BUCKHANNON – Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
For the Pittsburgh Pirates, they just seem to be damned.
A few weeks ago in my column during the All-Star Break, I said it would be interesting to see if the Pirates become buyers or sellers at the MLB trade deadline.
Interesting was hardly the word I would use at this point.
Following the All-Star game, the Pirates promptly went out and lost 16 of 19 and plummeted to the bottom of the National League standings.
So with the season in ruins, that of course made the Pirates sellers at the Wednesday trade deadline.
They had a few interesting pieces to move, including closer Felipe Vazquez who they could have gotten a king’s ransom for.
I was actually eager to see who the Pirates would trade off and bring in since the season is basically over.
And what did the Pirates do? Literally nothing.
They dealt struggling starting pitcher Jordan Lyles to Milwaukee and shipped outfielder Corey Dickerson to Philadelphia.
As I said in my previous column, Dickerson was gone whether or not the Pirates were buyers or sellers. He was set to be a free agent at the end of the season and the Pirates weren’t going to pick up his $8 million salary with the emergence of Bryan Reynolds in the outfield.
But back to Vazquez.
The Pirates and Dodgers were reportedly in talks about making a trade happen for Vazquez, but the Dodgers weren’t willing to give up top prospect Gavin Lux.
Of course the Pirates shouldn’t have dealt Vazquez if they felt they weren’t getting proper market value in return, but not one major league team was willing to put together an attractive package for Vazquez?
Pirates general manager Neal Huntington put his spin on the non-deal of Vazquez saying, “While we’ve not put ourselves at the present time to be a playoff-caliber club, the optimism remains there that we’re going to fight as hard as we can this year to turn that around. If not, we are going to work to be a postseason club next year. To have a player the caliber of Felipe Vazquez is incredibly helpful to do that.”
The Pirates are doing absolutely nothing that indicates they are going to turn anything around this season.
And next season is what puzzles me the most about the Pirates lack of selling at the deadline.
What does Huntington see in a 47-61 team that will allow them to contend next year? We all know they won’t make any huge deals in the off-season to get better.
So just what is the plan here?
As usual when you are talking about the Pirates, no one is really sure.
At least football season is right around the corner.