They're hoping Gerrit Cole can make it three. The report was later refuted and days went by before anything else was heard.
Gerrit Cole is heading to Houston.More news: Rex Burkhead, Mike Gillislee Not Expected To Play For Patriots Vs. Titans
In exchange, the Pirates receive right-handed pitcher Joe Musgrove, third baseman Colin Moran, right-handed reliever Michael Feliz and outfielder Jason Martin.
The Pirates and their top starting pitcher had avoided arbitration on Friday by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $6.75 million. Cole, a former No. 1 overall draft pick was an All-Star in 2015 when he finished fourth in the NL Cy Young vote after going 19-8 with a 2.60 ERA and 202 strikeouts.
Cole, 27, is coming off his worst major league season of his career.More news: Death Toll Climbs to 15 in Southern California Mudslides
Musgrove, Moran and Feliz likely will open the season with the Pirates.
Luhnow characterized Cole's acquisition as having a "significant cost" because the Astros "love" the four players they're giving up. He's had a brief cup of coffee with the Astros in each of the last two seasons. The 22-year-old batted.278 with 18 home runs and 16 stolen bases last season split between Class A Buies Creek and Double-A Corpus Christi. He was left unprotected in the Rule 5 draft last month meaning anyone could have claimed him there for the cost of keeping him on their roster. Cole will slide into a rotation that features Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers and Charlie Morton. While he was by no means awful, (12-12, 4.26 ERA, 196 strikeouts) Cole will look to re-discover in Houston what made him an ace for the Pirates just a few seasons ago.
With Cole gone, Jameson Taillon and Ivan Nova will anchor the rotation ahead of Trevor Williams and Chad Kuhl.More news: U.S. embassy in London disagrees with Trump's reason for cancelling United Kingdom trip