Cole also contributed to Pittsburgh's 2013 postseason run, making two October starts as a rookie. It was by far the worst performance of his career. Darvish is the free agent starter Houston has been mentioned alongside the most, and there are only so many "high-end" pitchers on the free agent market. We're still awaiting word on what players Houston will send back to the Pirates in exchange.
The Astros won the 2017 World Series in seven games over the Los Angeles Dodgers and boasted one of the best rotations in baseball.
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.