Jim Bowden said something in Rob Biertempfel's Trib piece today that I hadn't thought much about:
"That team is making huge strides, but it’s not ready to be a World Series contender," Bowden said. "They’re not ready for a Hamels or Greinke rent-a-player. A splashy deal now could really backfire in a few years."
A better plan this year, Bowden said, would be to part with mid-level prospects for a position player, call up Marte and add Cole to the rotation in September.
The Pirates likely need to improve their rotation, but if the trade market doesn't work out for them, adding Cole should be on the table. I'm sure the Pirates feel he's not through developing, but given his stuff, he's potentially already good enough to help. They could also send him to the bullpen, similar to the Yankees with Joba Chamberlain in 2007. The Bucs could then send Cole back to Class AAA next year to continue to develop.
I'm sure some of you are going to hate this idea. The Pirates generally take a conservative approach with their prospects, as they should. But there are times when you can make exceptions, and if the Pirates are still in this in a month, that might be one of them. There's no reason six weeks in the big leagues should ruin Cole's development. The better question, for me, is whether Cole is good enough to help right now. He already struggled through one of his three starts for Altoona, and he allowed a homer in yesterday's Futures Game. He seems to get excited on big stages right now, and the Pirates would have to feel like he has his emotions under control.