When it was announced on Monday that the Pirates top prospect, pitcher Gerrit Cole, would be sent to the minor league camp and wouldn't make the opening day roster, many people questioned the front office's motives.
While gm Neal Huntington said the No. 1 overall selection in the 2011 draft still needed to work on some things in the minors, the consensus opinion among fans and pundits was that the Pirates made the move in order to delay the arbitration clock on Cole and get another year of service out of him.
And you know what? They're probably right. And you know what else? Good.
People want to pile on a team like Pittsburgh every time it makes a move based on finances instead of on competition, but when you're a front office operating under small market constraints--MLB even took away the Pirates advantage of paying high draft picks huge bonuses--that front office shouldn't be criticized for doing what it has to do to survive.
Is Cole already one of the Pirates top pitchers? Maybe, but if he's the kind of pitcher everyone is projecting him to be, by the time he does become a free agent, he's going to want huge money, the kind of money a team like Pittsburgh won't be able to pay.
Why shouldn't the Pirates try to get another year out of a player they signed to a huge rookie contract? They'll develop him, watch him blossom and then watch him leave for a big market team.
Don't hate the Pirates for doing what they feel they must, hate the system that causes such actions.