When is the Right Time for the White Sox to Trade Jose Quintana?
After weeks and weeks of speculation and trade rumors, Jose Quintana will open the season as part of the Chicago White Sox starting rotation and will be play an integral role this season as the White Sox push forward with their rebuild.
While Quintana is an asset and someone who can anchor down any team's starting rotation, the question at the moment is: when is the right time to trade Quintana for the White Sox? Is now the right time? Should the team wait until the trade deadline or should they hold off entirely until next offseason?
Since the White Sox are in the midst of a rebuilding period and don't yet know how some of their pitching prospects like: Michael Kopech, Lucas Giolito, and Reynaldo Lopez will perform at the big league level, they still need someone like Quintana to provide some stability and leadership. Quintana is someone who has put together four strong seasons and has helped carry quite a bit of weight for the White Sox over that span. Granted, he did it with the help of Chris Sale, who has since been traded to the Boston Red Sox, but still he is someone the White Sox need during this transition period.
If the White Sox were to trade Quintana this spring, they would break camp with Carlos Rodon at the top of their rotation followed by James Shields, Miguel Gonzalez, and Derek Holland. That right there is a rotation that could be great, but would be much weaker without Quintana at the top. Of course, the White Sox aren't expect to contend this season and will likely stay in last place in the AL Central throughout the year, but still Quintana is a good enough pitcher that he can help them avoid finishing the season as the worst team in the league.
Now, the White Sox, could always wait until around the trade deadline to potentially trade Quintana, but even then, the timing has to be perfect and so does the return coming back to Chicago. Quintana will likely be in high demand come that time as contenders look for additional rotation help to get them over the hump and deep into October baseball.
If no one meets the White Sox asking price at that time, then Chicago might ultimately end up waiting until next offseason. Either way, whenever the White Sox do decide to pull the trigger on a Jose Quintana trade, the timing has to be right, all of the team's pitching prospects need to be ready to pick up the slack, and the return has to be impactful.
The last thing the White Sox want to do is to make a trade with the wrong trading partner and end up on the other side of the trade with very little left to show for it. The White Sox want to be able to talk about the trade for a number of years moving forward and have impact prospects who will one day make the team's 25-man roster.
Although a trade is certainly possible involving Quintana over the next year, there is always the chance that the White Sox hang onto him and use him moving forward as a leader for the team's young pitching prospects especially since he is under team control for another four seasons. If everything develops correctly and goes according to plan, that is about the time the White Sox will likely contend again.
For now, Jose Quintana will remain a White Sox and while we don't know how much longer he has in the city of Chicago, he will be someone that the team will rely on heavily this season as they look for a true leader, a workhorse at the top of their rotation, and someone who can provide some clarity during a period of transition.