According to Jon Morosi, the trade is imminent and has been gaining momentum since yesterday.
The teams have not announced the deal, and Cole has reportedly yet to be informed of the trade, so there is still a lot to get done.
This trade is the latest in a series of aggressive, focused moves by the Astros. This is not a one-year rental, and Houston landed a proven arm who is just 27 years old.
The Astros would hope that Cole bounces back to his form from 2013-2016 when he had a 3.23 ERA over 579 1/3 innings of work. He helped lead the Pirates to the postseason, but he coughed up four earned runs in five innings during a loss against the Chicago Cubs in the National League Wild Card Game. He finished with a career-worst 4.26 ERA in 2017 and career-worst 1.44 WHIP in 2016.
Passan reports that Houston is dangling outfielder Derek Fisherin the talks, although he says the Pirates would want more, which makes sense. It's less clear how badly the Pirates need outfield prospects given the presence of Austin Meadows, Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco.
The World Series Champion Houston Astros may have gotten even better today.