The Pirates’ decision to retain All-Star closer Felipe Vazquez beyond Wednesday’s Trade Deadline was, first and foremost, a statement about the trade market. But keeping Vazquez was also, in a way, a vote of confidence in the Pirates’ core.
Even if this season is spiraling downward, the Bucs believe they could be a postseason contender as soon as next season. So nights like Friday, when the Pirates rode two big innings to an 8-4 win over the Mets at PNC Park, still matter even if they’ve fallen out of this year’s postseason race.
The Pirates hold that belief even though the roster that has struggled to only four wins in 20 games since the All-Star break is largely the group that will return next season. A strong finish won’t guarantee anything come Opening Day 2020, but it could reinforce the front office’s faith in this team.