Chicago Cubs: Which 3 Cubs could be traded during the 2020 season?

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Jose Quintana / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Trading Quintana this year makes a ton of sense

Jose Quintana has never been an ace. He was the best pitcher on some lackluster White Sox staffs, but he’s not one of the best pitchers in baseball and he never has been. That didn’t stop Epstein from paying an ace’s price when he acquired the left-hander ahead of the deadline in 2017, though.

Since coming to the North Side, Quintana has compiled a 4.23 ERA, 3.95 FIP and 1.303 WHIP across 429 2/3 regular season innings. Again, that’s a quality four on a decent big league staff. But the Cubs knew what they would be getting out of him – long-term cost control. Heading into the final season of his deal, the southpaw will earn just his prorated portion of his $10.5 million salary this year.

Why does this matter? For two reasons. First and foremost, the Cubs spent the entire offseason trying to reset their luxury tax penalties and get under the bottom competitive balance tax threshold. They failed to do so – and the now altered 2020 season format could make this even costlier than it would have been initially.

Trading Quintana helps Epstein get closer to getting under that $208 million mark and resets the team’s spending penalties heading into next offseason. Secondly, a team in the midst of a playoff push could easily absorb that kind of money, potentially shoring up their rotation for the stretch run and postseason for a palatable sum.