Cole had little choice other than to sign the deal. He has less than three years of major-league service, meaning the Pirates have broad authority to set his salary as long as it conforms to the major-league minimum of $507,500.
"They even threatened a salary reduction to the league minimum if I did not agree," Cole told Biertempfel.
On Monday, Cole's agent, Scott Boras, issued a statement on the matter to FOX Sports.
"Every team has the CBA right to control the salaries of non-arbitration-eligible players," Boras said. "The primary consideration within its organization is to distinguish performance among players. If a star player is making near the same compensation as a utility player, the system will be held as unfair among the players in that organization.
"Teams have unilateral control over salaries of their administration. However, GMs and local scouts are not paid on a equivalent basis. Performance separation is rewarded. Further, other clubs recognize star performance and provide substantial salary separation within this class of service.
"Fairness within the organization is paramount to an organizational ethic. In a performance-driven industry, to treat excellence and below-average (production) similarly ... becomes an organizational flu and reveals a incomplete and fractured system."