Paying Cole more would be smart business move for Pirates

Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neal Huntington responded to what starting pitcher Gerrit Cole said about his contract.

Travis Sawchik doesn't understand why the Pirates are squabbling with Cole over a few thousand dollars.

I totally agree with Travis on that point, if not all of his big-picture concerns about what this could mean with Cole and the current system.

The fact is that teams have the financial hammer early in a player's career and the player has it later, and as Travis wrote, it's very likely that Cole will walk away as a free agent. It's business, not personal, and the system is never going to be completely fair to young players or small-market teams like the Pirates.

But an effort to be just a little closer to fair with Cole, to provide more peace of mind for him as he leads the staff into the regular season, would also seem like a good investment in the 2016 Pirates. If Pittsburgh paid him, say, $750,000 instead of $541,000, it'd at least be a gesture of acknowledgment of how important he is to the team -- and the difference of about $200,000, a pittance in the sport these days, could make some difference between Cole feeling appreciated or feeling cynical as he goes about his day-to-day work.