Posted on February 27, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
Spring Training is underway all across baseball, but for the Chicago White Sox, the hot stove is still burning. The White Sox spent their winter running a pseudo fire sale, trading away both Chris Sale and Adam Eaton, and they may not be done yet, even with spring training in full swing. There appears to be hope for a trade between the White Sox and Nationals involving closer David Robertson, but more importantly, the Jose Quintana sweepstakes is not yet dead.
Reports out of White Sox camp indicate that there is as much interest in trading for Quintana now as there has been at any point this winter. The White Sox are reportedly holding out for the best quality prospects they can get. At this point, four suitors remain in discussion with the White Sox about Quintana: the Astros, Pirates, Yankees, and Cardinals.
“As we sit here right now, it’s more a function of continuing on the conversations we have had,” White Sox GM Rick Hahn said last week. “We will see if we can build off of those.”
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Hahn has reportedly spoken to a number of teams this winter, but has need been made an offer he can’t refuse. At this point in the spring, most teams are content with the roster they have and aren’t likely to make serious moves until the summer. However, Hahn may be trying to keep talks alive during spring training just in case one of the suitors for Quintana decides to up their offer.
The Astros were once considered the favorites to land Quintana, and have been involved in discussions with the White as long as any other team. However, they have been reluctant to part with pitcher Francis Martes and outfielder Kyle Tucker, the team’s top prospects. Without giving up both prospects, it’s unlikely the Astros will land Quintana, who could give their rotation a huge lift in what appears to be a competitive AL West division.
At times, the Pirates have also been viewed as one of the favorites to land Quintana, as the lefty’s manageable salary over the next four seasons makes him a perfect fit for the small-market Pirates. Of course, Pittsburgh has a strong contingent of young pitchers the team could choose to watch develop rather than trade away, so the Pirates may not have a lot of urgency to make a trade.
It’s somewhat surprising to see the Yankees still linked with Quintana, as they reportedly gave up interest long ago. However, the Bronx Bombers have one of the best farm systems in baseball, so there’s no doubt they have the prospects to make a deal happen. New York has also some question marks in its rotation, and they could use Quintana both this year and for the future.
Finally, the Cardinals are a new team to become connected to Quintana. Of course, it’s not a huge surprise after the loss of Alex Reyes to Tommy John surgery and health questions about other members of the team’s rotation. St. Louis is also feeling a little pressure to keep up with the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central, and trading for Quintana could give them a huge boost.
Meanwhile, Quintana made his first start of the spring on Sunday. He gave up one run over two innings and is expected to make one more start before departing for team Colombia and the World Baseball Classic. With the White Sox still fielding offers and receiving interest in the lefty, it’s not out of the question for Quintana to be traded during the WBC.
Nothing appears imminent with regard to Quintana being traded, but Hahn has not been shy in saying that he’d like to trade off a few more pieces to help accelerate the team’s rebuilding process. However, Hahn has also been unwilling to come down on his price for players like Sale and Eaton, and he’s unlikely to change that stance on Quintana. At this point, it seems unlikely that Quintana will be traded before the start of the season, but if trade talks are still ongoing, it means there’s a chance.