By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) Chicago White Sox management urged players to begin moving on Friday, following the trade of the team’s best pitcher and valued friend Thursday.
The exit of ace left-hander Jose Quintana in the trade with the Chicago Cubs, which brought four minor leaguers to the White Sox, had certainly numbed the group. In a team meeting, manager Rick Renteria asked the players for understanding and the continued professionalism they had shown in the first 87 games of the season.
It’s easier said than done. The harsh reality kicked in that the team was losing its best pitcher for players of the future.
As media members asked for a reaction, a few of the players who are usually willing to converse hit the field without commenting. That’s understandable when you consider how popular Quintana was a teammate and friend.
“He is just a professional,” third baseman Todd Frazier said. “He just goes out there and works his tail off. He doesn’t say much of anything. Whether he does good or bad, he just gets after it. You never know if he is having a bad day. He never wants to make other people feel bad. He is a number one where ever he goes.”
General manager Rick Hahn admitted Friday that Quintana had told him the trade rumors had distracted him. Frazier, who was traded to the White Sox prior to the 2016 season, understands Quintana was somewhat shaken up.
“It was his first trade,” said Frazier, who’s also rumored to be on the trade block. “When I first got traded, it bothered me a little bit. The rumors I loved. You really don’t know what is coming until you get that call. This was the only team he played for. He came up with this team. Like I told him, just go out and play. It is just baseball no matter who you play for. Bottom line is it’s a business and you must understand that.”
The White Sox understand they weren’t going to the playoffs anytime soon. So the trade wasn’t unexpected. That said, moving on from Quintana can be difficult.
“This has been tough since Q told us the news,” a dejected Jose Abreu said. “Like I told him, you are going to be OK. You are a really good pitcher, a great human being. You are going to be fine, no matter what team you’re on. We all wished him our best.”
Hahn is still on the prowl for more young players and deals before July 31.
“We are dealing with professionals here,” he said of the team. “They understand what we are about and what we are trying to do here in the long term. We try to be as honest as we can with that. I know the manager and the coaches’ focus from day one has been to win that day’s ballgame. That is not going to change regardless of which 25 players are in uniform here. The players undoubtedly will change, but our approach won’t.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.