(CBS) The Cubs and White Sox have pulled off a blockbuster trade.
The Cubs acquired left-hander Jose Quintana from the White Sox on Thursday morning in exchange for four prospects: outfielder Eloy Jimenez, right-hander Dylan Cease, infielder Bryant Flete and first baseman Matt Rose.
The 28-year-old Quintana has been one of baseball’s most consistent pitchers since entering the big leagues in 2012 and is also working on a team-friendly contract. Quintana has recorded four straight seasons of 200-plus innings and carries a career 3.51 ERA. He’s 4-8 with a 4.49 ERA and 1.32 WHIP this season.
Quintana is under club control through 2020 for about $37 million, making him about half the cost of what a high-quality No. 2 starter is worth. The Cubs had long been searching for a top-of-the-rotation pitcher in his prime under club control for several years.
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn reached out to Cubs president of baseball operations shortly after the amateur draft in early June to gauge the Cubs’ interest in Quintana. Those talks weren’t serious, but the conversation ramped up extensively when Hahn reached out to Epstein again Sunday morning. The two clubs spent the past four days discussing a Quintana deal before agreeing to it Wednesday night, Hahn said.
The 20-year-old Jimenez is ranked as the No. 5 prospect in the game by Baseball America. He’s hitting .271 with eight homers, 32 RBIs and 23 runs in 42 games at Class-A Myrtle Beach this season. He was the Midwest League’s Most Valuable Player in 2016.
“All four players add talent and depth to our organization, which has been one of our very public goals over the past nine months, and their ages and development arc match nicely with some of the other young talent we have been fortunate to add in recent trades, the draft and international signings,” Hahn said in a statement.
The 21-year-old Cease is 1-2 with a 2.79 ERA in 51 2/3 innings at Class-A South Bend this season. The Cubs selected him in the sixth round of the draft in 2014.
Flete, 24, is hitting .305 with six homers, 37 RBIs and 45 runs in 70 games at Class-A Myrtle Beach. The Cubs signed him in January 2012.
The 22-year-old Rose is hitting .227 with 14 homers and 38 RBIs in 65 games at Class-A Myrtle Beach this season.
Hahn called the Cubs’ offer for Quintana “far and away” the best the White Sox had received in the past year or so since Quintana went on the trade market.
Moving Quintana continues a rebuilding process that started in earnest when the White Sox traded ace left-hander Chris Sale to the Red Sox in early December in a deal that netted them 21-year-old top prospect Yoan Moncada, an infielder, and 20-year-old Michael Kopech, a highly regarded right-hander who hits triple digits on the radar gun.
“In Eloy, we are acquiring a player who, similar to Moncada, is viewed as one of the top prospects in baseball today with the potential for major impact in the not too distant future,” Hahn said. “Dylan brings us an impressive young pitcher who is ranked among the top pitching prospects in the game.”
This was the first time the two teams had traded with one another since 2006, when they swapped relievers Neal Cotts and David Aardsma.