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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Astros, Pirates have ‘no deal’ for Gerrit Cole yet

Morosi and Rocco DeMaro say yea, Passan says nay.

Mike Emeigh Posted: January 10, 2018 at 03:03 PM | 22 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: astros, gerrit cole, pirates

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   1. There are no words... (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: January 10, 2018 at 03:29 PM (#5604188)
Apparently, Luhnow also demurs...
   2. ??'s Biggest Fan! Posted: January 10, 2018 at 03:48 PM (#5604194)
Someone in the Bucs front office should probably stop spreading these rumors to help drive up the asking price on Cole. Pretty sure Luhnow and Cashman isn't going to blink after two false alarms. Maybe the Pirates front office thinks the Astros and Yankees will just give them Gleyber Torres and Tucker/Whitley just to prevent Luhnow and Cashman's cellphones from constantly blowing up?
   3. Blastin Posted: January 10, 2018 at 04:47 PM (#5604244)
Yeah Pirates not looking good here.
   4. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 10, 2018 at 04:51 PM (#5604251)
The Pirates entire economic model is based on getting undeserved free stuff from more successful teams, why wouldn't they keep pushing the envelope?
   5. ??'s Biggest Fan! Posted: January 10, 2018 at 05:18 PM (#5604263)
why wouldn't they keep pushing the envelope?

Why wouldn't the Pittsburgh ownership sign Cole to a long-term contract? Given how depressed free-agency has been the past 2 off-seasons, it seems like locking a player with Cole's profile is more valuable than any prospects they would hope to bring back... Cole's side would be motivated to avoid free-agency and the Pirates gets more years of control on a guy they can flip at any point in the new contract. Yankees and the White Sox had valuable assets and teams who were desperate for what they were selling at the time of their re-builds. The Pirates are not in the same conversation. Maybe time to get creative and not simply follow other teams' examples?
   6. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: January 10, 2018 at 05:26 PM (#5604267)
The scuttlebutt is that Cole wants to play for the Yankees and would not sign an extension with the Pirates unless they dramatically overpaid, which of course they're not going to. If true, the Astros will encounter the same problem should they acquire him and try to extend him.

Also he's a Boras client, and Boras clients usually don't sign extensions, they go to free agency. Even if the Yankees acquire him they probably won't extend him unless they pay full open market retail.

Not that any of this excuses Bob Nutting for being a despicable thief, mind.
   7. ??'s Biggest Fan! Posted: January 10, 2018 at 06:10 PM (#5604282)
Is 5/$75M enticing enough for Boras? Buy out the final two years of arb and give the Pirates an extra three years of control? Boras would be crazy to turn a long term deal down given his client’s pitching trends. Cole might already have peaked. Teams now value cost certainty and years of control along with on field performance. If a healthy Cole is on the market in July of 2019, Pirates will be sitting pretty with a 30 year old pitcher making $15m a year for 3 more years. You have to at least make an offer to Boras. You at least can buy some good will with fans rather than simply capitulating to your own lack of imagination.
   8. ??'s Biggest Fan! Posted: January 10, 2018 at 06:12 PM (#5604283)
Oh and if Cole really wanted the Yankees, he could have signed when they first drafted him and audit classes at UCLA during the off-season.
   9. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 10, 2018 at 06:24 PM (#5604291)
Someone in the Bucs front office should probably stop spreading these rumors to help drive up the asking price on Cole.


That really isn't their modus operandi - they're notoriously tight-lipped when it comes to negotiations.

I think these stories are coming from Boras, who wants to make sure Cole gets moved to a suitable large-market contender in time to pump up his value before he hits FA in two years. That would explain why none of the rumors include specific pieces coming back the other way, and why Heyman was talking about a "mystery team" in the bidding this afternoon.
   10. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 10, 2018 at 06:31 PM (#5604298)
Oh and if Cole really wanted the Yankees, he could have signed when they first drafted him and audit classes at UCLA during the off-season.


Pre-draft, Cole told them not to pick him because he wanted to go to college, and they picked him anyway because they figured they could leverage his youthful fandom. Which he saw as disrespectful. Doubt he still holds a grudge about it, though.

Why wouldn't the Pittsburgh ownership sign Cole to a long-term contract?


The word is that as soon as they chose him, he made it clear via Boras that he wasn't interested in staying past his six years. He hasn't been a dick about it, but it's just one of those things that everybody here kind of knows.
   11. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 10, 2018 at 06:36 PM (#5604302)
Pirates must be afraid he's going to suck or get hurt. They'll get a better return at the deadline if he pitches well in the first half.
   12. Walt Davis Posted: January 10, 2018 at 09:29 PM (#5604358)
Is 5/$75M enticing enough for Boras?

Unlikely I'd say. Cole is in line for $18-19 M for his last two years of arb so this would be pricing FA years at about 3/$57. It would also have Cole entering FA at age 32, not ideal (not terrible either). Teams will still pay for pitching and Cole is very likely to do substantially better than $19 AAV (not to mention years) if he waits. There is of course the risk of collapse injury but even there he'll get about $7.5 M this year and, unless he's missing the season, around that much next year.

Teams still pay pitchers and they still give them multi-year deals. There are no "trends" with Cole. Last year his K, BB, H/9 were all right in line with his career averages. The only wonky thing was the HR rate which used to be nice and very low (0.5 in 2015-16) to very high (1.4 in 2017). He gave up just 36 HR in his first 579 innings; he gave up 31 in 203 innings last year. Sure, if that HR rate sticks, he won't be a particularly attractive FA option a couple of years from now (though probably no worse than Samardzija or Leake were a couple of years back). If the HR rate goes back to league average or better, he's a very good pitcher.

If you wanted that sort of deal out of Boras, it would probably be more along the lines of 8/$138 -- $18 M over the next two years, $20 M a year after that with an opt-out after 4 or 5 years. That gives his client heaps of security and the option to hit the FA market if things are going well. I'm not saying that would be a smart deal for a team but, come 2020, Boras is probably looking at something like 5/$125 for Cole (unless he tanks or excels).

Some comps ... 2000 or later, ages 22-26, 600-920 IP, ERA+ of 105 to 120 (Cole 782 IP, 112 ERA+) ... returns a whopping 32 pitchers including Cole. Down at 105 ERA+ are Lackey, Kazmir and Pinero; up at 120 are Alex Wood and Jered Weaver. The big names are Cueto, Quintana, Haren, Verlander, Scherzer and Beckett. Lots of exploded arms too of course. Wood and Cole just had their age 26 seasons, Sonny Gray just had his age 27 season.

For ages 27-28:

17 of the 29 made it to at least 300 innings, 12 to 350. If we look at those 17, 7 exceeded a 120 ERA+, frequently by a lot. Four remained in the 105 to 120 range and another five were league-average, leaving one not too good (Kip Well, 87 ERA+). By WAR, 6 reached at least 10 WAR (in two years), another 5 were in a range of 5-8.5 WAR and 6 were nothing special but even Kip topped 1 WAR over 2 years. (A 2 WAR season is about 180 IP of league average so it's not that easy to hit). FWIW, in his age 27 season, Gray put up a 124 ERA+ so that's mildly promising.

So, if he stays healthy over the next two years, Cole has about a 1/3 chance of pitching much better, about 1/3 of pitching the same, about 1/3 of dropping to league average and some fairly small chance of collapse. That's just crude, not controlling for K-rates or anything like that.

The less healthy group generally provided a full season's worth over two years (180 to 260 innings). Of these 8, 3 produced at about the same rate in terms of ERA+ and WAR but the other 5 were Wellsian. Then there were three guys who essentially missed both seasons -- Matt Harrison, Jair Jurrjens and Scott Kazmir.

Of course some of the unhealthy guys came back and some of the healthy guys got unhealthy. So it's worthwhile to look over a longer time frame. Let's do the 5 year suggested buyout, covering ages 27-31.

14 of the 26 (dropping guys currently younger than 30) stayed pretty healthy from Freddy Garcia at 727 IP to Verlander at 1138 IP. By ERA+ I guess it looks about the same -- 5 of the 14 were average-ish (89 ERA+ to 98), 5 guys stayed between 105 and 120, 4 guys topped 120 led by Scherzer's 133. In WAR terms, 7 guys are in the range of 19-30 and another two are at 12 and 15 but those average-ish guys are just getting killed -- Garza pitched 769 innings at a 98 ERA+ and that's just 5 WAR? Gallardo pitched just 37 innings more at a 95 ERA+ and got 7 WAR? Man pitcher WAR is just counter-intuitive sometimes.

Then there are 6 guys in the 500s in IP, from Kip Wells -1 WAR to Kazmir's 6 WAR. And then there are the broken arms of Harrison, Jurrjens, Ricky Romero, Latos (still only 30), Kerry Wood and Wade Miller. Wood still at least pitched well, some in relief, and got credit for 6 WAR but otherwise there's no value here.

By the way, before anybody scoffs at Jered Weaver, for ages 26-31 we are talking about >1000 IP, 126 ERA+ and 23 bWAR. He's the guy you want to opt out of that 8-year deal!

As we know, pitchers are just a health gamble. If we use $8/WAR, then 6 of these guys were worth $160-240 M over these 5 seasons -- you could buy out Cole's 2 arb years at $20 M then pay him $30 M for 3 FA years and still come out way ahead on the deal if he pitches like these guys. You even do OK if he pitches like Freddy Garcia (12 bWAR), about break even.

But then there's a huge gap between Garcia at 12 WAR and Gallardo at 7. Now you're taking a hit even if you got Cole at 5/$75. About 1/3 of the comps are in the 3-7 WAR range ... and then you've got the 1/3 that provided almost nothing.

A mean projection here doesn't really work -- it's probably around 8 WAR -- and a median is no different (around 6). It's high risk, high reward.

Contrary to what I said earlier, this might be a well-timed buyout from Cole's perspective. Ages 27-28 did end up being make or break points for these guys generally. Either they stepped up and stayed up through at least 31; they maintained then mostly faded (1/3); or they'd already signaled they were in trouble. The risk for him is there too -- if he can at least maintain at 27-28 (2/3 chance), he'll probably get a good deal at 29 then it won't matter financially if he does fade while if he extended through 31, there's about a 2/3 chance he'll have faded by then and missed his one chance at really big years/money.
   13. Zonk, Genius of the Stables Posted: January 10, 2018 at 10:03 PM (#5604374)
So, is it me just having a hazy thought and my mind just formulating evidence to support it -- or does it seems like the Huntington-era Pirates have a real habit of pitchers peaking fairly early then rapidly falling off a cliff by age ~30?

Cole certainly hasn't done that yet - but his stock seems down and on that general trajectory (I think the Pirates would do well to sell on him now)... but I guess I'm just thinking of guys like Snell, Gorzelanny, Maholm, Karstens, Locke... I'd say Morton, too - but he looks to be resurrected.

None of them had the ceilings of Cole, of course, but it just feels like the last ~10 years or so - the Pirates have actually had pretty good success with pitchers in their early/mid 20s looking like potential rotation mainstays, only for them to go bust just as they reach the point when it comes to getting those FA paydays.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying that the Pirates are bad developing pitching (quite the opposite, at least in the Huntington era). Likewise - they've had plenty success bringing in older vets to provide them great value (Wandy, AJ Burnett, etc).

I'm just saying it feels like pitchers who cut their teeth with the Bucs - and have some success and look like promising bets to have at least solid citizen careers in their 30s seem to have a scary pumpkkin turning propensity when they hit ~30.

   14. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: January 10, 2018 at 10:09 PM (#5604377)
The scuttlebutt is that Cole wants to play for the Yankees


I support compulsory retirement for Gerrit Cole.
   15. Rennie's Tenet Posted: January 10, 2018 at 11:47 PM (#5604428)
i'm just saying it feels like pitchers who cut their teeth with the Bucs - and have some success and look like promising bets to have at least solid citizen careers in their 30s seem to have a scary pumpkkin turning propensity when they hit ~30.


I think there might be some mind tricks afoot. The guys you mention, plus some others like Zach Duke and James McDonald, all had hot streaks and some even had decent seasons, but I don't think any of them strung together a couple of seasons that would be considered solid in the back end of a contender's rotation. Gorzelanny was probably the best talent of the group, he may have been ridden too hard in 2007 as the previous regime tried to save itself and he may not have had much to give under Huntington.
   16. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: January 11, 2018 at 12:19 AM (#5604439)
So, is it me just having a hazy thought and my mind just formulating evidence to support it -- or does it seems like the Huntington-era Pirates have a real habit of pitchers peaking fairly early then rapidly falling off a cliff by age ~30?


This is the norm for all pitchers, not just Pirates pitchers.
   17. QLE Posted: January 11, 2018 at 03:47 AM (#5604450)
This is the norm for all pitchers, not just Pirates pitchers.


A thought that unites fans of the early 2000s Cubs and the early 2010s Giants!
   18. ??'s Biggest Fan! Posted: January 11, 2018 at 03:04 PM (#5604851)
it's just one of those things that everybody here kind of knows

If Cole/Boras' intentions on free agency have been very explicit and well-known in Pittsburgh since Cole was drafted, how is the Pirates front office even able to ask for multiple prospects from their trading partners? It seems like the Pirates are backed into a corner, their only options are losing Cole for nothing or getting pennies on the dollar.
   19. Khrushin it bro Posted: January 12, 2018 at 12:40 PM (#5605461)
This is the norm for all pitchers, not just Pirates pitchers.


Ahh the Zito syndrome.
   20. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 12, 2018 at 12:55 PM (#5605477)
how is the Pirates front office even able to ask for multiple prospects from their trading partners? It seems like the Pirates are backed into a corner, their only options are losing Cole for nothing or getting pennies on the dollar.


They've got him under control for two more years, they can afford to pay him what he's due to earn, and he doesn't have any restrictions on where he can be traded. So they don't have to trade him now, or to any particular team, if they don't get an offer commensurate with his on-field value.
   21. Sweatpants Posted: January 12, 2018 at 01:14 PM (#5605494)
Cole certainly hasn't done that yet - but his stock seems down and on that general trajectory (I think the Pirates would do well to sell on him now)... but I guess I'm just thinking of guys like Snell, Gorzelanny, Maholm, Karstens, Locke... I'd say Morton, too - but he looks to be resurrected.
Some of those guys were just marginal talents who had fluke seasons rather than good pitchers who declined quickly. Locke wasn't very good. Snell had just the one good year, although in his case I think there were other issues.
   22. JJ1986 Posted: January 13, 2018 at 06:27 PM (#5606056)
Joe Musgrove and Colin Moran seems like an awfully light return.

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