Now that Chris Sale has been traded the new hot rumor is the White Sox moving on from Jose Quintana. While his stuff may not be as filthy as Sale’s, Quintana has been nearly as good, and is signed for an extra year at an even cheaper rate than Sale’s already dirt cheap contract, so the return package would certainly come close to what Sale commanded. Seriously, here are Sale’s numbers since 2013 and his 2017 projections
You would rather have Sale, but when you factor in his extra year of control and reduced cost, Quintana is not far behind. Lets look at his suitors if the White Sox do continue to tear down and move him.
The Astros are the “front runners” right now. All the hot twitter talk and MLB trade rumors posts are about Quintana and the Astros. The Astros are about to enter 2017 with a loaded offense, a solid bullpen, and a meh rotation that features solid 1-5 depth but no real ace. Dallas Keuchel could be the ace, but his 2015 Cy Young season is looking more like the exception than the rule. Maybe he’s more of a 2-3 guy. Lance McCullers has the stuff to be an ace, but he can’t stay healthy and hasn’t really proven himself, so relying on him to take the ball game 1 of the ALDS seems like a foolish plan. So enter Quintana. In return, the White Sox would probably start at Alex Bregman, but as we learned with Chris Sale, that ain’t happening. So instead they turn to current minor leaguers. The White Sox reportedly asked for Joe Musgrove, Francis Martes and Kyle Tucker. Musgrove was the 46th pick in the 2011 MLB draft (one pick before the Sox took Keenyn Walker, yay Kenny!) and profiles as a 3 starter in a good rotation. He no longer has prospect eligibility, as he made 10 starts last year and put up a xFIP of around 4. Musgrove should be able to help the 2016 Astros, so his inclusion in this deal makes Quintana a little less valuable to the Astros, as the addition of Quintana is partially offset but the loss of Musgrove. The other two players, Francis Martes and Kyle Tucker, are the Astros top two prospects, and #29 and #50 in the MLB.com top 100. They aren’t quite Yoan Moncada or Lucas Giolito, but they are very high quality prospects and the type of the players every re-build is built around. While the loss of Musgrove hurts the 2017 Astros, both Tucker and Martes figure to play very little role on the MLB club next year, so they make much more sense as headliners in a Quintana deal. So lets get Musgrove out of the deal and make it a Tucker/Martes headliner.
My Trade Proposal: Francis Martes, Kyle Tucker, David Paulino and Daz Cameron.
The White Sox get MLB.com’s #29, #50 and #70 prospects. Martes and Tucker are the high ceiling talent, as they could easily turn into a #2 starter and all star corner outfielder. Paulino represents a near MLB ready arm with upside, and Cameron could become a glove first CF in the near future. It isn’t my favorite return of the article, but I would be more than pleased with this package. I am a big Kyle Tucker fanboy. Love the no batting gloves look
The Braves have probably been the least connected team on the list, but they did have major interest in Chris Sale and have continually stated the want a front line starter to open their new stadium with, so its not ridiculous to connect the dots to Quintana. Plus, the White Sox demanded Dansby Swanson in any Sale deal, so maybe the Braves can find a way to get Quintana without having to give up the face of their franchise. The deal would almost certainly have to include SS/2B Ozzie Albies and some combination of their plethora of young arms. Kevin Maitan is probably the highest ceiling hitter in the system, having earned the comp of a “young Miguel Cabrera”, but the Braves just paid $4.25 million for him and he’s all of 16 years old, so him headlining a deal seems incredibly unlikely. Instead lets project a package looking something like this (MLB.com top 100 ranking in parenthesis)
My Trade Proposal: Ozzie Albies (#12), Kolby Allard (#61) and Ian Anderson (#77)
This deal really depends on your feelings about Albies. Either you see a guy who just hit .320 as a 19 year old in AA over 330 AB’s and compare him to the Bregman, Swanson and Moncada’s of the world, or you see a guy who .248 over 220 AB’s in AAA last year and envision a powerless 2B who doesn’t get on base enough to use his 7o speed tool. If your a believer in Albies, a future infield of Moncada, Anderson and Albies is a hell of a start, and getting a couple of high-celing teenagers in 19 year old Allard and 18 year old Anderson to go along with Albies makes for quite a deal. If you aren’t, then this trade depends way to much on a couple of low floor teenagers, and its an easy no. The Braves aren’t the best partner in the world, but if you believe in Albies a deal can certainly be swung.
I just don’t see this one at all. Sure, if the Rockies are truly going for it, they are going to need an Ace in front of Jon Gray. But the bigger hole is 1B. If they actually run Ian Desmond out there then there is no point in trading for a game 1 of the NLDS starter, because they won’t be making it there. Honestly, Abreu or Frazier to Colorado seems way more likely than Quintana. Plus, the Rockies target guys with power fastballs and high K/9 numbers. Think Jon Gray, Jeff Hoffman, Riley Pint. If they have the choice, they want power arms. Quintana just isn’t that. Sure, he has had success pitching in a hitters ballpark his whole career, but Coors Field is more than just a hitters park. So yeah, I don’t see it.
However, if it does go down, damn the Rockies are the perfect trade partners. The Sox will certainly demand a top of the line bat in return for Quintana no matter who the team is, and the Rockies have two guys who perfectly fit what the Sox are looking for. 2015 #3 overall pick Brendan Rodgers, and 22 year old David Dahl, who just hit .314 over 230 AB’s for the big league team. Either of these guys who be the perfect headliner in a Quintana deal. As discussed before with Joe Musgrove and the Astros, trading Dahl for Quintana dampens the impact a bit, as Dahl is penciled in to be a starter on the 2017 Rockies, but with Blackmon, Desmond and CarGo, the blow is lessened. But lets just say Rodgers headlines the package anyways, Dahl probably requires Riley Pint being in the deal too and the Rockies probably want to keep his powerful arm.
My Trade Proposal: Brendan Rodgers (#6), Raimel Tapia (#71) and German Marquez (#100)
It’s all about Rodgers. He is a 20 year old playing a premium position (SS) who is already the #6 prospect in baseball. Yes, Tapia and Marquez are much more than throw ins, but this deal hinges on Brendan Rodgers becoming a star. If he hits, we move him to 2B and Moncada to 3B and have the best young infield since the 2016 Cubs.
New York Yankees
Heres the new guy! Suddenly the Bronx Bombers have been floated as a team who is interested in Quintana, which is just terrific, seeing as they dropped him as a minor league free agent in 2011. Just outright released him. Haha. Anyways, the Yanks reportedly don’t want to part with top prospects, which is cool, but leaves them with a 0% chance of getting Jose Quintana. But IF they are serious and want a cost controlled top of the line starter to pair with the very expensive Masahiro Tankaka, then they certainly have the pieces to do it. The Yankees probably have the most options of any of the trade partners. The Astros have little choice but to include Francis Martes and Kyle Tucker in any deal. The Braves need Ozzie Albies to start any conversation. And the Rockies aren’t getting the deal done without David Dahl or Brendan Rodgers. The Yankees however have a number of headliners, as they could realistically center a trade around Luis Severino, Gary Sanchez, Clint Frazier, Gleybar Torres or Aaron Judge, and mix and match secondary pieces such as Jorge Mateo, Blake Rutherford, Justus Sheffield and more. Since I’m writing this post, I got to decide who I want, so my hypothetical return will look like this
My Trade Proposal: Gleybar Torres (#17), Blake Rutherford (#51), Dillon Tate and Wilkerman Garcia.
We will let the Yanks hang on to the majority of their top prospects, but in return we get the prize of their system, the 20 year old Torres, who was just named AFL MVP. Theres no doubt that after this season Torres should easily slide into the top 5-10 prospects in all of baseball, and has the size to move to 3B and be a well above average regular. Torres is a step below Brendan Rodgers as a headliner, but not by much. The White Sox also get the 2016 #12 pick Blake Rutherford, somebody that were mentioned as coveting. Rutherford might stick in CF, but will hit enough to be more than useful in the corners. He isn’t quite the prospect Kyle Tucker is but he isn’t behind by much. To round out the deal the Sox get two high ceiling guys, as Garcia is still a mere 18 years old, and Tate was the 2015 draft’s #4 pick. This would be his 3rd team in 3 years, so its clear he has some work to do, but the talent remains, and it was rumored the Sox loved him in 2015. This is an awesome package, and I would be thrilled to see the Sox and the Yanks work out a deal.
Personally, I would rank the returns as
Torres and Rodgers are just a notch above to me, and I would love to get them in a White Sox uniform. Trading Jose won’t be easy, but getting one of those guys back would be worth it.