White Sox: Pirates Join Quintana Rumors

Wednesday morning Buster Olney of ESPN reported that the Pittsburgh Pirates are now interested in left-hander Jose Quintana.

Buster Olney, ESPN’s baseball expert who seemingly never sleeps, was awake with fingers blazing at four in the morning on Wednesday. After Monday’s report about Jose Quintana reportedly being pursued by the New York Yankees, Olney reports that the Pittsburgh Pirates are now working hard to put something together.

The Pirates have never been one for large contracts, and Quintana’s current contractual situation is very team-friendly. Rick Hahn and the White Sox front office put together an amazing contract for Quintana back in March of 2014, including reasonable stipulations regarding arbitration eligibility and two team options for $1 million buyouts in 2019 or 2020. Apparently that is an attractive aspect of this potential trade from Pittsburgh’s point of view.

For those who may be unfamiliar with the Pittsburgh farm system Baseball America’s John Perrotto recently ranked the Top 10 prospects in the organization. A couple of them appear to be exactly what the White Sox have been targeting this offseason – young pitchers. Guys like right-hander Mitch Keller (9-5, 2.35 ERA between low-A and high-A in 2016) at number two in the organization, right-hander Tyler Glasnow (8-3, 1.95 ERA between double-A and triple-A in 2016; 0-2, 4.24 ERA in seven games with Pittsburgh in 2016) at number three, and left-hander Steven Brault (2-7, 3.91 ERA in triple-A; 0-3, 4.86 ERA in eight games with Pittsburgh in 2016) at number seven all fit the mold of what the Sox have been acquiring this offseason. While it would benefit the White Sox to put together something for Pittsburgh’s number one prospect, center fielder Austin Meadows (.266/.333/.536, 12 HR, 47 RBIs across three levels of the minor leagues in 2016) it would put the Pirates in a tough spot.

So far this offseason the Pirates have wavered back and forth between shopping star center fielder Andrew McCutchen or keeping him for 2017. Olney followed up his morning Tweet with another perspective on the Quintana trade, one that assumes Meadows would not be involved.

If the Pirates trade both McCutchen and Meadows, his heir to the position, then their attempt to win in 2017 would be difficult without a center fielder. The National League Central division is a tough one, especially with the Cubs going into the season with all of the momentum that a World Series championship can bring. (St. Louis is no slouch either.) As nice as it would be for the White Sox to acquire Meadows for center field, a position the Sox need to fill, it would force the Pirates into keeping McCutchen and reevaluate his worth at the trade deadline. If the Pirates work out a deal for Quintana that doesn’t involve Meadows then Pittsburgh is free to continue looking for a new home for McCutchen.

Another prospect option would be 23-year-old infielder/outfielder Josh Bell (.273/.368/.406, 14 HR, 60 RBIs in 45 games with Pittsburgh in 2016). Bell has experience playing in right field, but can also play first base. With the rumors that Jose Abreu is also on the trading block this could be an interesting part of a deal with the Pirates. The White Sox have positions available in the outfield and Bell looks to be a very promising player in the future. With the acquisition of Yoan Moncada, a past teammate of Jose Abreu, one would hope that the White Sox would hold off on dealing Abreu for now and let him mentor Moncada. Still, Bell would be a good fit anywhere on the team regardless of Abreu’s situation.

Both teams have holes to fill and pieces to part with but the White Sox could realistically get a great package from any team in the league for Jose Quintana. Some Sox fans are on the side of keeping Quintana as part of the rebuild while others see the value he could bring in a trade.

Is Pittsburgh the answer, or will the Sox hold off? We might find out soon.

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One thought on “White Sox: Pirates Join Quintana Rumors

  1. Probably trying to do a three team deal to trade Cutch and acquire Q. But Cutch alone probably cannot fetch the prospects needed to acquire Q. Especially a headliner type like Meadows that the Sox require. Deal is not likely to happen, IMO.

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