CHICAGO – The Texas Rangers have began to intensify their pursuit of Chicago White Sox southpaw Jose Quintana according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports. Nightengale reported this afternoon via Twitter that the Rangers have “suddenly have increased their pursuit for White Sox ace Jose Quintana, but still unknown whether they will pull off deal”.
The two clubs have been paired in trade talks as far back as last summer in regards to both Chris Sale and Jose Quintana, but have never been able to reach a deal. This time will likely be no different, and White Sox fans shouldn’t get overly excited about the idea of the White Sox and Rangers striking a deal for the left-hander before the start of the regular season.
In previous White Sox and Rangers discussions the two clubs talked about some combination of Jurickson Profar, Nomar Mazara, Joey Gallo, and Lewis Brinson. Considering Brinson has since been traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for Jonathan Lucroy, and Joey Gallo is no longer considered an elite prospect or even a top-tier trade piece, it’s hard to believe that the Rangers have the pieces to get the deal done.
Jurickson Profar and Nomar Mazara would most certainly both have to be included to even begin a conversation, and both of them could potentially play on the Rangers major-league roster this season, so again, hard to believe that the Rangers would be able to offer up enough to get the deal done.
Here are a few prospects that the Rangers could entice the White Sox with if they were in fact serious about acquiring the service of the All-Star southpaw Quintana:
Yohander Mendez – LHP
Mendez is the Texas Rangers top prospect, and is currently ranked #58 on the MLB Pipeline Top-100 list, as well as #7 on the list of the top-10 left-handed pitchers. Mendez, 22, was signed by the Rangers out of Cuba in 2011 as an international free-agent, and has spent the last four seasons developing in the Rangers farm system. Mendez posted a 12-3 record last season with a 2.19 ERA, 113 strike outs, and 41 walks over 111 innings pitched. Mendez profiles to be a middle of the rotation starting pitcher in 2017 or 2018.
Leody Taveras – of
Taveras is a switch hitting outfielder, and is the Rangers third ranked prospect entering the preseason. Taveras, 18, signed with Rangers in July of 2015 as an international free-agent, a class in which Taveras was seen as one of the best all-around talents. Taveras is the younger cousin of former major-leaguer Willy Taveras, and much like his elder cousin possesses above average speed in the outfield as well as the base-paths. Taveras has a solid arm that will play well anywhere in the outfield, and while he will need to improve his pitch-recognition, he posted a .271 batting average in 2016 with one home run, 14 doubles, six triples, and 18 stolen bases over the course of 73 games in the Rangers minor-league system.
Ronald Guzman – 1B
Guzman, 22, is another one of the Rangers talented international signings, this one coming in 2011 when Guzman was playing for the Dominican in the Under Armour All-American Games. Guzman is currently ranked seventh among first-basemen at the minor-league level, and boasts a high ability to hit for average and make frequent line drive contact in addition to his raw power. Guzman hit .274 with 16 home runs, 21 doubles, six triples, and 67 RBI in 2016. Guzman could replace the likely to be traded Jose Abreu at first base at some point in 2018.
Cole Ragans – LHP
Ragans is the Rangers fifth ranked prospect, and their first round draft pick in the 2016 MLB Draft out of North Florida Christian High School in Florida. Ragans is a six-foot-four southpaw who’s fastball sits in the low-nineties, and a curveball with excellent downward action. Hagan’s fastball also has a downward moving action, complimented by Ragans’ excellent ability to control and locate it. Ragans has a tall, athletic frame, and at 19 years-old looks to be able to add velocity to his fastball as he adds strength, and profiles to be a middle of the rotation starter who can eat innings at some point in mid-late 2018 or early 2019.
The Rangers have some pieces to make the deal work in actuality, but it would take a lot of them to get the deal done considering the fact that they would need to spend more time developing the likes of Ragans, Guzman, and Taveras. But if the Rangers would package three of those four mentioned prospects in a deal with both Profar and Mazara, or either Profar or Mazara along with all four of those prospects, I think that the two clubs could reach a deal.
If the Rangers aren’t willing to pay the steep price though, no deal will happen, as made clear by White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn many times, the White Sox will not bend on their asking price for Quintana.