MLB Weekly Digest Jan. 15th Edition

The prior week in MLB was about a team in the American League strengthening their rotation, a third baseman sets an arbitration record, and a reliever in the National League receives an extension.

Astros Acquire Gerrit Cole from Pirates in Five-Player Deal 

The Houston Astros won the World Series last year, but the club isn’t content to rest on their laurels.

The Astros acquired starting pitcher Gerrit Cole from the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday. They sent right-hander Joe Musgrove, infielder Colin Moran, reliever Michael Feliz and outfielder Jason Martin.

Cole will give the Astros a formidable trio at the top of the starting rotation along with Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander.

Cole compiled a 4.26 ERA in 203 innings (33 starts) last season. The righty fanned 196 batters, yielded 31 homers, and posted a 4.08 FIP.

The Astros gave up some talent to add Cole, but none of their prized prospects. They were adamant about not including Forrest Whitley, Kyle Tucker, Derek Fisher, and Yordan Alvarez in any deal, per Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.

The Pirates were discussing Cole with the New York Yankees, but the Yankees also weren’t willing to trade some of their top prospects either, says Crasnick.

The Pirates ultimately decided the four-player package offer by the Astros was better than what the Yankees were willing to give up.

The Astros will be a favorite to make a return trip back to the Fall Classic. The team is loaded with young stars in the lineup and, Cole gives them potentially a third ace in the rotation.

The big part of this deal is neither the Yankees nor the Astros viewed Cole as an ace, given his performance the past two seasons.

It’s a significant reason the Pirates didn’t receive a top-tier prospect, but the players they added could help the Pirates in the future.

Blue Jays Josh Donaldson Agrees to Record Arbitration Contract

Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson agreed to a one-year, $23 million contract on Friday. This is the most for an arbitration-eligible player in history, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

Donaldson didn’t appear he was on his way to making a hefty contract as a calf injury limited him during the first half of the year.

However, he accumulated a .270 batting average and .944 OPS with 33 home runs and 78 RBI. Donaldson captured the American League MVP in 2015 and showed when healthy, he’s one of the best players in baseball.

Donaldson will be a free agent at the end of the 2018 season and will probably be dealt by the Blue Jays before the trade deadline.

San Diego Padres Ink Reliever Brad Hand to Three-Year Extension

The San Diego Padres have signed reliever Brad Hand to a three-year extension, which includes an option for a fourth year, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

The contract is worth $19.75 million, and there’s a $10 million option for 2021, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

Hand was sensational for the Padres last year, by posting a 2.16 ERA in 72 games (79.1 innings). He whiffed 104 batters, walked 20 batters, saved 21 games and compiled a 0.93 WHIP.

The Padres had a chance to deal Hand at the trade deadline last year but opted to keep him.

He will be a crucial part of the bullpen moving forward for them as they look to remain competitive in the National League West.

Author Profile

Chris Lacey
Chris is a 25-year old New Jersey native whose favorite sports team is the Arizona Diamondbacks. He previously attended Western New England College to study Sports Management. Chris has been following the Diamondbacks since he was 12. You can find him on Twitter [email protected]
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