Astros fans on red alert after Jose Quintana was traded to the Chicago Cubs.
This trade is significant for the Astros, as one of the notarized pitchers they could acquire is removed from the list. The Cubs have made the first move, and a resulting domino effect looms as teams work quickly to acquire the pieces they feel necessary for playoff contention.
The Price Was High
Outfielder Eloy Jimenez and right-handed pitcher Dylan Cease are the top rated prospects in the Cubs farm system. Although Matt Rose and Bryant Flete are lower ranked prospects, the White Sox have successfully dealt Quintana on their terms. What this reflects is that it would have taken a package that included Derek Fisher, Francis Martes, Kyle Tucker and other prospects to acquire Quintana.
The Ripple Effect
This trade also affects the value of other top pitchers available via trade. Teams now have the ability to ask for similar deals, due to a slim market for quality starting pitchers. The price for Sonny Gray, Jacob deGrom, Justin Verlander and Marcus Stroman will increase. The Astros will have a lot to consider. It will not be surprising to see teams set the price higher, in hopes to catch teams in desperation. However, the Astros are not the most desperate team at the moment.
What do We Do?
There are a few factors to keep in mind as the trade landscape develops:
First, Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh are both on track to return to the rotation in the next few weeks. The Keuchel, McCullers, McHugh and Morton rotation carries plenty of ability and experience as a solid rotation now and in the playoffs.
Second, the starting pitching market is a mess. DeGrom and Stroman are the only two pitchers listed above that have winning records. Gray is coming off an injury, but he has shown improvement these last few weeks. Verlander carries a high payroll value ($28 million for 2017-2019, $22 million in 2020) and is 34 years old.
Lastly, Fisher, Tucker, Martes and many others are the future of the organization. The organization has drafted well and assembled players to keep this team competitive for years to come. With free agency looming on marquee players, the Astros have a lot to consider between now and July 31st.
***Stats and data provided by MLB.com, Ken Rosenthal***