Astros and Pirates Have Discussed a Possible Gerrit Cole Trade

According to Jeff Passan, a new team has entered the Gerrit Cole trade talks, which have been fairly quiet recently. Passan says that the Houston Astros and Pittsburgh Pirates have talked about a possible deal.

As the tweet from Passan says, outfielder Derek Fisher is a name that has been mentioned, although it doesn’t say exactly who mentioned it, so it just appears to be speculation at this point. Passan feels that he wouldn’t be enough to be a centerpiece in any deal. The 24-year-old Fisher made his big league debut in 2017, hitting .212/.307/.356 in 53 games.

To add on to this rumor, Jim Crane, who owns the Astros, told media today that they are actively pursuing a top-end starting pitcher and that could come from a trade or a free agent signing. As usual, stay tuned for any possible updates.

UPDATE 4:50 PM: Jon Morosi confirms the rumors and adds some details…

UPDATE: Tuesday 1:00 PM: For what it’s worth, the NY Daily News believes that Cole going to the Yankees is inevitable, despite Astros showing interest. Here’s the link, which includes the reasoning behind that thought.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    January 10, 2018 10:34 pm

    Regardless of which team Cole gets traded to, if the return does not include at least two of the other team’s top 5 prospects, its a mistake. If they can’t get that, hold onto him. If he has a great or at least very good first half of the season in 2018, he will command a much higher return at trade deadline…prices for pitching always are inflated at deadline…..

  • Need a new thread! MLBTR/Morosi says deal is imminent.

  • Trade him already. MLB players must have nightmares about being a pirate. El Cheepo will soon have a payroll of $60mil.

    • Yeah. You are Totally lost on what a Cole trade really is. Keep with the narrative though.

  • Why is his Arb case being so closely watched? He’s projected to make $7.5 million. Probably not much more or less either way. Teams should already know this. Say he gets $8.5 instead of $7.5 is a million really going to make a difference? Especially to a contender? I understand Yankees luxury tax threshold situation but still.

    At any rate I think we could expect to see if a Cole trade would happen, it will happen after Friday if the Arb number really is that important to the acquiring team.

  • honestly, if they could get whitley and fisher, i’m probably satisfied with that. Whitley is the injection of potential stardom that they need from such a trade (which is the most important thing), and Fisher seems a pretty safe bet to be a decent guy on the strong side of a platoon (his splits vs righties are outstanding).

    • Here’s one for you…Kyle Tucker or Clint Frazier?

      After that, who’s your favorite “secondary piece”?

      • Ahhh that’s fun. Without doing a ton of thought, give me the 20 yr old who “only” k’d 20% of the time in AA. I am also starting to realize that i have a bias toward lefties. I have no knowledge of Tucker’s defense, but forgive me for assuming that it’s better than Frazier’s.

        I don’t have an issue with frazier as much as i have an issue with him being the *best* prospect in a deal for cole. To me, he seems like a safe 2-3 WAR player where guys like Whitley and Tucker seem to still have some more potential to become… 4-5 WAR guys. Which i think should be the goal in dealing Cole.

        I think Tucker is plenty good enough to be the best prospect in a deal for cole.

        i’m not entirely sure what you mean by my favorite secondary piece.

        I’d like Fisher as a secondary piece, but getting *both* him and Tucker might be OF overload. Then again, who cares about OF overload.

        I’m comfortable with my Whitley and Fisher suggestion

        Like Luplow, Fisher kinda seems like the (lefty) still-decent store brand version of Frazier. at least that’s how my strange brain sees them.

        • Coincidentally, Frazier *also* struck out just 22% of the time as a 20 yo in AA, and the two players posted the exact same wRC+! They also happen to grade out the same as defenders, with Frazier considered more toolsy but Tucker showing better instincts!

          I’m with you, if not for different reasons. Tucker actually seems like the safer bet, as he has less swing and miss plus more patience. But the knock on him is that he can be *overly* passive, which may not allow the power tool in particular to player at the highest level. Frazier is just more athletic and aggressive all around, but may never harness said tools into game action.

          I’m personally not sold on Tucker, but my reading of the analyst tea leaves seems to show him as the better prospect of the two so I’ll defer to that.

          And yes, by secondary piece I meant the lesser prospect(s) to be included in the trade. Whiteley seems to be a top 2 or 3 pitcher in the entire game and was off limits last summer already, so unfortunately it would seem he’s irrelevant to the conversation, but I could see you preferring Fisher to Yankee secondary prospects such as Andujar.

          • i’d assume that Whitley has a lower trade value than Tucker, but who the heck knows. And if the Pirates aren’t getting a potential star, ranked in the top 30 or so for Cole, i’d rather them just keep Cole, and figure out how to win *with* him.

    • Was Whitley the guy who hustled Paul Newman in “Color of Money?”

  • LLOYD says JJ Matijevic as an additional piece.
    #18 prospect from Norwin HS that hammered the ball at Arizona U and in the Cape Cod League.
    1. Tucker or Whitley
    2. Moran
    3. Matijevic
    4. Another top 25 prospect

    • While I liked JJ at UA, he’s always had a lot of swing and miss in his game, and his debut in pro ball exposed it quite a bit. I agree he’d be a decent throw-in, and the deal you lay out is pretty decent value for Cole, I’m iffy on him as a prospect.

    • Robert Reznik
      January 9, 2018 12:30 am

      All 4 for two years of Cole seems a bit steep. Honestly If push cam to shove and it was our only offer I’d do just tucker or whitely

  • neal if houston offers you something close pull the trigger, you know there out of the sp free agents to much money and to many yrs. maybe they will take cutch? Who is there left fielder? not going to get tucker but fisher and whitley and some single A lottery tickets for cole and cutch.

  • This may also encourage the Yankees to sweeten the pot when they realize they could be facing Cole in the playoffs.

  • Passan also said his sources said that Yankees acquisition for Cole was a question of when, not if. He’s guessing. As he normally does.

  • It is now 37 days until spring training starts. There have been no trades and no free agent signings except for minor league ones. In past off seasons or even earlier this winter I would have gotten excited over the possibility of the Astros minor leaguers prospects. But now I will wait until something happens. Disappointed in this off season.

  • Ok. Its a daily rumor now. Heard Tomlin called to see if Cole for Big Ben possible?

    • rickmontgomery
      January 8, 2018 8:27 pm

      The Steelers may have to sweeten that offer. Heard the Pens are dangling Malkin and a couple decent minor league defensemen.

  • Now things are getting interesting. Contenders in need of a relatively inexpensive and durable No. 2/3 starter are going to have to pay the going rate for someone with Cole’s upside. He’s durable and has proven he can handle the heat of a pennant race.

  • Is Gerrit Cole a high end SP or just a slightly above average pitcher with a career year thrown in?

    ERA+ (100 is an average SP)


    Compare him to Lance Lynn, who is getting no love in FA.

    • Slightly..

    • Yes

      • Yes, slightly above average or high end? If high end, what do you base it on?

        • Just a wiseguy answer to an “or” question.
          I think he is a better pitcher than his numbers indicate due to his durability and high end “stuff”. As far as trade value, I think he is definitely viewed as a high end starter and the rumors seem to confirm this.

          • That last sentence may be the most important. Beauty IS in the eye of the beholder. 🙂

          • Rumors prove nothing, they are as proven to be fodder for fans. The deals that get done do not have rumors flying all over the place.

        • Since his debut
          (try Fangraphs SP leaderboard 2013-2017)
          Gerrit Cole is:

          21st in SP fWAR at 15.9
          36th in ERA at 3.50
          30th in strikeouts at 734
          18th in FIP at 3.27
          28th in xFIP at 3.47
          and since some Yankees fans are bound to love old stats: he’s #20th in SP Wins at 59!
          For advanced Yankees fans he’s
          22nd in FIP- at 83#28 in SIERA at 3.60
          29th in k/bb% at 16.5%

          • My point is: Throw out that 2015 season, which appears to be an outlier. He really drops down, if you do that.

            • But you can’t throw out the 2015 season. The 2015 season happened. It was his breakout season, and since then he’s had a 2.5 fWAR season in 116 IP in which he was limited by injuries (and a .345 BABIP), and a 3.1 fWAR season in which most of his peripherals recovered to near his 2015 performance, but which was hampered by a sudden increase in home runs (which, if we’re looking for outliers, is the most glaring possibility).

              He’s definitely *at worst* a clearly above-average pitcher.

            • Based on lsit’s data from Fangraphs, he probably fits somewhere among the top 25 – 40 SP in that time period. So a decent #2 pitcher. Usually people think that is pretty good. I’ve always been ambivalent about him so I would rate him closer to 40 than 25.

              • I’d like to see you put pencil to paper and list 35 better SP.

                I would think he is 20-25. My guess.

                • This is the list I put together. Since I am a Pirates fan and don’t know some of the other pitchers so well, this might be biased in Cole’s favor. If this was a list just based upon potential, Cole would be higher. But for all his “stuff,” he almost never dominates. That is a big reason I don’t consider him a top of the line pitcher. Maybe he will get there some day.

                  Definitely Better than Cole
                  Jake Arrieta
                  Madison Bumgarner
                  Carlos Carrasco
                  Yu Darvish
                  Jacob deGrom
                  Zack Greinke
                  Clayton Kershaw
                  Dallas Keuchel
                  Corey Kluber
                  Jon Lester
                  Carlos Martinez
                  Jimmy Nelson (before injury)
                  Rick Porcello
                  Jose Quintana
                  Danny Salazar (when healthy)
                  Chris Sale
                  Max Scherzer
                  Luis Severino
                  Marcus Stoman
                  Stephen Strasburg
                  Masahiro Tanaka
                  Noah Syndergaard
                  Justin Verlander

                  Roughly Equivalent to Cole, so just a matter of opinion
                  Chris Archer
                  Alex Cobb
                  Danny Duffy
                  Gio Gonzalez (maybe)
                  Sonny Gray
                  Felix Hernandez (for most of his career, much better)
                  Rich Hill
                  Hendricks, Kyle
                  Aaron Nola
                  David Price
                  Robbie Ray
                  Alex Wood

    • Cole is by almost any metric you can think of a top 30 SP in MLB since his debut.

      • I’m not sure that I believe that, esp when ERA+ measures an ERA vs the average pitcher. If he is Top 30, then there are some metrics that are out of whack. Take away that one year and he is only slightly above average.

    • If Lance Lynn’s market remains what Lance Lynn’s market is, buyers or sellers, the Pirates might do well to sign him. He’s been quietly very effective for his entire career, and I don’t see any reason that will stop this year.

      If he comes on a two- or three-year deal, he’d be a useful trade asset at the deadline if we’re selling, or could be a #3 starter in the first year of contention of the rebuild.

    • This is what I have been saying all along. I do not expect a huge return for Cole, because I believe that he has proven to be a very average pitcher.

      However, I do not believe that he has been average by himself, I thing the Pirates philosophy when it comes to pitching has made him average. Placed in the correct situation, he could be well above average.

      • michael schalke
        January 8, 2018 6:46 pm

        I thought Searage is considered a good pitching coach.

        • He is by all accounts, but the entire philosophy of getting something done in 3 pitches or less is idiotic. It completely eliminates setting batters up pitch to pitch and AB to AB. It was instilled in an effort to get starters deeper into games, to that end it has failed.

      • Ryan_Vogels__t
        January 9, 2018 3:00 am

        I’d have to say that the effect of an unhealthy number one catcher must be taken into the equation, also. Look at his stats in 2013-14 under Russell Martin and then the healthy Francisco Cervelli in 2015. He went downhill as the Pirates catching core did the same.

        The assumption in a trade must be based on the effect the likelihood of the continuity of such Professional Catching away from Pittsburgh will have on an arm as good as Gerritt Cole’s. That is the problem with trading him. Not the little amount of return they might get. But a really good grab of long and short-term prospects that need sorted through in order to make a decision!

        If there’s one thing Neil Huntington has learned how to do by now, it’s fire sale…

      • He’s in his prime. He’s controlled for 2 more years for a very cheap $ figure compared to his peers. Even if you think he’s a strong #2, he’s a highly desirable arm for a contender to acquire.

        And I agree, he will probably perform better playing with a strong offensive team. As he did in 2015 when Pirates were a top 4 team in runs in NL.

    • Foo you are cherry pickin the #s. He threw 200+ innings last year. Dont undervalue that number. If he can fix the HRs, he will be much better. Im not even sure the HRs are his fault. No one expected last year to be a record year.

    • Ryan_Vogels__t
      January 9, 2018 7:01 am

      Compare who they had catching for them the last two years: an aging but more or less healthy Yadier Molina against two injury riddled seasons for Francisco Cervelli…?

      Oh, & how could I forget; the man willing to utilize the tools of ignorance for the least amount of money annually of any baseball player in history!!

      Hey, I hear that Nutting’s letting Chris Stewart play this season only so long as Stewart pays his own hotel, dry cleaning, and plane flight!

  • Yes, yes my pretties, keep adding to the list of teams actively pursuing Cole. Inflate that price.

  • Fingers crossed for Minnesota to sign Darvish and Phillies to sign Arrieta.

    • Ryan_Vogels__t
      January 10, 2018 9:27 pm

      Nah… I want St. Louis to sign Arrieta. Pirates have had his number pretty much consistently since the first half of 2016! Let’s continue with that!!

  • They are clearly aware the asking price is high. I doubt they would low ball in any offer.

    • Nobody starts with their best offer. It is foolish. You never know what someone will accept.

  • Whitley!! 19 year old pitching in AA already, 13.9 K/9 in A, A+, AA in 2017.

    • I cannot see them making Whitley available. I think Tucker can be had due to the depth they have developed there.

  • rickmontgomery
    January 8, 2018 2:27 pm

    Give me Kyle Tucker, J. D. Davis (3B, #10) and Garrett Stubbs (C, #15) and you’ve got a deal and we’ll kick in one of our many AAA bullpen arms.

  • Just talked about this elsewhere, but Francis Martes intrigues me as a name that maybe some polish has come off (not too dissimilar from Glasnow’s view honestly) . He was a universal top 20 prospect last year if I remember, but not sure he qualifies as prospect anymore given his time in the majors. Walks a ton, but isn’t that the kind of upside you need to gamble on when acquiring prospects vs. going ‘safe’ ?

  • 1) trade cole
    2) sign Jaime Garcia
    3) never let Garcia pitch on the 3rd time thru the order
    4) ????
    5) profit

  • So much more to offer then the Yanks get it done!

  • John,

    Do you think Cole will be with the bucks when the season starts?

  • They’ve got some intriguing arms and Moran could be a nice bat. Astros might be an ideal trade partner. Not sure if Moran could stick at third but he’s ML ready and it sure would be nice to see a strong LH bat at third.

    • If the Stro’s wanted Cole they would have had him last year when they kicked the tires. The Pirates were looking for Kyle Tucker and Forrest Whitley. They were # 2 and # 6 last year of the Astro’s Top 30. This year they are #1 and #2.

      Colin Moran is 25, has little power, defense is questionable at best at 3B, and is a base clogger when he gets on. The Pirates cannot afford to trade Gerrit Cole if this is one of the guys they want to include in the trade. Angels and Yankees have better talent. Interesting that the Astro’s are involved after the Angels have re-tooled and need that one big SP at the Top of the Rotation – good way to stay ahead of the competition.

      • little power? He did have a .900+ OPS with 18 HRs in AAA last year before he broke his face

      • The Angels have better talent than the Astros? (or did you just mean than Moran?) The first is nuts. The second make sense.

  • i’d like kyle tucker, sure!

    • 25 hr between a and aa at age 20… bring him on.

      • Even if the Pirates don’t necessarily need an outfielder Tucker has the look of a really nice player. His only blip has been a subpar Arizona Fall League in 2017 but at 20 not really to worried about that. He didn’t have too many problems at AA. I like Moran too. Looks like and reminds me of Dave Magadan. Hopefully more power.

        • I’m not trying to be smart when I say I think the need is for anything and everything for their farm system. I think we are seeing, and anybody that follows any sport sees, that there is little that you can ever truly bank on happening until it’s actually happening when it comes to prospects and the dreaded “P” word know as potential.

        • BuccosFanStuckinMD
          January 10, 2018 10:37 pm

          Well, given how Polanco has disappointed the last two years, Cutch may be traded soon, and Marte was a bust in 2017, I’m not so sure the Pirates don’t need OFers who can produce runs….Meadows hasn’t excelled at AAA yet and he’s very injury prone…Tucker would immediately leap frog Meadows on the Pirates prospect list….

          • Probably, but all it takes is meadows starting hot and he will still be considered an elite prospect.

    • piraterican21
      January 9, 2018 11:22 am

      Cole is going to be a Dodgers.