In an interview with Rob Biertempfel, Gerrit Cole is not happy with his 2016 salary. According to Cole, he was offered a figure with only a $7,000 raise and if he didn’t take it, he would be paid the league minimum.
"“They even threatened a salary reduction to the league minimum if I did not agree,” Cole said."
This won’t help any future negotiations with the Pirates ace, who is under team control for three more seasons after this one. But it probably won’t matter. He will be eligible for arbitration next season where the salary figures will start to climb.
The Pirates are playing by their own internal rules and the rules of the MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement. The team gives raises of $7,000 to players in their first three years of control. The CBA only requires the league minimum the first three years which is $507,000.
Of course, Cole’s agent Scott Boras had something to say about the situation to Biertempfel.
"“What kind of message does that send to players? The best deserve the best. You should reward the best. I can’t believe that is a Bob Nutting-approved (salary) system. It doesn’t ring with the conversations Bob and I had when Gerrit signed.”"
It is probably a long shot that Cole will be signed long-term before he is eligible for free agency. Boras rarely gives up his client’s free agency years unless the money is significant. And we all know the Pirates won’t be paying significant money any time soon.
Boras is doing what he is supposed to do for his client, but it doesn’t really faze me. The rules are the rules. Until they change, the Pirates can play by the rules. I am sure Boras would not give money back if his client had a big-money contract and stunk last season.
The Pirates can basically do whatever they want with Cole until he is eligible for free agency after the 2019 season. They can low ball him, call him names, trash talk his family etc. It won’t matter. As soon as the Pirates offer a 6-year, $200 million deal, all would be forgiven. Of course, we know that won’t be happening.