"I'm not an employee of the team," Cole said to an Astros spokesperson, according to Hunter Atkins of the Houston Chronicle. "I guess as a representative of myself ..." Cole continued, and then he addressed reporters.
The 29-year-old is hitting free agency and is poised to earn a massive contract wherever he signs.
A client of agent Scott Boras, Cole's apparel during his media availability hinted that he is looking to cash in.
(Video courtesy: MLB.com)
"It was a pleasure to play in the city of Houston," he told reporters.
Cole was short when asked follow-up questions about his future, saying he has yet to think about where he'll play next season.
Even though Cole threw 110 pitches over seven innings in Game 5 on Sunday, he was available to enter Game 7. He was seen warming in the bullpen at various times, but he was never called upon by skipper AJ Hinch.
Still, Cole tipped his cap to the Nationals as he expressed his surprise that no home team won a single game in the series.
"They're a good team," he said, according to Alyson Footer of MLB.com. "I don't want to say I'm so shocked that they can win four games (at Minute Maid Park). But I think both teams would have imagined that somebody would have been able to defend their home turf at least once."
If this is the end of his Astros tenure, Cole left an indelible mark on the franchise. In two regular seasons, he went 35-10 with a 2.68 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, and 602 strikeouts in 412 2/3 innings, and he is a candidate for the 2019 American League Cy Young Award.