basketball 1 week ago

Report: Pirates not ready to begin rebuild, Cole deal 'unlikely'

theScore — Simon Sharkey-Gotlieb

Gerrit Cole may want to hold off on searching for housing outside the Pittsburgh metropolitan area.

Sources close to the club told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the Pirates, despite sitting seven games under .500 after play Sunday, are not intent on beginning a rebuild this summer. That line of thinking would make a midseason trade of Cole "unlikely" to happen, reports Rosenthal.

This report would appear to fall in line with the words of general manager Neal Huntington earlier this season. Huntington responded to speculation about a Cole trade in May by stating that he plans for the 26-year-old to "be a Pirate for a while."

Related: Cole will 'be a Pirate for a while,' claims GM

A Cole deal this summer could potentially net the Pirates some significant prospects in return and kick-start a full-scale rebuild, while also opening the door for more of the team's promising young arms to join the rotation. However, trading him now would also mean the small-market club - whose current payroll of $104,098,424 ranks 23rd in the league, per Spotrac.com - would be surrendering two full seasons of control over the player, and the Pirates may not be ready to do that just yet.

Cole has another two seasons of arbitration eligibility before hitting free agency, and is making just $3.75 million this year.

Cole emerged as a potential trade candidate after he began 2017 looking more like his old All-Star self instead of last year's injury-plagued disappointment. But he's been mired in a rough patch of late, owning an 8.20 ERA while allowing eight home runs over his last five outings; opponents have hit him at a .356 clip over that stretch, and his season ERA has risen by nearly two runs.

Still, he showed signs of coming out of the funk in his most recent outing on June 13, when he allowed just a run on three hits in seven innings against the red-hot Rockies, albeit while pitching on seven days' rest.

The MLB-leading Houston Astros have already been connected to Cole this season.

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