The Houston Astros 2019 season had not been over for long when impending free agent Gerrit Cole started removing himself from any future Houston narrative. The Astros, baseball's best team during the regular season, came up short in their quest for a second World Series title in three seasons as they lost Game 7 of the Fall Classic to the Nationals on Wednesday night.

Cole, who did not appear in Game 7, watched the Nats celebrate their franchise's first ever World Series win on Houston's turf and then had to speak to the media. His postgame outfit did not include any Astros gear. Instead, the flame-throwing righty (who is represented by agent Scott Boras) donned a hat with a logo of Boras Corp.

The accessory said a lot.

Given Houston's already high payroll, it always seemed unlikely Cole would return to the Astros once he hit free agency. That seemed more evident by his post-Game 7 fashion statement, and by a written statement he tweeted out Thursday. Cole sent a message, thanking Astros fans and the organization.

"The Astros organization has been such a pleasure to play for ... I've met lifelong friends on the team and in the community and learned a little about pitching along the way," Cole wrote in a tweet posted on Thursday afternoon. "This is a relationship between a team and its fans like no other that I know. Thank you for making us better people and better players. This was a great season. We have a lot to be proud of."

Cole's been a member of the Astros since he was traded to the club in January 2018 by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The right-hander put together a remarkable 2019 season, and he's one of the front-runners for the American League Cy Young award. Cole, 29, finished with a 20-5 record (including 16 straight wins), a 2.50 ERA and a league-best 326 strikeouts. He pitched in five playoff games for the Astros, including Games 1 and 5 of the World Series. Overall, his 2019 postseason record was 4-1 with a 1.72 ERA. He struck out 47 while walking 11 in 36 2/3 innings pitched.

He'll end up signing a mammoth contract this winter before he puts on the hat of a different team.