Jose Quintana Trade Partner Power Rankings
Having lost five of six to start the second half, falling to 46-48 in the process, 10 games behind Cleveland in the division, and seven games out of the wild card, it would seem the prudent approach for the White Sox this summer is to become sellers at the deadline.
On Wednesday, as the White Sox were playing a Seattle team ahead of them in the standings, the Mariners traded a key piece of their bullpen to the Cubs for a prospect I've long felt would be the prototypical White Sox designated hitter in Dan Vogelbach. While that dream seems dead, the point here is that Seattle is closer to a playoff spot than the White Sox, yet they can read the tea leaves.
I think the White Sox can as well. I don't believe the front office is harboring any delusions about this team's ability to compete for a playoff spot this season, and the excitement of a 23-10 start to the season has long been forgotten.
If the Sox make any moves at the deadline, they will be moves made for 2017 and beyond.
I don't think there will be any major moves. I base that opinion on nothing more than the typical Sox approach during this regime, but I don't want to rule anything out, either. Both because anything is possible, and also because, once the fact that 2016 is going to be another wasted season settles in my mind, I want to find ways to have fun while thinking about the White Sox.
And one of the most time-honored ways of doing so is HYPOTHETICAL TRADE RUMORS.
As I wrote earlier this week, while I don't want Jose Quintana to be traded, if the White Sox are going to make what would be considered a major move this summer, trading Quintana is the move that would make the most sense. Since writing that post, I've done a lot of daydreaming about what the Sox could get for Quintana, and from whom.
While doing this, a natural list of desirable trade partners formed in my head, and of course I then ranked those partners from most preferable to least.
Now I'm going to share that list with you.
So join me in a hypothetical world where the White Sox have put Jose Quintana on the trade block, and teams are lining up to move for him, offering some of their top prospects to do so. These are the five teams I find to be the most desirable partners -- it's like Baseball Trade Bachelorette! -- for what I believe the White Sox would need for a pitcher of Quintana's caliber.
5. Chicago Cubs
As residents of Chicago, we're all very much aware -- sometimes painfully -- of the Cubs farm system, and the success that Cubs prospects are having with the current team. Even though many of their top prospects have been called up and are contributing, there are still more behind them that could be beneficial to the White Sox. Of course, if the White Sox were sending Quintana to the Cubs, two of the names on my "must-have" list would be Kyle Schwarber and Willson Contreras. I'd want at least one of them. In fact, the Cubs have quite a few players I'd like, but I'm only ranking them fifth because I have to be honest with myself.
While I may not be a hater of the Cubs like some of us are, that doesn't mean I want to see Jose Quintana pitching for them. It'd be like your girl dating your neighbor. Sure, maybe you dumped her, but that doesn't mean you want to see her all the time being happy while you're still looking for someone to replace her with.
4. Texas Rangers
The Rangers have what is considered to be a very deep farm system, even after trading some of their top prospects last summer to get Cole Hamels from the Phillies. One reason the Rangers line up with the Sox is because the Rangers system is mostly filled with position players, and doesn't have much in the way of top-line pitching. The White Sox, on the other hand, have always been able to develop pitching, it's been position players that are the problem.
The reason I have Texas fourth, though, is because while I'd love somebody like Jurickson Profar, I'm not entirely sold on the other pieces they have. If you could get Nomar Mazara, awesome! I just don't think you can. Then there's Joey Gallo, who may be the team's highest-rated prospect, but isn't somebody I'm very high on.
Yeah, he has a lot of power, but he's not much of a glove, and he's struck out in 34% of his minor league plate appearance. Giancarlo Stanton has struck out more often than any qualified hitter in the Majors this season, and he's done so in 32.8% of his plate appearances.
So if Gallo is striking out that often in the minors, why the hell should I believe that number would improve against Major League pitching? I mean, in what's a very limited sample size (123 PA), he's struck out in 46% of his big league plate appearances. 46%!
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers have what many experts consider to be the best farm system in baseball, which just isn't fair because they also have more money to spend than just about anybody else. Of course, Corey Seager was a big reason for that ranking, and he's now with the Dodgers, and you aren't getting him for Jose Quintana.
You probably aren't getting him for Chris Sale.
Still, even without Seager, the Dodgers have plenty of talent left, but the reason I only have them third is that their system is top-heavy with pitchers. Julio Urias and Jose De Leon could prove to be outstanding pitchers, and it's always nice to have pitching, but as far as partnering with the White Sox, I don't think trading Quintana for pitching really improves the team. They need hitters.
The Dodgers have some good position player prospects, but the best of the bunch are 19 and 20 years old, and all a few years away from being ready for primetime. The Sox need hitters now.
Sure, maybe you can convince the Dodgers to put Yasiel Puig in the deal, but I don't know if that would be a great thing, either. After a strong first two seasons with the Dodgers, he's been going the wrong direction the last two seasons.
2. Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox traded for Drew Pomeranz, but I don't think that removes them from consideration for Jose Quintana. Dave Dombrowski has always been an aggressive general manager, and if Jose Quintana were made available, he'd be interested. They want to win titles in Boston, and they're willing to make big moves to do it.
The Red Sox also have a lot of position player talent, including Yoan Moncada. For me, if I'm trading Jose Quintana, Yoan Moncada has to be coming back in the deal. You give me Moncada, another prospect and Blake Swihart, and we've got something going here.
Even with that possibility, though, I can't put the Red Sox at No. 1 because, even if they have a lot to offer, they're still the Red Sox, and there will always be a part of me that's just like "fuck the Red Sox."
1. Houston Astros
Houston is the perfect trade partner for the White Sox. They have plenty of young position player talent, both on the 25-man roster, and in the minors. I don't think you'd get anybody that's currently wearing an Astros uniform, but you could get Alex Bregman.
Bregman's one of the top prospects in baseball, and if you traded for him, you could probably start him in Chicago right away. Now, the one problem there is the same problem the Astros have with Bregman. He's a shortstop, and Houston has Carlos Correa at short. He's not going anywhere.
The Sox just called up Tim Anderson last month, the team's top prospect, and he's a shortstop as well.
Still, having two young shortstops with potential is one of those good problems to have.
Along with Bregman, I'd ask for an arm -- doesn't have to be top-notch -- and A.J. Reed. I don't think you could get both Bregman and Reed unless Houston really wants Quintana, but I'd settle for somebody like Kyle Tucker or Colin Moran.
The point is, Houston has plenty of attractive options to go after. That's why I have them on top.