Pirates reach one-year deal with RHP Cole

Reuters

The Pittsburgh Pirates and ace right-hander Gerrit Cole agreed on a one-year, $6.75 million contract on Friday to avoid arbitration.

Cole received a $3 million raise from 2017, when he went 12-12 with a 4.26 ERA.

The Pirates also agreed to deals with shortstop Jordy Mercer (one year, $6.75 million) and right-handed reliever George Kontos (one year, $2.725 million).

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The agreement with Cole comes as trade speculation swirls around the 27-year-old. The Houston Astros and New York Yankees both reportedly have strong interest.

One report earlier this week suggested the Astros were close to acquiring Cole, but Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow told the Houston Chronicle that a deal wasn't "imminent."

Cole has a 59-42 record with a 3.50 ERA in parts of five seasons with the Pirates. The No. 1 overall choice in the 2011 draft finished fourth in the National League Cy Young balloting in 2015 when he went 19-8 with a 2.60 ERA and made his lone All-Star team.

Mercer batted .255 with a career-best 14 homers last season, while Kontos compiled a 3.39 ERA in 65 appearances split between the San Francisco Giants and Pirates.

--Field Level Media

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