James Gordon | July 9, 2017
Photo courtesy of Sox On 35th via Twitter (@SoxOn35th)
In the midst of what already is a ton of trade rumors circulating around the league three weeks prior to the trade deadline, another team has entered the race for White Sox Southpaw Jose Quintana. Quintana’s name has been thrown around quite often these days, with an ongoing potential for him to get shipped off to a contender looking for a long-term lefty solution to their rotation. Teams including the likes of the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros have been trying to trade for Quintana since the earliest point of this season, but the Milwaukee Brewers are the newest team entering the sweepstakes for the Colombian hurler.
The Brew Crew most definitely has the prospects to get a deal done for Quintana, but even though they’re shockingly leading the NL Central ahead of a slumping Cubs club, they still are undergoing a rebuilding phase. With that in mind, they’ll surely be hesitant to give up more than one of their five top 55 prospects. That makes a potential deal with the Sox less likely, knowing that GM Rick Hahn’s price for Quintana has always been high, and rightfully so. In my opinion, and likely Hahn’s too, any deal with Milwaukee needs to be headlined by top prospect Lewis Brinson, who falls in as MLB Pipeline’s #13 prospect. At least, the package could be headlined by the Brewers’ second best prospect, Corey Ray, a product of the White Sox ACE program which is designed to give ballplayers ages 13-18 a chance to play competitive ball against other travel teams. The White Sox are already familiar with Ray, which definitely increases interest in him, but if he’s headlining any return for a pitcher of Jose Quintana’s caliber, there better be a second piece of almost equal skill as Ray. If it were up to me, I’d demand the organization’s top #3 prospect, Josh Hader. Being a lefty with 65 and 60 grades (20-80 scale) on his fastball and slider, respectively, Hader has shown a very similar style to that of former Sox ace Chris Sale. According to MLB Pipeline’s prospect profile of Hader, his fastball will hang out in the 93-97 MPH range while his wipeout slider makes him a terrifying opponent on the mound. He’s already impressed through 12 1/3 IP in the majors coming out of the bullpen, striking out 13 in that span and recording an ERA of 0.73 while limiting opposing batters to a .079 batting average.
Obviously, the Brewers are more willing to give up Ray rather than Brinson due to their differences. If I were to imagine a fair and agreeable trade between the two clubs, I would hope for it to be something along the lines of Corey Ray, Josh Hader, and a mid-level prospect like Brewers #10 prospect Brett Phillips. While that trade may sound underwhelming compared to some of the other trade proposals out there, I think with the upside of each prospect involved, it should easily match up with Quintana’s value. Although that may be the most ideal trade when it comes to agreeability between the Sox and Brewers, according to a Brewers’ page on Fansided.com, Hahn’s price for Quintana may be way too high for what the Brewers would be willing to give up. The post also noted that any deal involving Oakland A’s pitcher Sonny Gray would likely be centered around the organization’s #5 prospect infielder Isan Diaz. Based on that, I’m extremely in doubt that the Brewers would want to give up Ray or Brinson in a Quintana deal, even though they might value Quintana a bit more than Gray.
But who knows, Rick Hahn is the same GM that was able to pry three top pitching prospects away from Washington for Adam Eaton, so maybe he can work his magic again. That also would go hand-in-hand with how serious the Brewers are in contending. They could easily win the division if the Cubs fail to rebound but their pitching wouldn’t be close to competing with the pitching of the Dodgers, Nationals, and Diamondbacks. Having Quintana, who would be the lone lefty in the Brewers’ rotation, would be a major help against some of the better teams in the league who are poor hitters against Southpaws. What I’m basically saying is that if Rick Hahn can work his magic and if the Brewers are seriously pushing for a deep run in the playoffs, then a deal along the lines of what I imagined earlier might be possible. That’s probably the least likely outcome, especially with the Yankees and other bigger-market teams with stronger farms competing for Quintana. At the end of the day, I don’t believe the Brewers will make a move for Quintana but don’t count out the possibility of it happening.