Gerrit Cole may eventually end up being traded to the Astros, but conflicting reports indicated as of Wednesday afternoon that Houston had not reached a deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates for the starting pitcher.
The New York Post also reported the trade.
This trade is the latest in a series of aggressive, focused moves by the Astros.
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He was limited to 21 starts and 116 innings due to elbow inflammation with Pittsburgh in 2016 then surrendered more homers in the National League than anyone other than the Cubs' John Lackey last season.
Though Cole is coming off his worst season - 12-12 with a 4.26 ERA in 33 starts - he is capable of being an elite starter. It's less clear how badly the Pirates need outfield prospects given the presence of Austin Meadows, Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco.
The Astros won the 2017 World Series in seven games over the Los Angeles Dodgers and boasted one of the best rotations in baseball.