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Report: No deal in place for Gerrit Cole

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UPDATE: Well, this is certainly a shock: Jeff Passan hears from a source that there is no deal in place for Gerrit Cole and that all of this was a “false rumor.” Passan says that doesn’t mean nothing will happen, but it seems that the report of a deal in place was wrong.

Back to the cold hot stove, I suppose.

11:53 AM: Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that the Pittsburgh Pirates have agreed to trade starter Gerrit Cole to the Houston Astros. We’re still awaiting word on what players Houston will send back to the Pirates in exchange.

Adding Cole gives the Astros an outstanding 1-2-3-4 punch with Justin VerlanderDallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers in 2018. Keuchel, of course, becomes a free agent after the 2018 season, so Cole’s presence will help cushion the blow of him leaving after the season, assuming he leaves.

Cole went 12-12 with a 4.26 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 196/55 in 203 innings across 33 starts for the Pirates in 2017. He is only two seasons removed from a 19-8, 2.60 campaign in 2015, and he’s still just 27, so he’s an excellent bounceback candidate for 2018.

Oakland Athletics reverse course: will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.