Neal Huntington: Rest Is Best For Cole; Pirates Want To Keep Nova

PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington joined “The Fan Morning Show” on Thursday, and with the Bucs in the midst of a losing skid, the interview had an eye toward the future.

First off, Gerrit Cole was shut down by the Pirates this week, putting the end to an injury-riddled season. Cole’s elbow issues have raised a lot of red flags, but Huntington said that, as it stands now, he won’t need surgery.

“It’s just continued inflammation in the posterior part of his elbow,” Huntington said. “Ligament is not involved, just continuing to feel discomfort. It affected him, it affected how he was pitching, it affected his ability to execute pitches- and rather than continue to run him out there and take the chance of him injuring something else because he’s protecting the elbow, or he doesn’t feel right, we decided that it was in all of our best interests…to go ahead to turn his calendar to next year, and get him ready for next year…The only thing that will help it at this point is rest.”

With the rotation unstable, re-signing free-agent-to-be pitcher Ivan Nova becomes much more important for the Pirates. Huntington knows this, and wants to get something done with Nova, but says that it’s out of his hands for now.

“If it were unilateral, he’d be re-signed by right now, but again, it’s not,” Huntington said. “There are two parties involved in negotiation…He’s close to free agency, and typically, when a player gets this close to free agency – whether it’s four months, two months, or four weeks away from free agency – it becomes something where, unless that player is absolutely die-hard to stay, and is absolutely motivated to stay – as David Freese was – it becomes very challenging to sign that player unless you beat that expected market, which is tough to in some situations.”

Trading for a starting pitcher is also an option, and Huntington said that the club won’t be afraid to deal prospects to acquire talent if they see an opportunity.

“You have a farm system for two reasons,” Huntington said. “One is those players come up and they help you win directly because they’re in your lineup, they’re in your rotation, they’re in your bullpen, they’re on your bench. Or, two, you move those young players for major league players that will help you win games at the major league level.”

“We’ll have some ammunition to make trades if the appropriate trades are out there.”

The interview can be heard here:

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