Breaking Down the Jose Quintana Trade
Oh my gosh, it happened! The Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox executed the improbable crosstown blockbuster. The White Sox sent 2016 All-Star, Jose Quintana, to the Cubs for a prospect package consisting of Eloy Jimenez (OF), Dylan Cease (RHP), Matt Rose (1B/3B), and Bryant Flete (INF). I am going to breakdown the ramifications that this insane deal has on both clubs.
What does this mean for the Cubs?
The Cubs have now added some stability to a rotation that has been anything but. Quintana will be able to slot in as their number two starter immediately. Even though Quintana struggled so far this season, he has showing improvement of late posting a 2.70 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and 10.13 K/9 over his last 7 starts. Not to mention he has been arguably a top 15 pitcher over the previous 5 seasons. Throughout those years Quintana kept his ERA in the mid-low 3s with a combined WAR of 20.2. For comparison, Madison Bumgarner had a war of 19.8 over the same time period. The cherry on top of this is Quintana’s extremely cheap contract. He is due to make $8.85 million in 2018 and has team options in 2019 and 2020 for $10.5 million each. His contract is immensely valuable when you compare it to other player of his caliber. For example, a 37-year-old Rich Hill signed a 3-year deal worth $48 million last offseason with the Dodgers. Quintana will be an instant boost to a stagnant rotation that has suffered from injuries (Kyle Hendricks) and regression (John Lackey, Jake Arrieta, and even Jon Lester). To get such a valuable asset the Cubs had to give up valuable assets, which I will break down below.
What does this mean for the White Sox?
Rick Hahn and the White Sox management did an extremely effective job of getting the return the desired for Quintana. The White Sox picked up two consensus top 100 prospects in Eloy Jimenez (#8 according to MLB.com) and Dylan Cease (#63 according to MLB.com) along with Matt Rose and Bryant Flete. Jimenez has the potential to be a superstar. He has a plus to plus-plus power grade and a solid hit tool to go along with it. He most likely will not win any Gold Gloves but has the potential to be an effective corner outfielder and already has a powerful arm. He has been hitting well in High A ball and I have seen mentions of his ceiling being on the Giancarlo Stanton level. As for Dylan Cease, the White Sox have added to their arsenal of fire-balling right-handed pitchers. Cease has electric stuff but still has a lot of development ahead. He has an elite fastball that sits at 93-97 but has reached 100 as well as a wipe out 12-6 curveball. He still needs time to work on his changeup and form it into an effective pitch but he has legitimate top of the rotation upside. The two prospects on the end of the deal are not as highly touted as Jimenez and Cease. Neither were ranked inside the Cubs top 30 prospects but both are interesting players. Rose is primarily a 1st baseman with a great power tool. However, he can also play outfield if needed. He has mashed 14 homeruns and 38 RBIs through 65 games in High A but with just a .227 batting average. Bryant Flete was an international signing for the Cubs in 2012. He is a utility infielder who is a bit old for High A (24) but has hit the ball relatively well throughout pro-ball. He was named an All-Star this year with a slash line of .305/.355/.425 with 6 homeruns and 37 RBIs through 70 games.
In conclusion, this was a rare win-win trade for both sides. The Cubs picked up a controllable frontline started to help ease the damage of someone leaving next offseason and the Sox continued to bolster their dynamic farm system. Chicago baseball is looking like it will be must-see in years to come.