Chicago Cubs left-hander Jose Quintana is enjoying a run of success unlike anything he’s seen since coming to the North Side via trade two years ago.
Any time you unload multiple top prospects in a deal, you expect a high-quality return in exchange. Now, how you evaluate said return is debatable: did the trade help you win a championship? Did the player acquired play up to the level you anticipated? Since the Chicago Cubs acquired Jose Quintana in a midseason 2017 deal, the answer to both of those questions has been a resounding “no.”
In the midst of their World Series hangover 2017 campaign, the Cubs sent a package of prospects headlined by outfielder Eloy Jimenez and pitcher Dylan Cease to their crosstown rivals in exchange for Quintana. At that point, the left-hander had anchored the Chicago White Sox rotation for the half a decade, consistently putting up an earned run average in the low-3.00s and making 30 starts on a year-in and year-out basis.
On the whole, the lefty pitched well down the stretch for the Cubs, especially against the Milwaukee Brewers, a team that, one year later, wound up overtaking Chicago in the National League Central. On Sept. 24, Quintana turned in his first shutout of the season, a 10-strikeout, three-hit performance at Miller Park.
Still, there was plenty to be desired given how much Chicago gave up to bring in Quintana. The month prior, he allowed half a dozen runs in two separate outings and four in a third, accounting for half of his starts that month. But on the heels of his clutch performance against Milwaukee, there was cause for optimism heading into the postseason.
Against Washington in the NLDS, Quintana was masterful. He did not allow a run in two appearances spanning 6 1/3 innings, including going toe-to-toe with Max Scherzer in a Game 3 win. Of course, that marked Quintana’s postseason debut – and he made quite the impression, to say the least.
Facing the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS, the wheels sort of came off not just for the veteran left-hander (10.29 ERA/10.3 H/9 in two starts) – but the team, as a whole, as Los Angeles won the pennant, advancing to the 2017 Fall Classic and ending the Cubs’ season.