Gerrit Cole Rumors

Central Notes: Floyd, Garza, Baker, Hernandez, Pirates

Here's the latest from both of MLB's Central divisions…

  • MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm doesn't put much stock in the latest Gavin Floyd trade rumors between the White Sox and the Blue Jays because of the Jays organization's "cone of silence" under Alex Anthopoulos.  "There’s a general rule of thumb Toronto’s GM likes to use in these type of situations," Chisholm writes. "If a report gets out that a deal is done then it very likely is done. If a report comes out that two teams are discussing something, or that a team and agent have begun serious negotiations, more often than not it’s false." 
  • Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer declined to comment on whether the team was any closer to a multiyear extension with Matt Garza, reports Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com.  We heard last month that the two sides planned to talk contract during Spring Training.
  • Dusty Baker was non-committal about his future with the Reds as he enters the last year of his contract, Baker told the media (including MLB.com's Barry M. Bloom).  "This year, it's my decision, as well as a [Reds] ownership decision. It depends whether I'm asked back. It depends on my feelings," Baker said. "You get to that certain point in your life. We'll see at the end of the year or before it, depending on how things go."
  • Indians right-hander Roberto Hernandez (a.k.a. Fausto Carmona) has agreed to complete a work program in the Dominican Republic in exchange for having the false identity charges against him dropped, reports The Associated Press.  Hernandez is currently on Cleveland's restricted list while the matter is being investigated.  It is still unknown when Hernandez will be allowed to obtain a new visa and resume his baseball career.
  • The Indians are interested in Jorge Soler, but Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer thinks the Tribe will be outbid for the Cuban outfield prospect.  At least nine teams are known to have some level of interest in Soler, with the Cubs considered by "most in the industry" to be the favorites.
  • The Pirates' process of rebuilding their minor league system in order to restock their team's talent base is slowly beginning to pay dividends, writes MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince.
  • Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole's first pro Spring Training experience and his road to being the first overall pick in last summer's amateur draft are profiled by J. Brady McCollough of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

NL Central Notes: Snyder, Cardinals, Cubs, Astros

The Cardinals are optimistic that Matt Holliday will return from a finger injury before the season ends, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Getting the star left fielder would be a major boost for the Cardinals, who are chasing the Braves in the National League Wild Card race. Here's the latest on the NL Central…

  • Chris Snyder told Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he'd like the Pirates to pick up his $6.75MM option for 2012 (Twitter link). It seems more likely that they'll pay a $750K buyout for the catcher, who has a .772 OPS in 119 plate appearances this year.
  • Cardinals GM John Mozeliak says talks between Rafael Furcal and the Cardinals are progressing slowly, according to Nate Latsch and Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. The Cardinals aren't gaining momentum on an extension for Lance Berkman, either.
  • Gary Hughes, who was named one of the top ten scouts of the century by Baseball America, told the Cubs that he will not return in 2012, according to MLB.com's Carrie Muskat. Hughes, a 45-year veteran of pro baseball had been a special assistant under former GM Jim Hendry
  • Astros executives met with manager Brad Mills and his coaching staff yesterday to discuss the past year and look ahead to the 2012 roster, according to MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. The executives and field staff exchanged ideas about players, particularly free agents and those who will be out of options next Spring Training.
  • The Astros are inviting all of their coaches back for 2012, according to senior director of social media Alyson Footer (on Twitter). GM Ed Wade told McTaggart that pitching coach Doug Brocail has yet to commit to returning in 2012 (Twitter link).
  • First overall pick Gerrit Cole is likely to pitch in the Arizona Fall League this year, Jenifer Langosch writes at MLB.com. The Pirates haven't made an official announcement regarding the right-hander's participation at this point.

Pirates Links: Cole, Draft, Attendance, Maholm

A few links for all of you Bucco fans out there to enjoy on your Saturday afternoons:

  • No. 1 overall pick Gerrit Cole is excited to be joining the up-and-coming Pirates, writes MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch. Cole will pitch in the Pirates' instructional league next month, and GM Neal Huntigton says Cole could head to the Arizona Fall League after that.
  • Tyler Kepner of the New York Times looks at the Pirates' decision to build for the future by investing in the draft rather than spending on Major Leaguers. The Pirates' total spends of $17MM this summer and $47MM over the past four seasons are both more than any organization in baseball.
  • Langosch points out the success of this process by highlighting that the Pirates are just 57,108 fans shy of matching 2010's attendance mark. Tonight's sellout at PNC Park is the club's 16th this season, which is just three sellouts shy of their single-season record.
  • The Pirates may make a 40-man roster move in the coming days to call up a starting pitcher that will replace the injured Paul Maholm, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Biertempfel speculates on Sean Gallagher and Brian Burres. Ross Ohlendorf is also available to return after missing most of the season due to injury.


Draft Notes: Austin, Pirates, Hultzen

The deadline for signing draft picks has passed, but there’s still lots of news about 2011 draftees. The latest: 

  • Padres draftee Brett Austin turned down $1.5MM from San Diego to play for North Carolina State, according to Tom Krasovic of Inside the Padres (Twitter link). San Diego selected the catcher with the 54th overall pick in the draft.
  • As Jim Callis of Baseball America shows, the Pirates, Nationals and Royals lead all MLB teams in bonus expenditures from 2007-11. Four AL East teams – everyone but the Yankees – are next on the list. 
  • Callis also details this year's expenditures, with the Pirates, Nationals and Royals again leading the way. 
  • 2011 draftees Gerrit Cole, Bubba Starling and Danny Hultzen obtained three of the top five bonuses in draft history, according to Callis.

Heyman On Cubs, Marlins, Cole, Posada

Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano could use a change of scenery, as Jon Heyman explains at SI.com. One rival GM considers the right-hander a fourth starter, which matches Tim Dierkes’ assessment of Zambrano from yesterday. Here are the rest of Heyman’s rumors, starting with another note on the Cubs… 

  • Cubs owner Tom Ricketts has had good things to say about GM Jim Hendry, but Heyman hears that Hendry is still “at risk” of losing his job. Despite a weekend report to the contrary, Hendry doesn't have any guarantees. 
  • The Marlins demoted Logan Morrison to the minors because Marlins officials, including manager Jack McKeon, believe the outfielder needs to show more maturity and be less outspoken. It doesn't appear that Morrison will file a grievance.
  • One GM called first overall pick Gerrit Cole a “slam dunk” number one starter, Heyman reports. The Pirates signed the former UCLA right-hander to an $8MM deal on Monday.
  • The Yankees won’t release Jorge Posada, but it appears that he’ll have to earn a spot on their playoff roster.

Pirates Break Draft Records

The Pirates spent $30.6MM on the 2008-10 drafts, more than any other team.  This year they upped the ante, spending over $17MM on 24 players – the largest draft expenditure in baseball history.  Yesterday, the Bucs inked first overall pick Gerrit Cole for a record $8MM bonus, and then surprised the industry by succeeding in signing second round pick/first round talent Josh Bell for $5MM.  Bell, who had a strong commitment to the University of Texas, more than doubled the record for a player drafted outside of the first round.  Both players are represented by Scott Boras, as our agency database shows.  Today's Pirates draft links…

  • Talking to Karen Price of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, GM Neal Huntington explained the team's pursuit of Bell: "His family is obviously strong, they're intelligent and hard-working people, and we had nothing but respect for their perspective.  We wanted the opportunity to explain who we were, how we do things, and we were hoping Josh was ready to take the step to professional baseball if we were to find a common financial ground, and we were able to do that."
  • Cole can make more than $9MM in guaranteed money if he reaches the Majors by 2013, reports MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch.  Price has Huntington explaining that Cole's record minor league deal was the way to go: "There are times where a pure minor league contract and minor league signing bonus, paid out over nine months, is better than a major league contract paid out over five-plus years, depending on how the deals are structured."
  • Just for good measure, the Pirates also set a ninth-round record by signing high school righty Clay Holmes for $1.2MM, according to Baseball America's Jim Callis.  Holmes was one of many over slot deals for the Pirates.

Pirates Sign Gerrit Cole

Gerrit Cole - UCLA

The Pirates have signed first overall pick Gerrit Cole, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). Cole obtains an $8MM deal, according to John Manuel of Baseball America (on Twitter). The Boras corporation represents the hard throwing UCLA product.

Cole stands 6'4" and doesn't turn 21 until the fall. He throws a slider and change-up, plus a fastball that regularly reaches the mid 90s. However, his stuff didn’t translate into the statistical success you’d expect for a first overall pick (teammate Trevor Bauer posted more impressive numbers). Cole finished the season with a 3.31 ERA, 119 strikeouts and 24 walks in 114 1/3 innings – impressive numbers, but certainly not Strasburg-esque. 

Cole has experience as a first rounder. The Yankees selected him out of high school in 2008. He declined to sign, even though he’s a Yankees fan who counts Roger Clemens and Mariano Rivera among his role models.

I spoke to Cole earlier this year; here's my interview transcript.

You can keep track of which top picks have signed with MLBTR's list.


Heyman On Reyes, Ortiz, Cole, Twins

The market for Jose Reyes should still be strong after the season, Jon Heyman writes at SI.com. MLB executives tell Heyman that the Giants, Cardinals, Tigers, Angels, Nationals, Braves, Phillies, Red Sox, Yankees and Mets could be fits for the shortstop in terms of finances and positional need. Here are the rest of Heyman’s rumors…

  • Yankees people suggest they’re unlikely to pursue Reyes and Red Sox people say they don’t expect to spend big on a position player this winter.
  • The Red Sox haven’t discussed a new deal with David Ortiz, though they’re confident that they’ll be able to re-sign him after the season. Ortiz has expressed interest in a multiyear deal for a while, but the Red Sox don’t want to guarantee more than one year.
  • First overall draft pick Gerrit Cole is looking to approach Stephen Strasburg’s $15.1MM bonus and top Mariners pick Danny Hultzen is looking for $13MM plus money for school, Heyman reports. Keep track of which top picks have signed here.
  • The Twins appear to want to keep Joe Nathan when he hits free agency after the season, but they’ll probably let Matt Capps sign elsewhere.

Pirates Notes: Cole, Huntington, Pitching

The Pirates were buyers at the July 31st trade deadline, acquiring Ryan Ludwick and Derrek Lee, but they haven't won a game this month. Here's the latest from Pittsburgh as the 54-59 Pirates look to post their first winning record since 1992…

  • Pirates GM Neal Huntington must sign first overall draft pick Gerrit Cole by next week's deadline, Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes.
  • Kovacevic also says president Frank Coonelly should complete an extension for Huntington, whose contract expires after the season. 
  • Huntington told Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the Pirates could solve their bullpen problems by calling up pitchers such as Tim Wood, Chris Leroux and Danny Moskos
  • Kovacevic points out that the Pirates' dropoff in starting pitching performances has contributed to the club's current ten game losing streak. Paul Maholm agrees that the results have to improve. "It's on us," Maholm said. "We're the ones who go out there and pitch."

Quick Hits: Twins, Ellis, Cole, Hultzen

The Mets released Wily Mo Pena on this date two years ago. The slugger resurfaced with the D'Backs yesterday, when he homered in his first MLB game since 2008. Here are some links for Wednesday night as Pena attempts to hit another homer or two…

  • A scout tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the Twins seem less likely to become sellers than they were a few weeks ago (Twitter link). Minnesota has re-entered the playoff race thanks to a 14-3 tear. 
  • Joe Stiglich of the Bay Area News Group hears that the Giants are not one of the six teams on Mark Ellis’ no-trade list (Twitter link). Ellis has lost his starting second base job in Oakland and the Giants have had internal talks about obtaining him.
  • Jon Heyman of SI.com hears that top draft choices Gerrit Cole (Pirates) and Danny Hultzen (Mariners) will sign for roughly $10MM or so. Two high school arms, Archie Bradley (D’Backs) and Dylan Bundy (Orioles), will likely obtain $6-7MM and some executives see high school outfielder Bubba Starling (Royals) signing for more than Cole or Hultzen.
  • ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick examines the case for expanding active rosters to 26 players. Teams now have sprawling bullpens and demanding travel schedules, so there's support for bigger rosters from Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd, Marlins infielder Wes Helms and others.