Over the weekend there was another report on the White Sox’s efforts to trade left handed starting pitcher Jose Quintana. CBS Chicago’s Bruce Levine indicated that the Astros, Cardinals, Pirates and Yankees were still very much involved in trade talks for the pitcher.
On the surface, it appears that the Cardinals would be a good landing spot for Quintana. The organization has prospects that it could send to the White Sox in exchange for him and they appear to have a need after Alex Reyes was lost for the season to Tommy John surgery. But that assumes that Reyes was a real candidate for the fifth starter spot, and as I wrote last week, I think that spot was Michael Wacha‘s all along.
That’s not to say that Quintana isn’t a pitcher worth acquiring.
Over the past four seasons, the 28 year old Quintana has been the model of consistency on the pitching mound. His ERA ranged from 3.51 in 2013 to 3.20 in 2016 and he has logged at least 200 innings in each of those four seasons. The most attractive part of him may be that he is owed just $38 million over the next four seasons.
He is a young pitcher in his prime, has proved himself as dependable, and has cost control for multiple. Everyone dreams of having a pitcher like this in their rotation. The White Sox know this.
The White Sox traded three years of Chris Sale for Yoan Moncada (Red Sox’s #2 prospect but was baseball’s midseason #1 prospect), Michael Kopech (Red Sox’s #3 prospect), Luis Alexander Basabe (Red Sox’s #8 prospect) and Victor Diaz (single-A pitcher who can hit triple digits with his fastball).
So four years of Jose Quintana would most likely require four well rated prospects, especially when you consider he has been as good or better than Sale the past two seasons. Both left handed, Sale is a year younger though Quintana is cheaper and comes with an additional year of control.
The Cardinals are in a tough spot.
While I do agree with some writers who believe that it may be easier for the Cardinals to work a trade now that Reyes is off the table because of his injury, I still feel that outside of Reyes, the Cardinals lack the high level prospects necessary to get such a deal done. Mozeliak spoke over the winter that it became clear that a trade would require a quantity of prospects in their lack of quality, and the White Sox are noted in Levine’s piece to be looking for quality over quantity.
If you were going to dig deep for a trade, Quintana seems like as safe an addition as you can make. I personally believe the Cardinals are committed to their current rotation for now and I don’t see the organization making any substantial trades this year.
However, I could see a scenario where Mozeliak talks himself into acquiring a proven contributor like Quintana who he has for multiple seasons of control. Especially in an environment where the minor league contributions at the Major League level over those years seems like it could be suspect.
I don’t see any move for him now, but as we get into late June, if Michael Wacha is not putting together the season the organization is hoping to receive from him, that may be revisited.