It’s not really the season for blockbuster MLB trades, but Jose Quintana’s name keeps creeping up in the rumor mill, and this time three teams in particular are being named.
The Atlanta Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Houston Astros are among the teams showing interest in Quintana. The 28-year-old left-handed starter has had his name come up in rumors all offseason, and seems to be the last remaining player of significant value for the rebuilding White Sox.
Of course, the option still remains to not move Quintana at all. The White Sox’s ace is under team control for the next four seasons and is due just $37.85 million. With a team-friendly contract like that, the negotiating power seems to lie in the White Sox’s favor. That means the Braves, Pirates, and Astros would have a steep price to pay to acquire Quintana.
Let’s take a look at some options that might get it done:
Houston Astros trade SP Joe Musgrove, OF Kyle Tucker, SP Forrest Whitley
The Astros have a little bit of starting pitching depth to work with, as Musgrove and Mike Fiers are competing for the rotation’s fifth spot. In all likelihood, both will make starts with the Astros in 2017 regardless, as even the best rotations have their depth tested over 162 games. This makes either Musgrove or Fiers expendable in a scenario where the Astros actually do trade for Quintana.
While Musgrove has proven to be a valuable major leaguer, the real centerpiece here is outfield prospect Tucker. Ranked as the 19th-best prospect in baseball according to Baseball America, Tucker was taken fifth overall in the 2015 MLB Draft – a deep year that has already yielded Alex Bregman, Dansby Swanson, Andrew Benintendi, and Carson Fulmer. Add a high-ceiling 19-year-old pitcher in Whitley – the type of player the White Sox seem to be targeting lately – and general manager Rick Hahn has a pretty good offer for Quintana to ponder.
Pittsburgh Pirates trade SP Tyler Glasnow and 1B Josh Bell
It’s hard to get around the fact that Glasnow is one of the highest-rated pitching prospects in baseball. However, the 20-year-old Mitch Keller is a rising star in their system and may make Glasnow expendable if Quintana was the target. The 23-year-old Glasnow had a bit of an unceremonious entry into the major leagues last season, but closed out the year with nine strikeouts over his last eight innings as a starter.
Bell, on the other hand, has already impressed at the major-league level. While he still counts as a prospect, Bell barely finished the 2016 season with his rookie eligibility intact. Bell might be a bit of a liability as a fielder, so a move to the American League might be a welcome one, where he can build on his .273/.368/.406 slash line from last year.
Atlanta Braves trade SS Ozzie Albies, SP Kolby Allard, OF Ronald Acuna
Albies might be one of the most major-league-ready prospects in the top 20, but being on a team with Dansby Swanson seems to be his roadblock. Baseball America already has Albies’ hit and speed tools projected as well above average and he posted an .858 OPS over 371 plate appearances with Double-A Mississippi last year.
Allard would give the White Sox a rare left-hander to work with as the top nine pitchers in their system are all right-handed. Even further, the White Sox farm is a tad pitching heavy at the moment, so adding outfield prospect Acuna might help address that. The 19-year-old Acuna is still quite far from the majors, but put up impressive numbers with Single-A Rome last season. Over 171 plate appearances, Acuna posted an .819 OPS and stole 14 bases. If the Braves are serious about adding Quintana for their first season at SunTrust Park, a package like this might do it.
(Photos courtesy: Action Images)