Tim Brown, a writer for Yahoo Sports, reported that Cole was dealt to the Houston Astros for two players Saturday. On Thursday, general manager Brian Cashman said in a radio interview that he's been waffling as to whether the team needs to add another starter.
Houston is sending pitcher Joe Musgrove and third baseman Colin Moran as the principle members of the deal. Cole has pitched in parts of five seasons (2013-17) with Pittsburgh, posting a 59-42 record and a 3.50 ERA (304ER/782.1IP) in 127 Major League starts.
Musgrove, 25, was 7-8 with a 4.77 ERA in 38 appearances, 15 of them starts, last season for the Astros. Martin was originally an eighth-round pick by the Astros in the 2013 draft. He improved both his strikeout and walk rates a year ago, and the move to Minute Maid Park is an upgrade for Cole, both in terms of run prevention and strikeouts. He hit.308 with 18 home runs and 63 RBIs in 79 games with Triple-A Fresno.
Moran, 25, hit.364 (4x11) with a homer and three RBI in seven games for the Astros in 2017.
Injuries checked Cole to 21 starts in 2016, but he rebounded past year and was one of just 15 pitchers in the majors to work 200-plus innings.
The 27-year-old has one year of arbitration remaining and could command a hefty salary bump in 2019, one of the reasons the Pirates had explored trading him in recent weeks. The reigning World Series champions have pitching depth that includes Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers, Charlie Morton, Brad Peacock, Collin McHugh and a slew of prospects.