after this season, but if he decides he wants to continue pitching, depending on the difference in contracts, I would be very open to bringing him back over Keuchel. Considering he is already contemplating retirement I imagine he would re-sign for a 1-2 year contract.

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    • I am not sure if I shared with all of you here how we met Tony Kemp during Spring Training last year. He was having dinner at a restaurant and his table was on an open balcony. I approached him about taking a photo with my 2 boys and he didn’t even hesitate to oblige. He was so open and kind. I will always be a Tony Kemp fan no matter where he ends up, but I would love to see him stay in Houston.

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  20. As a believer in the grassy knoll, Russians did it, and Hoffa is still alive — that last defensive play looked like a player was “on the take.” Had to have blown it that bad on purpose.

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    • 45, you have taken over the role of Chief Cynic of Blog Operations from me.

      It was a very young thing to do, but indeed, just a big mistake, one far too grand to be labeled a conspiracy. Wait, maybe it was all planned! No one would think he could have screwed up that particular play on purpose!

      Like

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