The White Sox and Cubs recently pulled off an inter-league blockbuster we haven’t seen in years. The 2 clubs have a history of interchanging good players, such as the Sox trading Sammy Sosa, and the Cubs trading World Series Champion Jon Garland across town. The Jose Quintana trade is the rare deal that appears to be, for the moment, beneficial for both sides.
How the White Sox Won the Jose Quintana Trade
The White Sox are in a rebuild, and every team knows it. If sending off cornerstones Chris Sale and Adam Eaton wasn’t a clear enough sign, trading Quintana is. Q was the most attractive trade piece the Sox had, and now he is on his way. The Sox received 4 prospects in return: OF Eloy Jimenez (#8 Prospect according to MLB Pipeline), RHP Dylan Cease (#63), along with infielders Matt Rose and Bryant Flete. The White Sox now have 9 of the top 70 prospects in baseball. Not too shabby.
Rick Hahn knew he needed to unload Q for more prospects, and the return he got was outstanding. Many fans have complained that the White Sox acquired too many pitchers (Michael Kopech, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Dane Dunning) in the offseason. Jimenez shores up a future outfield with Cuban sensation Luis Robert, and projected 2018 Draft pick Seth Beer. Jimenez is a fantastic hitter with great power and good size (6′ 4″, 205 lbs). His defense could use a little work, but he has the arm to play right field. Scouts drew comparisons to Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton, so the sky is the limit for Jimenez. Dylan Cease is a hard-throwing right hander with a hammer curve that has been compared to Doc Gooden’s. Cease came back from Tommy John and regained his mid to high 90s velocity, occasionally reaching triple digits. His changeup is OK, but Sox pitching guru Don Cooper should turn him into a stud, likening him to Justin Verlander. Rose and Flete are both young, raw players who need work, but have high ceilings.
The White Sox front office pulled the trigger on this deal because it gave them the best prospect return they could have hoped for. The White Sox won this trade because they walked away with another building block for the future, further adding to their exciting prospect pool
Why the Cubs Won the Jose Quintana Trade
The Cubs needed something. The defending World Series champs have limped to a 43-45 first half, and their rotation is a mess. The Cubs rotation collectively have 34 Quality Starts in the first half, ranking only ahead of the Reds and the Marlins in the NL. They also have the 6th most walks, so control is an issue as a staff. Quintana has struggled a bit this season, but has a career 3.13 K/BB ratio, along with a 1.25 WHIP. Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, and Kyle Hendricks all have an ERA over 4, and John Lackey carries a 6.52 ERA. Quintana has been consistent for his entire career, which is something the Cubs needed. Yeah Lester, Arrieta, and Hendricks can come out and shut a team down for 7 innings, but other times not so much (*cough* 10 runs in the 1st *cough*). Yeah, Quintana has had a rocky start to the year, but a solid consistent arm going to a team that is already loaded with talent can be dangerous. I’m not saying Quintana makes the Cubs a playoff lock, but he’ll sure help their chances in chasing down the Brewers.
The Cubs needed pitching. Bryzzo and Co. will surely turn around at some point, the offense isn’t an issue. While I think an extra reliever never hurts, the Cubs needed a starter. The real reason they won this trade was more who they gave up, not who they got. The Cubs don’t need more outfielders, with Happ, Schwarber, Jay, and Heyward all getting big-league time. Jimenez is a few years away from being a contributor in the majors, so the Cubs didn’t see a drastic need for him. Cease will also need a few years till he can make an impact, and Theo Epstein clearly believes he can establish a rotation through trades and free agency, rather than drafting/signing international players. Would Jimenez and Cease be nice to have in a few years? Sure. Was there an imminent need for them? No.
Why Both Teams Won the Jose Quintana Trade
The Sox and Cubs are at two different stages. The Cubs are contending, the Sox are rebuilding. The Cubs made this trade for right now. If they have any hopes of making the playoffs this year, a move needed to be made. The Sox need to lose more games in order to get a better draft pick to help move the rebuild along. Both teams had a need, and that need was filled quickly. The Sox needed another OF prospect, and the Cubs have a struggling rotation. Now I’m sure we’ll look back in a few years to see who really won this trade, but as of right now, fans on the North and South sides can be happy with this deal.