So What Is Jose Quintana Worth?
As I sat down to write a post here this morning, I originally intended to write something about Chris Sale. Something long and sappy, and probably a bit too writer-y, about Sale's time in Chicago. I got about 350 words in before I decided to scrap it.
Chris Sale is gone now, and while I'm not happy about it -- I understand it, but that doesn't mean I need to enjoy it -- I don't really feel like wallowing in it, either. I'll let that happen when I see Sale pitching in the postseason for the Red Sox next year after we just finished wading through a 65-win season.
Instead I've decided that the only impact Chris Sale will have on this post is using his trade value to try and determine what we can get for the other stud in our rotation, Jose Quintana.
When the idea of trading Sale first came up, we had champagne wishes and caviar dreams when it came to potential returns. Surely there wasn't a young player out there a team wouldn't give up to get somebody of Chris Sale's import! Well, that wasn't exactly the case, was it?
It actually turns out that teams have young players they deem untouchable just like we did with Chris Sale the last few years, and they aren't willing to give them up. So instead we just had to settle for an awesome four-player package that included the top prospect in baseball in Yoan Moncada.
But I feel like when trying to determine Quintana's market value, there's a caveat we must keep in mind. It's similar to the one about the Shelby Miller deal from last year.
A lot of Sox fans thought that since Arizona was dumb enough to give up Dansby Swanson and more for Shelby Miller, Chris Sale would be worth even more, but that's not how markets work. Just because one person was bad at his job doesn't mean every other general manager has to be stupid too.
And just because the Red Sox will give up Yoan Moncada and more doesn't mean other teams will.
It's important to remember that Boston general manager Dave Dombrowski has always been aggressive with trades. When it comes to trading for superstars, he's not as hesitant about trading his top prospects as most general managers are. Just ask the Tigers and Marlins about the Miguel Cabrera trade. Also, since Dombrowski just took over in Boston last year, he doesn't have much of an attachment to the prospects he gave up in the first place.
These are just things we need to keep in mind when figuring out what Jose Quintana will fetch in a trade.
Which doesn't mean that as far as pure value, Quintana isn't close to Sale. As Fangraphs went over on Wednesday, and as most White Sox fans have known for a while, the two are quite similar as far as being great pitchers, Sale just received more attention because he gets all the strikeouts and has the crazy pitching motion.
Quintana, meanwhile, is just ruthless efficiency.
As of now, the two teams that seem to be hottest on Q's trail are Washington and Houston. Now, the good news there is the Sox and Nationals are very familiar with one another already because Washington was so interested in Sale, and the rumored package that Washington was willing to give up for Sale was Lucas Giolito, Victor Robles and Reynaldo Lopez. All three of them are top 100 prospects.
In fact, they're all top 40 prospects.
Quintana won't get all three, but it's possible he could get two of them. The problem here is that since the Sale deal fell through, Washington has reportedly said it's no longer willing to deal Robles. Both Giolito and Lopez are pitchers, and personally, I'm far more interested in Robles than either of them simply because players like Robles are the ones the White Sox just never have. So if I'm trading Quintana to Washington, Robles needs to be part of that package.
If Washington would be willing to include Robles in the deal, I'd consider giving them Quintana for Robles, Lopez and Pedro Severino. I will give up on Giolito if I can have a young catcher like Severino. Somebody who can contribute right away and help mold Carlos Rodon and other young Sox pitchers moving forward.
As far as Houston's considered, I don't think the Astros would give up Francis Martes for Quintana. He's the top prospect in their system, and they wanted him when they sent Jarred Cosart to the Marlins last year for a reason. I believe Houston would consider giving him up for Quintana to be a move that doesn't really improve their team in the long run.
So I think a package would need to be built around Kyle Tucker. Tucker is a 19-year old outfielder that's currently a top 50 prospect on most lists. He was the fifth pick in the 2015 MLB Draft and was considered the best pure hitter of all the high school players in the draft. He's the kind of player that likely projects to be a left fielder in the long run because his defense isn't great, but you'd be trading for him hoping that bat continues to develop into a middle-of-the-order hitter.
After Tucker I'd probably look for two or three more prospects depending on the players you're getting. If you want to go the quantity route -- and when it comes to Houston's system, that's where I lean because most of Houston's best talent already seems to be in Houston -- I'd love to see guys like Daz Cameron (the son of Mike Cameron), Jonathan Arauz and Riley Ferrell. It'd be similar to the Sale package in that Tucker is the centerpiece, Cameron is the toolsy outfielder with the chance to be a real contributor, Arauz is a middle infielder that has room to grow, and Ferrell has the huge fastball for Don Cooper to groom.
Wherever Quintana goes, the thing to take away is that while he's not going to get as much in return as Sale did, he's going to bring back a worthwhile set of prospects to boost this farm system.