In 2015, the Pirates won 98 games. At the break, they were 2.5 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the N.L. Central. This Pirates team most certainly won't win 98 games, but they find themselves in the same spot as the 2015 squad.
We're still more than a month away from the trade deadline, but it's not too early to have a conversation about what the plan should be. If they're still within striking distance of the division at the deadline, I think they should, at a minimum, stand pat.
If they were ONLY chasing the Wild Card, I'd have a different philosophy. But they're not. They're in the division race.
If the Pirates fall short of making the playoffs, they could still sell off assets in the offseason or next year at the deadline.
As Herm Edwards said, "you play to win the game." The Bucs are lucky to only be 2.5 games back after being 30-38 a month ago. But, the Pirates are closer to first place in the division than any second place team in baseball.
Circumstance matters. For example, in 2015, the Pirates won 98 games but couldn't win the division. That's bad luck.
This year, maybe the baseball gods could even things out.
Sure, the Pirates are flawed, but so is the rest of the division. The Cubs are nine games under .500 on the road. The Reds can't hit. The Brewers, like the Pirates, have a negative run differential.
A month ago, I wanted the Pirates to sell. It's funny how time changes things.
It's hard to win a division. The Pirates haven't done so since 1992. The organization owes it to the players and to the fans to take a shot at raising a N.L. Central banner.