Cole refutes rumors he wants to play on West Coast: 'Never said that'
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Free-agent ace Gerrit Cole has refuted league-wide speculation that he wants to play on the West Coast, including some from a former Houston Astros teammate.

"No, that’s not a fair assumption," the AL Cy Young finalist said on Thursday, according to Hunter Atkins of the Houston Chronicle. "I never said that."

Cole, a Southern California native, was responding to comments that Josh Reddick made prior to the ALCS. The Astros outfielder said the pitcher "probably wants to be closer to home," and "it's definitely going to be west of Nevada."

Cole also addressed his cryptic behavior that hinted at him leaving the team following Houston's Game 7 loss in the World Series on Wednesday.

"I was upset, and my tone did not come off quite the way I wanted it to," the 29-year-old said. "One win away. We had the lead with eight outs to go. It's just a tough pill to swallow."

The three-time All-Star added that he wore a branded hat with agent Scott Boras' logo on it during his postgame scrum because it's "a good luck charm." Cole said the hat wasn't connected to his relationship with the Astros, and the veteran had been wearing it for months, mostly on days when he pitched.

Cole did pen a heartfelt message to the Astros and their fans on Thursday that appeared to be a goodbye note.

The hard-throwing righty was arguably baseball's best pitcher in 2019. He posted a 2.50 ERA while leading the majors with 326 strikeouts, and his 7.4 WAR led all hurlers.

After his monster walk year, Cole is primed to receive a record-breaking deal in excess of $200 million during free agency. The Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, and San Diego Padres would likely pursue him if he heads home to California. Meanwhile, the New York Yankees are also rumored to be interested in him, but they're located on the East Coast.

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Cole refutes rumors he wants to play on West Coast: 'Never said that'
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