Neal Huntington: ‘We fully anticipate Felipe will be closing the next (Pirates) playoff games’
The MLB trade deadline 10 days away, Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neal Huntington on Sunday was asked about the prospects of trading his most-marketable player.
In meeting with reporters at PNC Park minutes before first pitch of the game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Huntington explained that it was part of his job to listen to inquiries about any of his players – even Felipe Vazquez, the lefty closer whom it’s been widely reported the Los Angeles Dodgers highly covet.
“But,” Huntington said, “we fully anticipate Felipe will be closing the next playoff games that we’re a part of.”
Vazquez is signed through 2021 at a total of about $14 million between now and then, with club options for 2022 and 2023 at $10 million each season. He has converted 21 of 22 saves this season and 49 of his past 52 opportunities overall – a 94.2% rate that leads all closers in that time.
Two years ago in spring training, Kent Tekulve, Pirates’ second all-time saves leader, approached Felipe Vazquez https://t.co/GT3bLi4mD4
— Tribune-ReviewSports (@TribSports) July 21, 2019
Vazquez entered Sunday with 65 strikeouts, fourth-most among MLB relievers. It would be the third consecutive season he finishes among the top six in strikeouts out of the bullpen.
“We certainly understand why his name gets floated; he’s one of the best relievers in baseball,” Huntington said. “We’re sitting behind a handful of teams; there is a history of teams sitting behind a handful of teams being willing to trade players, so it makes sense.
“(But) we also have four-plus years of potential contribution from one of the best relievers in baseball. My job is to listen when someone makes the call, but we’re not the one placing the calls to see what’s out there. If somebody wants to explore anybody on our club, we have to.”
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .