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The World Series champion Houston Astros just got a little bit stronger.

The Pirates have traded ace Gerrit Cole to the Astros for a package of four prospects.

Cole, the former No. 1 overall pick out of UCLA in 2011, is married to Brandon Crawford’s sister Amy.

An All-Star in 2015, Cole is coming off two straight subpar seasons. Last season, he posted a career-worst 4.26 ERA in 203 innings over 33 starts. He struck out 196 batters along the way.

The headliners of the package going back to Pittsburgh are RHP Joe Musgrove, RHP Michael Feliz and 3B Colin Moran. The Pirates will also receive OF Jason Martin.

Trading Cole could be the beginning of more moves for the Pirates, who are shopping former NL MVP Andrew McCutchen. The Giants have been linked to the veteran center fielder.

While all else crumbled around him during the Giants’ nightmare 2017 season, with 98 losses on the field and personal losses in his family, Brandon Crawford found a way to maintain his excellence at shortstop.

Crawford was rewarded Tuesday night when he won his third consecutive Gold Glove, the first Giants shortstop to win that many and the first NL shortstop to collect three in a row since the Phillies’ Jimmy Rollins, from 2007 through ’09.

Crawford was the only Giant to win. Gold Gloves are chosen by the league’s managers and coaches, in combination with a metric formula devised by the Society for American Baseball Research, or SABR. The index counted for about 25 percent of the outcome.wholesale baseball jersey style t shirts

The Giants earned three last year, with catcher Buster Posey and second baseman Joe Panik each winning his first.

All Gold Glove trophies look the same, but Crawford, whose sister-in-law, Jennifer Pippin, died April 12, acknowledged that he will view this one through a different lens because of the extant circumstances.

Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford wins 3rd consecutive Gold Glove

While all else crumbled around him during the Giants’ nightmare 2017 season, with 98 losses on the field and personal losses in his family, Brandon Crawford found a way to maintain his excellence at shortstop.

Crawford was rewarded Tuesday night when he won his third consecutive Gold Glove, the first Giants shortstop to win that many and the first NL shortstop to collect three in a row since the Phillies’ Jimmy Rollins, from 2007 through ’09.

Crawford was the only Giant to win. Gold Gloves are chosen by the league’s managers and coaches, in combination with a metric formula devised by the Society for American Baseball Research, or SABR. The index counted for about 25 percent of the outcome.

The Giants earned three last year, with catcher Buster Posey and second baseman Joe Panik each winning his first.

All Gold Glove trophies look the same, but Crawford, whose sister-in-law, Jennifer Pippin, died April 12, acknowledged that he will view this one through a different lens because of the extant circumstances.

“It was definitely a tough season on the field, off the field,” he said. “It’s an individual award. You prefer a team award. But to get something positive out of this season is definitely nice.”

Crawford won despite a subpar defensive year for the team. Poor outfield play, which management has pledged to fix this winter, makes a shortstop’s job even tougher because he has to cover more ground.

With so many great shortstops in the league, including Addison Russell, Freddy Galvis and Corey Seager, Crawford cannot escape talk that he won on reputation.

But the Giants well know that a terrible season would have been worse without him behind the pitching staff.

“It’s something I’ve definitely always taken pride in,” Crawford said. “That’s the big reason I got called up in the big leagues in the first place, to fill a spot where we just needed some defense on the team. It’s definitely a huge part of my game, something I’ve worked on for a long time, and really hard at.”

Posey was a finalist this year. Panik was not. They were unseated by first-time winner Tucker Barnhart of the Reds and the Rockies’ DJ LeMahieu, respectively.

Barnhart was one of the six first-time winners and the first Cincinnati catcher to win since Johnny Bench 40 years ago.

Royals left fielder Alex Gordon, Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward and Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado won their fifth Gold Gloves. Heyward and Arenado have won theirs consecutively.

No team had more than two winners. The pennant-winning Dodgers and Astros were shut out.

Posey had a breakthrough last year after Yadier Molina’s nearly decade-long stranglehold on the catching award.

Posey’s defense did not decline in 2017. In fact, he arguably had his best season behind the plate, but voters doubtlessly considered how much first base he played, particularly late in the year after Brandon Belt’s season-ending concussion.

Posey started 96 games behind the plate this season, down from 122 last year.

Panik’s bid to repeat was derailed in good part by the SABR index, which ranked him the worst defensive second baseman in the league after he ranked best in 2016. Though the eye test suggested Panik’s defense declined some, nobody reasonably could argue that it plunged that far in one year.

Posey’s ranking fell from first to sixth and Crawford’s from second to fourth.

“I don’t know how defensive numbers are put together,” Crawford said. “I don’t know what they put into it, who’s keeping track of what plays should be made, quote-unquote. Advanced defensive metrics can be definitely skewed, but they are what they are.”