Posted on July 9, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
For Chicago White Sox ace Jose Quintana, the entire offseason must have felt like one giant trade rumor. Quintana was the subject of constant speculation that he would be treated. But when opening day came, he was still with the White Sox. However, with the MLB trade deadline fast approaching, Quintana is once again the centerpiece of rumors that suggest he could be pitching somewhere other than Chicago come August 1.
There are more than half a dozen teams that appear to have interest in acquiring Quintana. As he pitched against the Colorado Rockies on Saturday, scouts from the Angels, Blue Jays Cardinals, Orioles, Royals, and Yankees were all in attendance to watch Quintana. The Astros have long been linked to the lefty as well. There are also reports that the Brewers are closely watching Quintana as the trade deadline approaches.
Suffice it to say that a lot of teams wouldn’t mind acquiring Quintana. The lefty isn’t even having all that great of a season. In 18 starts, Quintana has posted a 4.49 ERA, the highest of his career. However, Quintana’s track record and the fact that he’s under team control through the 2020 season at an affordable price continues to make him a desirable commodity.
“A guy who throws 200 innings and is under control for that kind of money is invaluable,” explains one American League executive. “One thing you need to win in this league is not only starting pitching but veteran starting pitchers who can go wire to wire.”
For Quintana, the trade speculation has been almost non-stop since the end of last season. But he insists he’s doing his best not to pay attention, even as the rumor mill heats up.
“I don’t think about (trades),” says Quintana. “I’m focusing on doing my job. The first half has ended for me now, and I’m focused on the second half. I’ll try to do a better job and recover my body. I know that the trades are around me, but that’s part of the game. I don’t have control in that. I just have control on throwing the ball well.”
Quintana adds that he’d like to stay with the White Sox, who are in the midst of a rebuilding process. But he also acknowledges that White Sox GM Rick Hahn and the organization have to do what’s best for the team.
What makes the situation more difficult for Quintana is that there’s no guarantee he’ll be traded. For players with expiring contracts, being traded is almost inevitable. But with Quintana signed through 2020, the White Sox don’t have to trade him. Chicago could choose to keep him and explore the trade market for Quintana again next offseason. The team could also keep him for the duration of the rebuilding process.
Moreover, the White Sox continue to put a high price on Quintana in trade talks, which was the case all winter. Hahn is likely to hold off on trading Quintana unless he gets an impressive bounty of prospects. No team was willing to meet that price over the winter. But with more than half a dozen contending teams interested in Quintana, it’s possible that one of them will be willing to make the White Sox an offer for Quintana that they can’t refuse.
Meanwhile, Quintana continues to be stuck in limbo, unsure of whether or not he’ll be traded and where he may be pitching by the time the trade deadline rolls around. Judging by his performance this season, it’s likely been a distraction for him. By now, Quintana should be accustomed to being the focal point of non-stop trade rumors. But no one would blame the southpaw for being tired of hearing his name in the rumor mill.