Astros flip newly acquired Gose to Toronto for Brett Wallace

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Anthony Gose was an Astros property for barely longer than it takes him to run from first to third. Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos confirmed Thursday that he acquired the speedy center fielder from the Astros for Brett Wallace.
It’s the third time Wallace has been sort of involved in a major trade. He was sent from St. Louis to Oakland in the Matt Holliday deal last summer. Over the winter, the A’s traded him to the Blue Jays for Michael Taylor, who had just been picked up from the Phillies in the Roy Halladay trade hours earlier. Now he’s getting traded for a piece in the Roy Oswalt deal.
In my opinion, getting Wallace for Gose makes the deal look quite a bit better for Houston. Gose has the potential to become another Michael Bourn, but he’s a long way off and the Astros just happen to have the original.
Wallace, on the other hand, is nearly major league ready and he could step right in at first base if Lance Berkman isn’t brough back next year. The 23-year-old has been a disappointment while hitting .301/.359/.509 with 18 homers in 385 at-bats for Las Vegas this year. That’s partly because he’s playing in a terrific environment for offense and partly because he has a poor 83/27 K/BB ratio in 385 at-bats.
However, Wallace has displayed more power with age and he’s begun to settle in at first after making the long-anticipated move from the hot corner last year. He no longer appears to have All-Star-type upside, but he should prove to be a capable regular in time.
It’s a surprising move for the Jays, given that they will have first base open next year with Lyle Overbay set to become a free agent. They might be planning to install Adam Lind there, though. Gose shouldn’t be a candidate to start until 2013 or 2014 at the earliest.

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.