Why the Pirates Must Acquire Jose Quintana

As rumors continue to swirl regarding the last remaining ace of the Chicago White Sox, Jose Quintana, the teams involved in those rumors continue to be revealed. One of those teams happens to be the Pittsburgh Pirates, a team that would greatly benefit from the addition of Quintana.

The Pirates have a starting rotation currently headlined by 26-year old, Gerrit Cole, is a solid number one or number two pitcher as well as someone that could carry any pitching staff. After that is Jameson Taillon, who had a great year last season but is still a bit unproven, followed by Ivan Nova. Nova recently signed a three-year deal with Pittsburgh recently and hopes to return to the success he had during the second half of last season when the Pirates acquired him from the New York Yankees.

Beyond Cole, Taillon, and Nova, the Pirates also have several young, up and coming prospects some of whom have high upside, but come with a bit of uncertainty at the big league level. There is Chad Kuhl, who posted a 4.20 ERA last season in 70.2 IP along with 23-year old, Tyler Glasnow, who showed flashes of brilliance last season, but ultimately ended up posting an above average ERA of 4.24 in 23.1 IP. After Kuhl and Glasnow, comes Drew Hutchinson who struggled severely last season putting up a 5.56 ERA in 11.1 IP and Steven Brault as well as Trevor Williams.

Even though there are some talented names in Pittsburgh's rotation after Gerrit Cole, there is also quite a bit of uncertainty and question marks regarding how some of those pitchers will perform. Will Jameson Taillon be able to have another successful season at the big league level? How will Ivan Nova do in the first year of his new deal and will Chad Kuhl be able to overcome his struggles of last season and become the dominant pitcher that he was last year at Triple-A? All of these and more are questions that must be answered by the Pirates front office staff prior to Spring Training.

Since there is so much uncertainty, it is vital that Pittsburgh pulls out all stops and attempts to reach a deal with the Chicago White Sox for Jose Quintana. Quintana, 27 years old, has 4 seasons of team control remaining, would provide a lot of stability at the top of the Pirates rotation as well as a pitcher who comes at a cheap price. Since the Pirates have to be cautious with how much money they spend, Quintana fits the bill as he is owed $15.85 million dollars over the next two seasons and has a team option worth $10.5 million dollars for 2019 as well as another team option worth $11.5 million dollars for 2020.

Not only should the Pirates be interested in Quintana because of the affordability factor, they should also consider him because of the solid results that he has posted over the course of the past five seasons. Since making his MLB debut with the White Sox in May of 2012, Quintana posted a 3.41 ERA in 951 IP with 781 strikeouts, while surrendering 85 home runs and 244 walks. Furthermore, he had a cumulative WHIP of 1.24, home runs-per-9 ratio of 0.8, and a walks-per-9 ratio of 2.3 over that span.

Add to the equation that Quintana can provide some much needed leadership for the young pitchers that Pittsburgh possesses along with Gerrit Cole and the Pirates could very well have a contending year in 2017 before Andrew McCutchen enters free agency.

As far as the type of return that the White Sox would be looking for, it would be one that is headlined by pitching prospects all of whom have quite a bit of upside. One potential includes the aforementioned, Tyler Glasnow, the Pirates number one ranked prospect at the moment. Some other prospects to watch include: RHP Mitch Keller, RHP Nick Kingman, OF Austin Meadows, SS Cole Tucker, and LHP Steven Brault. All of the prospects mentioned above are listed in the Top 15 Pirates prospects according to MLB Pipeline. Any deal done with Chicago would likely include two or three of the names listed above along with one or two other lower level prospects as the White Sox want quite a massive return for Quintana and rightfully so.

For now as talks involving Quintana continue, Pittsburgh needs to continue to call White Sox General Manager, Rick Hahn, everyday and try to reach a deal prior to Spring Training starting if the Pirates want any chance at being a legitimate contender in the NL Central during the 2017 season.