Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported that the two teams have reached an agreement for Cole, so this deal is still likely to get done, and might even already be done, despite what Luhnow told the local beat reporter.
NY also has been linked in media reports to free agents Yu Darvish and Alex Cobb.
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. This is not a one-year rental, and Houston landed a proven arm who is just 27 years old. He didn't flinch under the pressure and posted a 2.45 ERA in those contests. It was by far the worst performance of his career. Keuchel, of course, becomes a free agent after the 2018 season, so Cole's presence will help cushion the blow of him leaving after the season, assuming he leaves.
The Astros won the 2017 World Series in seven games over the Los Angeles Dodgers and boasted one of the best rotations in baseball. But this is a clear suggestion that the Pirates are in rebuild mode.