Cubs News: A look back at five of Theo Epstein’s worst moves

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Chicago Cubs / Jose Quintana
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Chicago Cubs: Trading Jose Quintana for Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease

I still say that trading for Jose Quintana wasn’t necessarily the wrong move to make at the time back in 2017. It simply hasn’t worked out the way that we’d hoped.

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At the time of the trade with the crosstown White Sox, we knew that letting go of Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease was likely going to hurt later down the road. That’s not a surprise. However, the Cubs needed some starting pitching help as the team was floundering heading into the All-Star break, leading many to wonder whether the team was indeed suffering from a World Series hangover.

In Quintana, the Cubs got one of the American League’s most durable and consistent pitchers over the previous few years, though he was having a down 2017. He had a great first start for the team and did contribute in 2017, but he was up-and-down in 2018 and 2019 while missing most of 2020 due to injury. He simply hasn’t been the same pitcher that he was with the White Sox prior to the trade.

Jimenez and Cease, meanwhile, look like they will have bright careers with the White Sox, as both have reached the majors and become solid players. It sure would be nice to have them both back right now.

What really makes this trade painful is the fact that in 2017, the Cubs probably could have had Justin Verlander for next to nothing instead of Quintana. Instead, Verlander went to Houston and was tremendous for the Astros from 2017 to 2019.