Pirates trade Gerrit Cole to Houston

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan warms up before an NFL football wild-card playoff game against the Los Angeles Rams Saturday Jan. 6 2018 in Los Angeles

In exchange for Cole, their 2017 opening day starter, the Pirates acquired pitcher Joe Musgrove, outfielder Jason Martin, infielder Colin Moran and reliever Michael Feliz.

Yahoo! Sports' Tim Brown first reported the news. No seriously, this time we mean it. Saturday afternoon, the Astros and Pittsburgh Pirates would strike a deal to send Cole to the defending champions.

Moran, 25, has appeared in 16 games at the Major League Baseball level over the last two seasons.

He played in nine games for the Astros in 2016-and seven more last season-before suffering a freak injury when he fouled a ball off of his own face. He hit.308 with 18 home runs and 63 RBIs in 79 games with Triple-A Fresno.

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Martin, 22, was an eighth-round pick in 2013.

Cole will join a talented rotation in Houston, highlighted by Cy Young Award winners Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel, plus Charlie Morton. He has one year of arbitration remaining and could command a hefty salary bump in 2019, one of the reasons the Pirates had explored trading him in recent weeks.

The right-hander has two more seasons before qualifying for free agency. Cole has pitched in parts of five seasons (2013-17) with Pittsburgh, posting a 59-42 record and a 3.50 ERA (304ER/782.1IP) in 127 Major League starts. Reports were that the Yankees would have been willing to include ex-top prospect Clint Frazier, a 23-year-old left fielder blocked Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, in a deal for Cole.

Cole, 27, is under team control until 2020 and made $3.7 million this past season.

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