By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — Trade rumors have been swirling around White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana since early December. Now, the latest intelligence on the trade market is that several teams have made more significant offers in the last week with hope of acquiring Quintana as the White Sox continue on their rebuilding path.
Although the White Sox aren’t putting a deadline on dealing their best pitcher, sources indicate that clubs have stepped up offers recently and a deal could get done soon. The perception that it’s a three-team race for Quintana doesn’t tell the full story. The Astros, Yankees and Pirates have been most often mentioned in the Quintana derby, but many teams are interested in him, given his resume. Quintana, who turns 28 later this month, has recorded four straight seasons of 200-plus innings and sports a career 3.41 ERA.
The fact that Quintana is under contract control through 2020 at around $37 million makes him nearly as marketable as left-hander Chris Sale was before the White Sox dealt him to the Red Sox in an early December deal. The market value for left-handed starters with Quintana’s stuff and makeup is tremendously high.
Quintana’s average salary of $9.25 million annually over the four years is about 50 percent the cost of what other high-quality No. 2 starters would be making. Teams that do their homework will also find him to be a great teammate who has been embraced on and off the field.
A native of Colombia, Quintana has from the start of his career worked hard to assimilate in his new setting. He has tried to master the language barrier by doing all of his interviews in English over the past three seasons, and he quickly became a favorite of teammates and executives when he joined the White Sox back in 2012. Time and time over the past few years, Quintana has taken no-decisions while pitching brilliantly. Not once has he ever complained, and he quickly moves on from negative results.
The price for Quintana will be steep. Chicago could hold on to him for awhile and wait for injury or failure to push teams toward better offers, but the prudent general manager will make his best offer now.
The Pirates may be asked for right-hander Tyler Glasnow and first baseman Josh Bell. The Astros won’t part with third baseman Alex Bregman but will have to consider top pitching prospect Francis Martes and outfielder Kyle Tucker. Yankees infielder Jorge Mateo and outfielder Blake Rutherford will be targets of the White Sox in any potential Quintana package.
The White Sox are in no rush to move Quintana, but the smart money is still on him getting dealt in a multi-player trade before spring training begins.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.