According to Jon Morosi, the trade is imminent and has been gaining momentum since yesterday.
The teams have not announced the deal, and Cole has reportedly yet to be informed of the trade, so there is still a lot to get done.
The Astros have acquired the top-end starter team owner Jim Crane wanted. Passan did note that "generally, this sort of thing winds up with a deal being consummated". He was an all-star in 2015. Cole did top 200 innings for the second time in 2017 and also saw his strikeout numbers tick back up close to one per inning.
In the postseason, Cole has a 1-2 record in three games started.
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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.
However, the right-handed hurler has slipped some in recent years. It was by far the worst performance of his career. He is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2019 season.
While the Pirates focus on the future, Houston can turn its attention toward its World Series defense with another formidable pitcher in tow.
The Pirates aren't realistic World Series contenders this year, so any return pieces will help restock the organization as it builds toward the future.