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Pirates Trade Cole to Astros for Four Players
PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Pirates traded former No. 1 overall pick Gerrit Cole to the Houston Astros Saturday for four players including right-handed relief pitcher Michael Feliz, outfielder Jason Martin, third baseman Colin Moran and right-handed starting pitcher Joe Musgrove.
(Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Pirates)
“Trading Gerrit Cole was not an easy decision. We are very appreciative for what Gerrit has done for our team and organization, especially his important role on the 2013-15 playoff teams,” Pirates Executive Vice President, General Manager Neal Huntington said. “Acquiring these four quality young players, three of whom we project to be an important part of our 2018 team, with many years of potential contribution, is an important step for us as we work toward bringing playoff baseball back to our fans.”
The 24-year-old Feliz averaged 13.13 strikeouts per 9.0 innings pitched (48.0ip/70so) in 2017, while going 4-2 with a 5.63 ERA in 46 relief appearances for Houston. He also averaged 13.15 strikeouts per 9.0 innings pitched in 2016 while producing an 8-1 record and a 4.43 ERA (65.0ip/32er) in 47 relief appearances for the Astros. Feliz’ 13.15 strikeouts per 9.0 innings average in 2016 also established a new Astros club record for a rookie pitcher, surpassing the mark that was previously set by Billy Wagner (11.67) in 1996. Feliz made his Major League debut with Houston in 2015.
“Michael Feliz brings a couple years of Major League experience to our bullpen with the potential for additional development and advancement into a late-inning relief role,” said Huntington. “Michael’s high strikeout approach is supported by a power fastball and a quality slider.”
Last season, the left-handed hitting Martin hit a combined .278 (132-for-474) with 35 doubles, five triples, 18 home runs, 66 RBI, 16 stolen bases, .332 OBP, .487 slugging percentage and .819 OPS in 125 games between High-A Buies Creek and Double-A Corpus Christi. Martin, who is currently rated as Houston’s 15th-best prospect according to MLB.com, was selected by the Astros in the eighth round of the 2013 Draft. The 22-year-old has a career average of .269 with 91 doubles, 30 triples, 50 home runs and 238 RBI in 453 minor league games.
“Jason Martin is a left-handed hitting outfield prospect who can help his team win in multiple ways,” said Huntington. “He has been a productive hitter throughout his minor league career with the ability to get on base and hit for extra bases. He also utilizes his speed well on defense. We are pleased to add him to our system.”
The left-handed hitting Moran went 4-for-11 (.364) with a triple, home run and three RBI in seven games for the Astros this past season while also hitting .308 (93-for-302) with 15 doubles, one triple, 18 home runs and 63 RBI in 79 games with Triple-A Fresno. The 25-year-old was originally selected sixth overall in the 2013 Draft by Miami before being acquired by Houston on July 31, 2014. Entering the 2014 campaign, Moran was rated as one of baseball’s top 100 prospects by multiple media outlets, including MLB.com (#51) and Baseball America (#61).
“Colin Moran joins the Pirates and projects to be a quality left-handed hitting third baseman with developing power,” said Huntington. “Colin is an intelligent, hard-working player who made an adjustment to his swing and approach last season. His adjustments led to increased power production that should play very well at the Major League level, especially at PNC Park.”
Musgrove went 7-8 with two saves, a 4.77 ERA (109.1ip/58er) and 98 strikeouts in 38 appearances (15 starts) with the Astros during the 2017 season. He was rated in Baseball America’s 2016 mid-season rankings as the 32nd-best prospect in all of baseball. Musgrove made his big league debut in 2016, one year after being named Houston’s minor league Pitcher-of-the-Year in 2015 after going 12-1 with a 1.88 ERA (100.2ip/21er), eight walks and 99 strikeouts in the Astros system. The 25-year-old Musgrove also set a Major League record for strikeouts by a reliever in his debut after fanning eight Toronto batters over 4.1 scoreless innings on August 2, 2016.
“Joe Musgrove fits the mold of most successful Major League starting pitchers,” said Huntington. “He is physical, athletic, has a multiple pitch arsenal and aptitude to attack Major League hitters. Joe has a quality fastball that is complimented well by his breaking pitches and changeup. We look forward to helping Joe build upon his success as a leverage bullpen role for a Championship club during his first full season at the big league level last year to become a quality Major League starting pitcher for the Pirates.”
Cole was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft and made his major league debut in 2013 helping the Pirates to three straight National League Wild Card games and the 2013 National League Division series.
In his time in Pittsburgh, he went 59-4w with a 3.50 ERA with 127 starts including going 12-12 in 2017 with a 4.26 ERA. Her struck out 196 in 203 innings but also gave up a career-high 31 home runs.
The corresponding 40-man roster moves are to be announced by the Pirates.
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