Chicago Cubs: Jose Quintana may be yet another trade chip

(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /

With  Jose Quintana entering his final year with the Cubs in 2020, there will be many questions surrounding what to do with the 30-year-old left-hander.

Jose Quintana‘s career with the Chicago Cubs has been looked at under a microscope. Many people have been very critical of Quintana since he was traded from the White Sox to the Cubs at the 2017 All-Star Break. The reason for the heavy criticism is because of who was traded for him: a pair of top prospects in outfielder Eloy Jimenez and pitcher Dylan Cease.

Those two names always get brought up when speaking about Quintana. Looking back on the trade, Theo Epstein probably could have gotten a better pitcher for what they gave up. But at the time the deal worked for both teams. The Cubs were looking for a younger starter with a team-friendly deal that had a few years of club control and that’s what they got.

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After the All-Star Break in 2017 was the best Quintana has been as a Cub. He was the guy the team was hoping it got. In 14 games post-trade, Quintana had a 3.74 ERA with 98 strikeouts and a K/9 of 10.5. It looks like a strong starting point for the southpaw.

Quintana has been very inconstant since coming to the North Side. It seems like he will have a stretch of really strong performances, then follow it up with a stretch of bad games. That’s not exactly what you are looking for out of a starting pitcher.

Quintana’s future with the club is kind of up in the air now. There are many ways it could go. With this being his last year of team control, where will the Cubs go with it? They have a few options. They could let him play out the 2020 season making $10.5 million and then let him walk in free agency after the year. The Cubs could look to extend him to lock him up after 2020 and keep a cheaper arm in the rotation. They could also look to trade him this offseason.

Trading Quintana is interesting to think about for a few reasons. We all have heard about how the Cubs are trying to shed payroll this offseason and not the $10.5 million is a bunch of money in the baseball world but it would be a start. Especially after hearing all the rumors about how Chicago can’t do anything until they do move some salary.

But you would have to expect that the return for Quintana would not be high and probably wouldn’t be MLB ready in 2020. Also, the Cubs are still in the market for another starting pitcher even with Quintana in the rotation now. That being said, I don’t think the Cubs will offer an extension to a pitcher that has underwhelmed so far on the North Side that will be in his 30s at the time of free agency.

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I think if Epstein were to trade Quintana it would be around the deadline next year if the team is not in contention to make a postseason run. Other than that they have other players to try to trade to move salary this offseason – without creating another hole in the staff.