One of the top arms in the game continues to have his name thrown around in trade talks. Jose Quintana had an All-Star season last year in Chicago and pitched very well for Colombia in this Spring's World Baseball Classic. He continues to focus on getting ready for the upcoming season, but that doesn't stop executives and scouts from other teams discussing parameters of deals that could benefit both sides.
With just two weeks until Opening Day, the White Sox continue to shop Quintana, though they are not actively searching for a deal according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports. They are open to dealing the southpaw, but only for the right price. Chicago is committed to rebuilding and dealt the other star in the rotation Chris Sale earlier this offseason to the Boston Red Sox for a large haul of prospects centered around infielder Yoan Moncada.
Multiple teams have shown interest in Quintana including the Atlanta Braves, Houston Astros and Pittsburgh Pirates. All of these teams have young prospects that the rebuilding White Sox would find attractive. Due to a lack of front-line starting pitching currently on the market, Chicago holds all the cards and can wait until they find the package they like for Quintana. Several scouts have said the asking price on Quintana is quite high and a team looking to acquire the pitcher will likely need to part with 3 or 4 high-end prospects.
Some of the other pitchers on the market include Chris Archer and Sonny Gray. The Rays' asking price and desire to contend have kept teams away from Archer this offseason. He also has a very team-friendly contract and in order for the Rays to part, a large package of prospects would need to exchange hands. Gray had a down year last year and was looking for a bounce back from all of the injuries, but was once again injured in spring training and will likely miss the first month of the regular season. That certainly has dented his stock for the time being and no one knows if Oakland was really serious about dealing him, but as most are aware. just about anyone can be had for the right price. Baseball is a business, afterall.
Quintana, 28, was an All-Star for the first time in his career last year. He went a solid 13-12 with a respectable 3.20 ERA. In 208 innings pitched, he struck out 181 batters and walked just 50. Since making his debut in 2012 with Chicago, he has performed well according to advanced metrics. For his career, he has posted a 46-46 record with a 3.41 ERA.
Quintana boasts a team-friendly contract as well. For the next two years, he is owed nearly $16 million, but has two club options for the following two years at $10.5 million apiece. A team paying for a pitcher of his caliber on the open market will pay nearly three times the total of nearly $37 million the White Sox have signed the lefty for over the next four years.
The White Sox will be taking a huge gamble by continuing to hold onto Quintana and allowing him to pitch every fifth day. He has proven durable to this point, but there is always a chance he gets hurt or struggles and it dents his currently high value. The other side and the one the White Sox are probably hoping for is that he pitches well and boosts his stock even more before the trade deadline and they get a contender to pay a true premium. For now though, the White Sox wait and the rumors continue to swirl, but that is the luxury afforded to those who hold what several teams want.