The Pirates and their top starting pitcher avoided arbitration by agreeing on a one-year deal worth $6.75 million on Friday. Cole went 12-12 with a 4.26 ERA while making a career-high 33 starts in 2017. He has one year of arbitration remaining and could command a hefty salary bump in 2019, one of the reasons the Pirates have explored trading him in recent weeks.
Pittsburgh also reached agreements with shortstop Jordy Mercer and reliever George Kontos. Mercer, who will make $6.75 million in 2018, hit .255 with 14 home runs and 58 RBIs last season. Kontos, acquired from San Francisco at the trade deadline in July, will make $2.725 million.
Closer Felipe Rivero remains eligible for arbitration. He is asking for $2.9 million and the team is offering $2.4 million.