Pirates send former No. 1 pick Gerrit Cole to Triple-A


Pittsburgh has reassigned Gerrit Cole to Triple-A after the former No. 1 overall pick threw 10 spring training innings.

Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette writes that Cole “believes he is ready to pitch in the major leagues and was upset by the reassignment,” but realistically he was always likely to begin this season in the minors considering he’s 22 years old with all of 13 starts above Double-A.

Cole has lived up to the hype since the Pirates selected him out of the UCLA and ranks as a top-10 prospect according to Baseball America, but so far the only players from the 2011 first round to reach the majors are Trevor Bauer and Dylan Bundy (and only briefly in both cases).

Cole was asked whether he thought service time considerations were the cause of his not making the Opening Day roster and replied that “maybe somebody else has a better idea about that.” However, given that he’s made just one start at Triple-A it’s awfully hard to assume the Pirates deciding he needs more time in the minors is anything but development based.

Henderson Alvarez signs with Tigres de Quintana Roo

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Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.

The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.

That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.