Who says the Cubs and White Sox won’t trade with each other?
Thursday morning, the two teams broke the news themselves that Jose Quintana was moving to the North Side in exchange for the Cubs’ top prospects (Eloy JImenez, Dylan Cease and two others):
#Cubs today acquired LHP José Quintana from the #WhiteSox for OF Eloy Jimenez, RHP Dylan Cease, and INFs Matt Rose and Bryant Flete. pic.twitter.com/R8E9u9anls
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 13, 2017
#WhiteSox have acquired OF Eloy Jiménez, RHP Dylan Cease, 1B Matt Rose & INF Bryant Flete from the Cubs in exchange for LHP José Quintana.
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) July 13, 2017
This move makes so much sense for both sides:
—The Cubs got their long-term, top of the rotation starting pitching options.
—The White Sox now easily have the top stable of prospects in baseball.
Quintana instantly climbs near the top of the Cubs rotation and gives the North Siders one of the most talented starting staffs in baseball, even with Kyle Hendricks still on the disabled list and Jake Arrieta struggling to find consistency.
The White Sox embraced the rebuild over the winter, trading away Chris Sale and Adam Eaton in a span of two days in early December for a haul of prospects headlined by Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez. Add Jimenez and Cease into the mix and the Sox have two of the top five prospects in the game (Moncada and Jimenez) and easily the best farm system. The rebuild is in full effect and it’s glorious.
Oh, and Quintana doesn’t even have to move if he doesn’t want to. He only has to learn a new side of the town.
From the Cubs’ perspecitve, this is an incredible get in both the short and long term.
For 2017, the Cubs just got a gigantic jolt to a team that entered the All-Star Break two games under .500 and 5.5 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central.
Quintana doesn’t turn 29 until January and is under team control through the 2020 season, during which time his price tag will come in at just under $30 million. Considering the insane price of pitching nowadays, Quintana is one of the cheapest options available in baseball.
But Quintana isn’t just cheap. He’s been one of the most valuable pitchers in baseball over the last few years.
From the start of 2014 through the first half of 2017, Quintana has accumulated 16.6 WAR (FanGraphs), the exact same total as Jon Lester in that span and tied for seventh in baseball. Jake Arrieta (17.5) is sixth on that list, giving the Cubs a three-headed monster of elite arms atop the rotation.
The list of players who have been LESS valuable than Jose Quintana over the last four years includes Madison Bumgarner, Zack Greinke, Johnny Cueto, Stephen Strasburg, Chris Archer and Jacob deGrom.
Quintana is off to a rough start this season and carries a 4-8 record and 4.49 ERA, but he has been very good since the start of June: 2.70 ERA, 1.20 ERA in seven starts.
The southpaw also has reached 200 innings in four straight seasons — with a 3.35 ERA and 1.22 WHIP — coming into the 2017 campaign.
But the real winners in this deal are the Chicago fans.
Sox fans still get to witness every one of Quintana’s starts and they can rest easy in the short term knowing they got the best package of prospects a trade could possibly offer this summer.
Plus, Quintana pitching for the Cubs only directly impacts the Sox record for those four Crosstown games each season (which ironically start in just over a week).
And of course, Cubs fans now can rest easy knowing their biggest long-term concern (starting pitching) has been solved…for now.