MLB Network's Jon Morosi was first to report that the teams have agreed to terms on a trade. Pittsburgh's return for the pitcher has yet to be revealed.
The Astros' owner, Jim Crane, said that his team is looking for a "high-end starter", and while he didn't name names, he did say that said starter could come through a trade or free agency. Passan did note that "generally, this sort of thing winds up with a deal being consummated". During the 2017 season, Cole posted a 4.26 ERA and 1.25 WHIP, while holding a 196:55 K:BB over 203 innings (33 starts). This is not a one-year rental, and Houston landed a proven arm who is just 27 years old. He helped lead the Pirates to the postseason, but he coughed up four earned runs in five innings during a loss against the Chicago Cubs in the National League Wild Card Game. We're still awaiting word on what players Houston will send back to the Pirates in exchange. But this is a clear suggestion that the Pirates are in rebuild mode.
Acquiring Cole would bolster the Astros' already stellar starting rotation, as Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers Jr. and Charlie Morton all are under contract for the defending World Series champions in 2018.