Over the weekend, Bucs ace Gerrit Cole made it known that he was unhappy about having his salary renewed for $541K. As it turns out, the Pirates haven’t talked to him about a more significant raise, either. The Pirates have not approached Cole about a multi-year extension, either in this year or in previous years, sources tell Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (via Twitter).
Cole, 25, turned in his best season yet for the Pirates in 2015. The former No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft posted a 2.60 ERA with 8.7 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 across 32 starts, earning his first All-Star nod and some votes for the NL Cy Young Award. Despite cementing himself as one of the game’s brightest young arms over the last three years, the team has not come to Cole to discuss a new, long-term pact that would buy out his arb years or add team control past the 2019 season.
The Pirates have, in recent years, been amongst the game’s most aggressive teams in pursuing early-career extensions. One has to wonder if the Pirates have been warded off by agent Scott Boras when it comes to discussing a new deal with their top pitcher, but it’s not as though Boras has never done a deal involving free agent years. As MLBTR’s Extension Tracker shows, Boras has negotiated deals involving free agent years with notable clients including Jered Weaver, Elvis Andrus, Carlos Gomez, Carlos Gonzalez, Carlos Pena, and Ryan Madson.
From the outside, one would imagine that Cole and outfielder Gregory Polanco represent the Pirates’ top extension priorities. In the past, the Pirates have had extension talks with Polanco and the two sides were reportedly close on reaching a deal. Even though those discussions seem to have been tabled, it’s evident that Pittsburgh is still in the business of working out multi-year extensions with its young talent. To date, however, that group does not include Cole.