The left hander has been linked to the Cardinals after Alex Reyes’ injury
According to CBS Chicago’s Bruce Levine, the Cardinals are interested in acquiring the 28 year old Chicago White Sox pitcher. With the injury to young stud Alex Reyes, there have been concerns over the state of the Cardinals rotation.
Although there’s been rumors that the Cardinals aren’t going to make any drastic moves as a result of Reyes’ UCL tear, it makes sense for them to be on the market for a starter. It doesn’t hurt to take a look at this potential move and see if the Cardinals would really bite on Quintana.
How good is he?
Not only is Quintana good, but I think he has the potential to be even better. Last year was his first all-star season at age 28. He finished 2016 with a 3.20 ERA, 1.163 WHIP a 3.56 FIP and a 125 ERA+. The stats don’t lie, Quintana had the best season of his major league career last season.
Not only that, but he’s only been improving since coming into the league in 2012. Quintana would probably slide into the two spot in the rotation behind Martinez, but he could definitely make a case for the ace depending on Martinez’s improvement from last season.
Quintana relies mainly on his four-seam fastball and curve. The curve is especially deadly with a 12.67% whiff rate. Despite being a lefty, he has pretty even platoon splits, allowing a little more power to righties than lefties.
I also think he will probably get better in the next couple of years, as his four-seam fastball velocity has been increasing as he gets stronger. Quintana isn’t a clear ace, but he could be an ace depending on his improvement for next season.
What would Quintana cost?
Quintana is reportedly being looked at by the Astros, Yankees and Pirates in addition to the Cardinals. He’s been on the block for quite a while, especially with the White Sox looking to rebuild.
After trading Chris Sale this offseason, the ChiSox are definitely entering full on tank mode and are probably looking for some young prospects in return for Quintana. They managed to turn Sale and Eaton into some of the top prospects in baseball, so they’ll be looking for a little more than chump change for Quintana.
There’s good news and bad news to Quintana’s development. On the one hand, the Cardinals would immediately get a player they can put high on the rotation. On the other, Quintana’s value has never been higher. A trade for Quintana would almost definitely cost the Cardinals Harrison Bader and/or Luke Weaver.
Any deal not centered around those players is probably a no go. Needless to say, Quintana has a steep price, especially for a team that has nothing to lose but everything to game. This is only exacerbated by the fact that he’s under team control until 2019.
Should the Cardinals pull the trigger?
This would certainly be the ultimate win-now move for the Cardinals. However, I don’t think it makes much sense to make this trade. Quintana is absurdly expensive right now. Even though he is a good pitcher, it doesn’t make sense to mortgage the future for what is essentially a quality number two starter. Even without Reyes, this Cardinals team is good enough to compete for the wild card, and adding Quintana wouldn’t suddenly make them favorites over the Cubs. It’s just not enough value to justify the cost.
Another reason the Cardinals would avoid this trade is that they have a lot of in-house options to solve the pitching problem. Mozeliak is not yet desperate enough to mandate a move like this.
If the Cardinals rotation struggles in the first half, and Quintana’s value goes down, and he’s still on the block, then maybe they could revisit doing a Quintana deal. Other than that scenario, I don’t this trade is going to happen for the Cardinals.