Posted on December 10, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
After making a pair of trades during the Winter Meetings that significantly bolstered their farm system, the Chicago White Sox may not be done making moves this offseason. The White Sox acquired four high-ceiling prospects when they traded Chris Sale to the Red Sox. Chicago then received three outstanding pitching prospects by trading Adam Eaton to the Nationals. The next player who may be dealt is starter Jose Quintana, who several teams appear to covet. However, much like with Sale and Eaton, the price the White Sox have set for Quintana is quite high.
Baseball analyst and hot stove veteran Peter Gammons reported on Saturday that when the Houston Astros asked about acquiring Quintana, the White Sox asked for starting pitcher Joe Musgrove and prospects Francis Martes and Kyle Tucker in return. Musgrove is a 24-year old who showed flashes of brilliance in 10 big league starts towards the end of 2016, while Martes and Tucker are Houston’s top two prospects.
Clearly, the White Sox hold Quintana in high esteem, and for good reason. He’s coming off a season in which he posted a career-low 3.20 ERA. In five big league seasons, he’s never posted an ERA higher than 3.76, and that came in his rookie season. He’s also thrown at least 200 innings in each of the last four seasons, something only five other pitches have done. On top of that, he’s only 27 years old and will make just under $36 million over the next four seasons, making him a bargain for what he produces on the field.
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Taking all that into account, there’s actually an argument that can be made for Quintana being nearly as valuable as Sale on the trade market. Thus, the high asking price the White Sox gave to the Astros. Houston obviously declined to meet Chicago’s demands to deal Quintana, but that doesn’t mean the White Sox are going to come down on the price. After all, the White Sox drove a hard bargain with both Sale and Eaton, and in both cases, they found a team willing to meet their price.
The White Sox, of course, are under no pressure to trade Quintana, and so they have no reason to come down on their demands, which plays to their advantage. There also appears to be quite a few teams with some level of interest in Quintana, which can only drive the price up if Chicago chooses to trade him this winter.
The Astros are one team that could still take a shot at Quintana, as they lack a frontline starter (outside of hoping Dallas Keuchel rebounds in 2017) and have plenty of intriguing trade chips. The Braves are another team to watch considering how stacked their farm system is at the moment. The Rockies could be a surprising contender, as they have an excess of outfielders and a rather strong farm system. The Yankees are a wild card, as they loaded up on prospects over the summer and could flip some of them to land Quintana. The Dodgers and the Pirates are two more teams who are unlikely to take a shot at Quintana, but who have the prospects to make a deal if they wanted to drain their farm system to make something happen.
Of course, with Quintana being under team control for four more seasons, the White Sox also have the option of hanging on to him. Considering the talent the White Sox added to their farm system in the last week, becoming competitive within two or three years could be realistic, meaning they could keep Quintana and bet on him being an important part of the team when they become competitive again. Such a scenario, on top of everything else, will keep Quintana’s price sky high this offseason for any team that plans to pursue him in a trade. So potential buyers, beware, Quintana is going to cost a lot.