On Thursday July 13, the Chicago Cubs traded for left-handed starter Jose Quintana from their cross-city rival, the White Sox. They paid a very heavy price for him, giving up three prospects in return, two of which were on top 100 lists prior to the season. The big piece going back was outfielder Eloy Jimenez, who ranked in the top 15 on Baseball American, MLB, and Baseball Prospectus’ top 100 lists prior to the season. He was the Cubs’ best prospect this year and with this trade, they no longer have any prospects in the top 100. Jimenez is highly touted but is still several years away from getting to the majors and is still in High A. Dylan Cease was the other prospect in the top 100 and is a right-handed starting pitcher who was in Class A this season. He has made 13 starts this season in the minors with a 2.79 ERA and is probably on track to be called up to AA at somepoint this season. The final piece is Bryant Flete, a 24 year old Venezuelan prospect still in High A and is likely just a throw-in piece in this trade.
This was a very big price tag paid by the Cubs, but they are getting a very good pitcher in Jose Quintana. Quintana hasn’t been as good in 2017 as he has in recent seasons but he should absolutely pitch better with the Cubs now that he’ll have a better defense playing behind him. In his first start for the Cubs on Sunday, he pitched seven scoreless innings against the Orioles, striking out 12, walking none, and allowing just three hits. If this is a sign of things to come, the Cubs have found the type of pitcher they wanted, a front of the rotation starter with term left on his contract. The key to this deal is that Quintana is controllable for three more seasons with two years of club options in 2019 and 2020. The crazy part of this deal was that the Cubs gave up around the same price for Quintana, a pitcher with three years left, as they did for Aroldis Chapman last season when he was a free agent at the end of the year. I still think that the Cubs will be on the hunt for another starter with term, such as Sonny Gray, to help them in the next few years. They don’t have any prospects left to offer but could move Kyle Schwarber or Javier Baez if the right trade came along.
For the White Sox, this was a great return for a pitcher who most likely wouldn’t have been on their roster when they are competitive again. These three prospects continue to add depth to their already amazingly-deep farm system and Jimenez has slotted in as their third best prospect, something amazing when he would be most teams’ top prospect. The White Sox continue to build a farm system that is comparable to what the Cubs and Astros had before their prospects were called up to the majors. The future is so bright for this franchise and they have even more players to be dealt at this year’s deadline.