After trading four prospects for starting left-handed pitcher Jose Quintana, Twitter blazed with reactions. Many even called for the Chicago Cubs to fire Epstein.
We get it. The season is frustrating for fans of the Chicago Cubs everywhere. Many of us are looking for that moment to blow up and run away. Today may have been that day. If you looked at Twitter, you would come to that conclusion, too.
No one saw this coming. Not Jim Bowden, nor anyone else. The rumors – which is Epstein speak for smokescreen – were all geared toward Kyle Schwarber moving to Detroit for a high-priced starter. Well, that is why you never listen to certain people “in the know.”
Simmer down folks. Take a step back and look at things logically. The trade for Jose Quintana was a brilliant move. Sure, it cost the team prospects, but the overall outcome slants in favor of the Cubs.
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Why in the world would you doubt President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein? Especially if you have a “2016 World Series” photo as your cover photo?
Let’s just remind ourselves of his recent work with the Cubs:
- Kyung-Min Na and Andrew Cashner to San Diego for Anthony Rizzo and Zach Cates
- Sean Marshall to Cincinnati for Ronald Torreyes, Dave Sappelt, and Travis Wood
- Ryan Dempster to Texas for Christian Villanueva and Kyle Hendricks
- Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman to Baltimore for Jake Arrieta, Pedro Strop and Cash
- Matt Garza to Texas for Carl Edwards Jr., Justin Grimm, Mike Olt, and Neil Ramirez
- Jeff Samardzjia and Jason Hammel to Oakland for Addison Russell, Billy McKinney, Dan Straily, and Cash
- Traded Dan Straily and Luis Valbuena to the Houston Astros. Received Dexter Fowler.
- Traded Starlin Castro to the New York Yankees. Received a player to be named later and Adam Warren.
- Traded Dan Vogelbach to the Seattle Mariners for Mike Montgomery.
- Traded Gleyber Torres plus other prospects and Adam Warren to the New York Yankees for Aroldis Chapman.
Over his career, Epstein moved pieces on his proverbial chess board and won. He won a lot more than he lost – and that’s putting it mildly.
This trade is no different.
Tale of the tape
When you step back and look at the trade, it is a win for the Chicago Cubs. First of all Quintana’s ERA is around 3.50 every year. Period. Sure, his record does not look great, but the lack of run support does not help. His overall number compare well to Jon Lester.
The contract is a major victory for the Cubs. The team now controls the left-handed starting pitcher for three seasons after this year. That means, if Jake Arrieta leaves, the team still has a top three of Lester, Hendricks, and Quintana. Furthermore, the most per year the Cubs will pay him is $11.5 million. That is only if the reaches certain levels of performance.
Currently, Quintana ranks 29th in cumulative Wins Above Replacement for all pitchers. He ranked in the top in start, ERA, walks per nine innings, innings pitched, strikeouts, home runs per nine, and games started in multiple seasons.
As a bonus, no other team that wanted Quintana can get him now. Not the Houston Astros, or Milwaukee Brewers.
Yes, the acquisition cost the Cubs two major prospects. Eloy Jimenez looks to have a promising future in the outfield, but is hitting .271 in Single-A ball. And Dylan Cease was also in Single-A. Neither player is expected to reach the majors until 2019.
Chicago boasts a roster wildly different than most reigning World Series champions. Young talent abounds – and the team enjoys control through 2020 more often than not. To be sure, it’s nothing to take for granted. But it’s because of the work Theo turned in the Cubs find themselves in such an enviable position.