Taking a look back at the Chicago Cubs' trade for Jose Quintana

Chicago Cubs v Chicago White Sox
Chicago Cubs v Chicago White Sox / Jonathan Daniel/GettyImages

At the 2017 trade deadline, the Chicago Cubs made a move that at the time looked great, but fast-forward 5 years, became awful. On July 13th, 2017, the Cubs traded Dylan Cease, Eloy Jimenez, Matt Rose, and Bryant Flete to the Chicago White Sox for Jose Quintana. As Flete and Rose did not do anything, Jimenez and Cease are currently stars of the Chicago White Sox. Cease, who finished 2nd in the American League Cy Young voting in 2022 absolutely dominated. Jimenez has struggled with injuries, but when he is healthy, he is a fantastic hitter, who in 4 seasons has a .276 batting average, 71 homers, and 211 RBI. Jose Quintana, however, could not maintain an ERA lower than 4 in his 4 seasons with the Cubs. 

So, what happened? What did Theo Epstein see in Quintana? The Cubs were not thrilled with Mike Montgomery being a starter in 2017, so trading for a pitcher seemed necessary. Quintana was the hot arm for his previous 4 seasons but struggled in 2017. Epstein hoped he would turn it around by being on a better team and helping with a playoff push. When Quintana came to Wrigley, he finished the 2017 season with a 3.74 ERA. Unfortunately, for the rest of his time with the Cubs, he couldn’t see those numbers again. 

Dylan Cease has clearly been the prize of the trade. In 2022, Cease finished the season with a 2.20 ERA, a 1.109 WHIP, and 227 strikeouts, finishing 2nd in the Cy Young voting. Cease’s future is bright, he is the ace of the White Sox, and there will also be the question of what the Cubs could look like with Cease in the rotation. 

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Trading for the hot arm or hot player may not always be the best move. However, the 2017 Cubs were hoping for a back-to-back title. Trading Cease and Jimenez drastically changed the future for the Cubs. But trading players, especially when prospects are involved, will always be risky. The Jose Quintana for Dylan Cease and Eloy Jimenez trade will likely go down as one of the worst Cubs trades in the last decade.