Cole has not yet been informed of a deal, according to a person close to him.
Cole is coming off a season where he posted a 12-12 record with a 4.26 ERA.
Credit Ryan Poppe
However, the 2011 No. 1 overall pick still has top-of-the-rotation stuff with a fastball in the upper-90s and a plus curveball and changeup. His best season came in 2015 when he went 19-8 with a 2.60 ERA and 202 strikeouts in 32 starts.
From Pittsburgh's perspective, losing someone of Cole's caliber is hard to swallow, especially as a smaller-market team that doesn't always attract marquee free agents.
The report comes after weeks of speculation that Cole could be headed to the New York Yankees.
The Yankees' rotation now includes Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray and CC Sabathia. He helped lead the Pirates to the postseason, but he coughed up four earned runs in five innings during a loss against the Chicago Cubs in the National League Wild Card Game.More news: The Shape of Water leads race for British Academy Awards