The Houston Astros have acquired starter Gerrit Cole from the Pittsburgh Pirates, per Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports. The Pirates will receive outfield prospect Jason Martin, infield prospect Colin Moran, and pitchers Joe Musgrove and Michael Feliz.
The reigning World Series champions have arguably now the strongest rotation in baseball, which features Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, and Lance McCullers. Not to mention, top pitching prospect Forrest Whitley will likely be joining the rotation some time this season. The Houston Astros just finished their best season in team history, and they needed Cole because of potential postseason runs by the Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Angels.
Cole, 27, has two years of control left before he hits free agency after the 2019 season. Last year, Cole went 12-12 with a 4.26 ERA in 33 starts. Cole will give the Astros 200+ innings this upcoming season. This is why Cole is very durable for the Astros' organization.
Astros' pitcher Justin Verlander has once again proven that he one of the best pitchers this century. Since coming over from Detroit in late August, Verlander has shown the world that he belongs in the hall of fame.
During his remarkable postseason run, he has shown major league baseball that at 34-years-old, he can still pitch like an ace. During the Astros' ALCS series against the New York Yankees, he threw a total of 16 innings, including a complete game with 21 strikeouts, one allowed run, and just two walks.
Verlander has the numbers and resume that would many consider an automatic pass into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.
If you look at his career numbers, his 188 wins stands out, especially because he has only played in the big leagues for 12 full seasons, excluding his short stint in 2005. He also has 2416 strikeouts in 2545 career innings. He has led major league baseball in strikeouts four times, including the 2009 season when he 269 strikeouts.
He also has been in the top-five for the American League Cy Young five times! He won the award in 2011, and he has finished runner up twice. Also, he won the AL MVP award in 2011. Verlander has appeared in six all-star games, too.
If you compare his numbers to other hall-of-fame pitchers, he has more hall-of-fame points than pitchers like Tom Glavine, Whitey Ford, and Jim Palmer. MLB greats Nolan Ryan and Phil Nierko never won Cy Young awards but they still made it in. Those two for sure had amazing careers but so has Verlander, who has done more than they have!
Many question if Verlander is worth his 2017 salary of $28 million, but if you look at his numbers this season with both the Detroit Tigers and Houston Astros, he could possibly become another top-5 Cy Young award candidate. He went 15-8, with a 3.36 ERA and 219 strikeouts, in 206 innings. He did all of this at 34-years-old!
I think Verlander is hall-of-fame worthy. He has been one of the best pitchers of 21st century. Verlander is the Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson of this era!
The Houston Astros and Chicago White Sox have agreed to a deal that will send veteran reliever Tyler Clippard to Houston, per Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal.
The Astros have suddenly bolstered their bullpen, by acquiring the eight-year veteran reliever. Clippard joined the south side of Chicago, from the Bronx, nearly three weeks ago, and is once again packing his bags. The Astros currently sit 72-45, and have a steady 12 game lead over the second place Los Angeles Angels for first place in the American League West division.
Clippard, 32, has had his ups and downs this season with the White Sox and Yankees. In 51 relief appearances, Clippard has a record of 2-6, with a 4.27 ERA. The two-time all-star has an impressive 10.5 K/9 ratio, this season.
Clippard will elect free agency this offseason.
The White Sox will receive a player to be named later or cash considerations.
The Houston Astros and Toronto Blue Jays have agreed to a trade that will send lefty Francisco Liriano to Toronto, per Sportsnet's Shi Davidi.
The Blue Jays have been in talks with multiple contenders regarding shipping out Francisco Liriano and some of their veteran players. According to Bob Nightengale of ESPN, the Astros plan to utilize Liriano as a reliever.
Liriano, 33, will likely be a rental for the Astros, as he is set to become a free agent after the season. The lefty has started 18 games for the Jays and has an ugly 5.88 ERA. Liriano will likely become a lefty specialist for the Astros' pen because lefties are hitting .230 off of him this year.
In return for Liriano, the Blue Jays will acquire veteran outfielder Nori Aoki and a minor league player
According to Yahoo's Jeff Passan, the left-handed ace of the Chicago White Sox, Jose Quintana, is drawing trade interest from multiple teams. The teams who are interested in Quintana are the Atlanta Braves, Houston Astros, and Pittsburgh Pirates
Quintana was a hot commodity over the past offseason. With a weak free agent pitching class, the White Sox received phone calls from tons of teams about Quintana and former teammate Chris Sale, whom they traded to the Red Sox during the winter meetings.
Jim Bowden of ESPN reported this morning a trade could happen before opening day, but nothing is close. Bowden also reported that if the Astros were to acquire the young southpaw, the blockbuster deal would have to include top prospects RHP Francis Martes and OF Kyle Tucker.
A deal involving Quintana is a smart move for the three teams reportedly interested in him. Quintana is under team control until after the 2020 season. He is owed $37.85 million until he is eligible to become a free agent. Even though he is owed $37.85 million over the next four seasons, any team that were to pick him up after the 2020 season, will probably need to pay him over $25 million.
Quintana is still very young, entering his age 28 season. He was dominant last season, with an ERA of 3.20 and striking out 181. His great 2016 campaign led him to finish 10th in the American League CY young voting.