Chicago Cubs: Option picked up – now it’s time to perform
Quintana finished the season with a 13-11 record, a 4.03 ERA and 158 strikeouts in 174 1/3 innings spanning 32 games.
When you really look at the Cubs pitching rotation, it doesn’t seem like he needs to exceed those numbers. Especially after the announced deal that spells a Cole Hamels return next season and a (hopefully) healthy and (hopefully) resurgent Yu Darvish back in the mix, that line isn’t too shabby for someone who would presumably be the team’s fifth starter so he remains a valuable piece to the success of the Cubs.
However, despite his recently picked up option, a bargain at just $10.5M, we must figure out how the 29-year old factors into the Cubs’ future plans. With the majority of the rotation in their mid-30s, we have to see more from Quintana to carry the torch and be the bridge into the next generation.
He needs to be more like the pitcher we see during a handful of big games. He needs to pitch as he has shown in performances such as the 2017 National League Division Series versus the Washington Nationals or Game 163 against the Milwaukee Brewers this past season.
Without Quintana making any progression or strides towards this, he may be in danger of becoming just another Ernie Broglio if Jimenez and Cease become superstars with the White Sox.
He will continue to face the lofty expectations. A bit of that is unfair, but it will undoubtedly follow him into next season and beyond.
But Quintana needs to silence his critics and the negative connotations they bring in 2019 by showing that bringing him aboard a young, contending club was a reward and worth the risk.