The Houston Astros reached an agreement to acquire right-hander Gerrit Cole from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for right-handers Joe Musgrove and Michael Feliz, infielder Colin Moran and minor-league outfielder Jason Martin, sources said Saturday.
The World Series champion Astros add Cole, the former 19-game winner, to a rotation already armed with Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers Jr. and Charlie Morton. The Pirates begin their rebuild after missing the playoffs in consecutive seasons, a strategy that might also lead them to trade longtime outfielder Andrew McCutchen and Josh Harrison, among others.
Cole, 27, can be a free agent after the 2019 season. He will make $6.75 million in 2018. The one-time All-Star was 12-12 with a 4.26 ERA last season. In his career, he is 59-42 with a 3.50 ERA.
In seeking further depth for the rotation, the Astros skirted a free-agent market featuring the likes of Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta.
Musgrove, 25, was 7-8 with a 4.77 ERA in 38 appearances, 15 of them starts, last season for the Astros. Feliz, a 25-year-old reliever, struck out 165 batters in 113 innings over the past two seasons. He also had a 4.94 ERA. Moran, 25, batted .301 with 18 home runs in 82 minor-league games, and was four for 11 over seven games with the big club. Martin, 22, played all three outfield positions and batted .278 with 18 home runs in Class A and Double-A.
Since the final day of August, the Astros have traded seven players, five of them minor-leaguers, to acquire Verlander, who won four games last postseason, and Cole.
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