Murray Chass suggests that Gerrit Cole was kept in AAA to delay arbitration.

According to a recent blog entry on his website, the Pirates kept starter Gerrit Cole down in AAA earlier this year in order to keep him an extra year and be able to cheat him out of salary.

Now it’s possible that the Pirates would need even fewer victories the rest of the way had they called up Gerrit Cole earlier than they did.

Cole was the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft, and the Pirates promoted him to make his first major league start June 11. He won that one, he won his most recent start last Friday and he won the one in between. He has allowed 7 earned runs in 18 1/3 innings for a 3.44 e.r.a.

Maybe he wouldn’t have won any more games had the Pirates started his major league career sooner, but maybe, just maybe, he would have and maybe the Pirates would now be in first place in the National League Central.

But I forgot. Cole needed more work in the minors before the Pirates called him up at the same time – late May, early June – as a bunch of other good young prospects were promoted. They all needed more work. And their teams needed more time to make sure the players would have their eligibility for salary arbitration delayed a year.

Yes, dear readers, it’s all legal, but the practice of ill repute undermines the integrity of the game and cheats the fans.

You might have read a recent e-mail I printed here from a Pittsburgh reader saying he doesn’t mind having Cole’s eligibility delayed because he’d rather that the team has him for an extra year before he could be a free agent. But eligibility delayed could turn out this year to be playoffs denied.

Considering he didn't even know what year Mr. Cole was drafted, how would he know if Cole needed to work on things in the minors or not? If the Pirates miss the playoffs by one game this year or two games, he might have a point. And he might not. He might have been terrible with the Pirates in April and sent back down anyways. If they win the division this year over the Reds and Cards, will that disprove his point entirely? I wonder if they make it in as a wild card team, will Chass say that they missed winning the division because they kept Cole down in AAA too long?

It seems like Chass in recent years has made an extra effort to pick on the Pirates front office. I don't like everything that Huntington and company have done, but a lot of his complaints aren't a whole lot better than what we could read over at Smizikistan. Oh noes, he traded away Nate the Great and Eric Hinske and Ian Snell. They could field a team with those guys! If they can trade Nyjer Morgan, they can trade away Andrew McCutchen! (I'll give him credit for never having spelled his name McCutcheon) And Ross Ohlendorf got a raise based on statistics that go beyond his 2010 1-11 record! Pirates lose again before the season starts!

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the managing editor (Charlie) or SB Nation. FanPosts are written by Bucs Dugout readers.

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