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Cubs exercise 2020 contract option on Jose Quintana

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The lefthander will be back next year... unless the Cubs trade him.

Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Some observers had thought that the Cubs might let lefthander Jose Quintana head to free agency after a rough season that saw him post a 4.68 ERA and 1.386 WHIP in 32 appearances (31 starts), and an especially poor performance in September: five starts, 11.09 ERA and 2.250 WHIP in 18⅔ innings.

Saturday evening, the Cubs announced via press release that they had exercised the 2020 option on Quintana’s contract. The option calls for Q to be paid $11.5 million next season.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that Quintana will break camp with the Cubs next March 26. It’s entirely possible that they’ll trade him. That contract could be attractive to someone looking for an inning-eater. Of course, the Cubs could use that as well, but Q will have to pitch better than he did in 2019.

The Cubs also announced, to no one’s surprise, that they had declined the option on Derek Holland’s contract for 2020. Holland made 20 mostly forgettable appearances in a Cubs uniform, posting a 6.89 ERA and 1.532 WHIP, and 10 years from now he’ll be one of those “Really? He played for the Cubs?” guys in a trivia contest.

The more important note from the Cubs release indicates that there are now 32 players on the 40-man roster. The Cubs have not yet updated the 40-man roster on their website, as it still lists 36 players including Holland as well as three players on the 60-day injured list: Brandon Morrow, Kendall Graveman and Allen Webster. Those four are not included in the total of 32 noted by the Cubs. Decisions on Morrow, Graveman and Webster are due by Monday, and shortly the Cubs will also have to decide whether to exercise a $5 million option on David Phelps.

Morrow has a $12 million option or $3 million buyout. The buyout will almost certainly be exercised. Graveman has a $3 million option and I covered that looming decision here a few weeks ago.

As always, we await developments.