I know, I know. You hate this trade, you’ve hated this trade from the beginning, it’s one of the worst in Cubs history...
Seriously, none of that could have been known at the time the Jose Quintana trade was made. Yes, Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease were really good prospects at the time (the other two players included turned out to be irrelevant), but Quintana had been a solid 4 bWAR starter for the White Sox for five seasons and at age 28 when the deal was made, seemed like a lock to do something similar with the Cubs.
He didn’t. For whatever reason, his performance wasn’t nearly as good on the North Side as it was on the South Side, and the Cubs didn’t win the World Series again in 2017. If they had, perhaps this deal could be forgiven.
And now? Coming off a season in which Q missed the start of the year due to a kitchen accident and spent three additional weeks on the injured list with lat inflammation, pitching just three times and throwing just 10 innings, how can you even possibly judge how he will pitch going forward? The 10 innings, despite a 4.50 ERA, were pretty good — he walked just three and struck out 12, small sample size alert, of course.
The Cubs are going to need at least one, and possibly two, starting pitchers who will have to be acquired via free agency or the trade market. Quintana turns 32 in January and, apart from his 2020 mishaps, has generally been healthy — he had seven straight years of at least 31 starts from 2013-19. If a pitcher like that who didn’t have the history with the Cubs that Q has, I’d think Theo & Co. might have a look at him.
Given that this free-agent market is going to be depressed financially because of MLB’s pandemic losses (whether that’s justified or not, it’s going to happen), maybe bringing back Q on a low-base, high-incentive contract for another year or two would be a good idea.
Or not. Right now I think I’d have to say “no” to re-signing Jose Quintana.
But you know, don’t you, that if the Cubs don’t sign him, he’s going to sign with the Cardinals and wind up on the All-Star team in 2021.
Should the Cubs re-sign Jose Quintana?
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