It was reported the other day that Gerrit Cole was traded to the Astros… then nearly directly after that we were told that a deal was not in place. It was in fact, just premature as the Bucs and Astros finalized the deal for Cole. In return, the Pirates received Joe Musgrove, Michael Feliz, Colin Moran, and Jason Martin,
Here's the official release on tonight's trade with the Astros
— Pirates (@Pirates) January 14, 2018
At quick glance, this looks a lot like a quantity over quality trade. Not one of these guys stands out or are highly sought after. The Pirates were unable to get whom they were after. But because Neil Huntington is looking to beef up the farm system again and cut as much payroll as possible, Cole was going to bring more than anyone on the team, including McCutchen. Although dumping 7 or 8 million should not be considered a salary dump, there really is no other way to look at it when you take a closer look at each player.
OF Jason Martin – is an outfielder that has batted around .270 when you look at his recent Minor League totals. He hit 23 home runs in 2016 and 18 more between two AA Clubs. He is a run producer and was an 8th round draft pick and from all accounts does not have an overly high ceiling.
RHP Joe Musgrove- Joe started with the Astros last year with 15 starts driving up his ERA over 6. He was then moved to bull pen where he would get 20 more opportunities and had an ERA of 1.44. Baseball American describes him this way.
Musgrove throws strikes and has solid stuff but nothing spectacular and no real out pitch, which has resulted in more than a hit allowed per inning in his career and trouble when he has to maneuver through an order multiple times.
3B Colin Moran – Is what I would call the best player in this group. (Only because he fills an immediate need, not because of talent) Colin is a solid third baseman, that batted over .300 with 18 homers and 63 RBI and with an OPS .916 at AAA Fresno. He was considered the 9th best Astro’s prospect. He has seen time in the bigs the last two years and is due for extended play at the Big league level. So, that means the Pirates may have their third baseman. If you look at his minor league career, he has been very inconsistent.
RHP Michael Feliz – essentially, this guy is Tyler Glasnow. He has a 97 mph fastball and has a wipe out slider/breaking ball. His issue, according to his numbers is he can’t control his pitches. He averages over 4 walks per 9 innings.(sound familiar Pirate fans)
IF you look at what the Pirates got back in return for Cole, it is fairly clear they were looking to fill holes. It is very difficult to judge the outcome before the players start to play but from first glance, it is difficult to get excited about this deal.
Both pitchers have Major League experience and ability, Musgrove is slated to probably be the rotation and don’t be surprised to see Feliz start at triple A or even in the bull pen. And from what I am hearing, Moran will start at 3rd base from day one barring a horrific spring or injury.
As for who is next, some think that Josh Harrison is a perfect fit for the Yankees. The return for Harrison is going to be less then marginal as you can see from the return they received from Houston.
Then there is the ongoing talks with the Giants regarding McCutchen. Now that the Pirates have showed their hand, they have proved out the fact that they are willing to take less in order to unload bloated contracts. Although McCutchens contract is bloated, it is in fact the largest on the team at this point and they have proven they can lose with him so trading him is what they are hell bent to do.