MLB Hot Stove trade rumors: Astros and Pirates working on Gerrit Cole trade?

We've known for some time that the reigning-champion Astros, angling to fortify a rotation that already includes Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel, have interest in trading for Pirates ace Gerrit Cole. According to Jon Morosi, the two sides are closing in on a trade that would send Cole to Houston ... 

On the other hand, Jeff Passan's sources are saying something entirely different ... 

Along those same lines ... 

Cole, 27, is coming off a 2017 season in which he pitched to a 4.26 ERA (101 ERA+) with a K/BB ratio of 3.56 in 203 innings. For his career, he owns an ERA+ of 112 across parts of five big-league seasons. Cole has some of the best stuff of any starter -- a 96-mph fastball to go with a wipeout slider and full complement of supporting pitches -- and in 2015 he proved he's capable of pitching at an elite level. As well, Cole isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2019 season. That's key from the Houston standpoint, as Keuchel is eligible for free agency after the upcoming season, and it seems unlikely that the Astros will be able to re-sign him before he hits the market. 

On a more immediate level, the addition of Cole -- should it come to pass -- would give the Astros a front three that compares favorably to any in the game today. As well, the depth that flows from adding Cole would allow them to fill the final two spots with some combination of Lance McCullers, Brad Peacock, and Charlie Morton. Elsewhere in the AL, the Yankees had also been strongly linked to Cole, so perhaps they're still lurking on the periphery. 

As for the Pirates, a Cole deal would likely signaly a reboot for 2018, and it wouldn't surprise if -- in the event that Cole goes -- notable names like Andrew McCutchen and Josh Harrison were also moved in the coming weeks. 

CBS Sports Writer

Dayn Perry has been a baseball writer for CBS Sports since early 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for FOXSports.com and ESPN.com. He's the author of three books, the most recent being Reggie Jackson: The... Full Bio

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