Pirates acquire Moran, Martin in Cole trade

Two top Astros prospects on the move with two big leaguers

Colin Moran batted .308 with a .373 on-base percentage and was a Pacific Coast League midseason All-Star in 2017. (Ben Sandstrom/MiLB.com)

By Josh Jackson / MiLB.com | January 13, 2018 9:29 PM

After half an offseason of speculation, the Pirates have found their partner in a Gerrit Cole trade. The blockbuster, contrary to expectations, does not include a single Top 100 prospect.

Pittsburgh on Saturday agreed on to send the 2015 All-Star to Houston for corner infielder Colin Moran (the Astros' No. 5 prospect), outfielder Jason Martin (No. 15) and big league right-handers Joe Musgrove and Michael Feliz.

Notably absent from the trade are both of the Astros' top prospects, outfielder Kyle Tucker (No. 8 overall) and righty Forrest Whitley (No. 26 overall).

Moran, 25, has seen action in the Major Leagues in each of the last two season. He missed time last year after suffering a facial fracture when a foul ball ricocheted off his bat and struck him on the cheek during a July 22 game against Baltimore. The steady left-handed hitter has a .286./353/.430 slash line, 48 homers and 279 RBIs in 454 Minor League games since the Marlins selected him sixth overall in the 2013 Draft. Houston picked up him the following season in the Trade Deadline deal involving right-hander involving Jarred Cosart.

"Colin Moran joins the Pirates and projects to be a quality left-handed hitting third baseman with developing power," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said in a statement. "Colin is an intelligent, hard-working player who made an adjustment to his swing and approach last season. His adjustments led to increased power production that should play very well at the Major League level, especially at PNC Park."

Video: Fresno's Moran lines solo shot to right

Also a product of the 2013 Draft, Martin was the Astros' eighth-round pick. The 22-year-old outfielder batted .278/.332/.487 with 18 homers and 16 stolen bases last season, playing 46 games for Class A Advanced Buies Creek and 79 for Double-A Corpus Christi. In 2016, he totaled 23 homers and 20 steals in 110 games for Class A Advanced Lancaster. His arm profiles as a 40 on the 20-to-80 scouting scale, and, according to MLB Pipeline, "he needs to upgrade his routes to be more than an average defender in center [field]."

"Jason Martin is a left-handed hitting outfield prospect who can help his team win in multiple ways," Huntington said. "He has been a productive hitter throughout his Minor League career with the ability to get on base and hit for extra bases. He also utilizes his speed well on defense. We are pleased to add him to our system."

Offseason MiLB include

Musgrove, 25, was 7-8 with two saves and a 4.77 ERA in 38 games, including 15 starts, for the Astros last year.

Feliz, 24, made 46 relief appearances for Houston in 2017, going 4-2 with a 5.63 ERA.

Cole, for whom the Pirates reportedly tried to land No. 2 overall prospect Gleyber Torres from the Yankees weeks ago, was 12-12 with a 4.26 ERA in 2017. He joins a starting rotation that includes former Cy Young Award winners Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel and All-Star Lance McCullers Jr.

Josh Jackson is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @JoshJacksonMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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