There may be more than one Pittsburgh Pirates fan who, while watching Gerrit Cole and Tyler Glasnow pitch Game 5 of the ALDS on Thursday night, will whisper wistfully, “It could have been us.”
Glasnow, the Pirates’ fifth-round draft choice in 2011, never gained traction in his eight seasons in the organization. He won three games in three seasons with the Pirates before getting shipped to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Cole’s price tag in free agency will rise far beyond what the Pirates are willing to pay, so he also had no future in Pittsburgh and was sent to the Houston Astros.
The two will meet in Game 5 of the American League Division Series on Thursday in Houston.
Both were traded last year in separate deals that netted the Pirates five players, four of whom were serviceable components for a team that lost 93 games. Cole (20) and Glasnow (six) won a combined 26 games for teams that totaled 107 (Astros) and 96 (Rays) victories. Glasnow was limited by injury, but he won six of his 12 starts.
Beyond those two, don’t forget former Pirates pitcher Charlie Morton’s two victories and one earned run in 10 postseason innings the past two seasons for the Rays.
The Pirates’ return for Cole and Glasnow wasn’t bad in terms of filling out the roster with players the next manager can use. All but 31-year-old pitcher Chris Archer are 27 or younger.
For Cole, the Pirates got third baseman Colin Moran, starting pitcher Joe Musgrove, reliever Michael Feliz and outfielder Jason Martin. Archer came from the Rays in an out-of-character (for the Pirates) trade for Glasnow, outfielder Austin Meadows and 20-year-old pitching prospect Shane Baz, who struck out 87 batters with a 2.99 ERA in 811/3 Single-A innings this season.
Among other stats for Pirates players this season:
• Moran drove in 80 runs.
• Musgrove was the team’s big winner with 11 victories in 32 starts while showing encouraging signs of becoming a clubhouse leader.
• Feliz had a 3.99 ERA, but allowed an average of one home run every five innings.
• Martin hit .259 in Triple-A
• Archer was 3-9 with a 5.19 ERA but is seen as a clubhouse and off-the-field leader.
• Meadows is hitting .188 this postseason for Tampa Bay after hitting 33 home runs and with a .291 average and .922 OPS.