Travis Sawchik doesn't understand why the Pirates are squabbling with Cole over a few thousand dollars.
I totally agree with Travis on that point, if not all of his big-picture concerns about what this could mean with Cole and the current system.
The fact is that teams have the financial hammer early in a player's career and the player has it later, and as Travis wrote, it's very likely that Cole will walk away as a free agent. It's business, not personal, and the system is never going to be completely fair to young players or small-market teams like the Pirates.
But an effort to be just a little closer to fair with Cole, to provide more peace of mind for him as he leads the staff into the regular season, would also seem like a good investment in the 2016 Pirates. If Pittsburgh paid him, say, $750,000 instead of $541,000, it'd at least be a gesture of acknowledgment of how important he is to the team — and the difference of about $200,000, a pittance in the sport these days, could make some difference between Cole feeling appreciated or feeling cynical as he goes about his day-to-day work.