Time for the Astros to move on from Jose Quintana now that he is a Cub.
The Houston Astros are in first place in the American League West by 16.5 games. It’s not that they must make a trade to make the playoffs. They will make a trade to sure up the team for the playoffs. Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers are the co-aces of this staff, but they need a third starter for game three of the playoffs.
However, Jeff Luhnow is not going to overpay for that prospect. This was the case for the Jose Quintana trade that went down earlier as Clint Irle wrote about at CTH. After constant rumors linking the Astros to Quintana going back to the offseason, we can now move forward. What the trade does offer Astros fans is a preview of the cost of doing business.
The price was not right.
The White Sox have been seeking a large haul in return for Quintana, and the Astros couldn’t reach a deal. According to Bob Nightengale, the Astros never came close to offering what the Cubs did. That is not surprising considering how the offseason came and went. As of the beginning of the season, I was still convinced that Quintana would be an Astro.
Now we can move on to the next target, so would the Astros have had the prospects to top the Cubs trade? Let’s look at where the players were ranked in the Cubs system based on MLB Pipeline.
#1 – Eloy Jimenez
#2 – Dylan Cease
When there is a need and a team is willing to make a trade, no prospect is untouchable. People around baseball are shocked that the 20-year-old outfielder Jimenez who has a potential upside of Giancarlo Stanton. Jimenez was signed by the Cubs via International free agency in 2013. They also gave up Cease who has a devastating fastball ranked as a 70 grade by MLB Pipeline.
Too much for Quintana?
All players involved were in the lower levels of the Cubs system with high upside. It is hard to come up with an equal trade value for the Astros as Jim Callis tweeted. The Astros weren’t offering a player like Jimenez who is ranked as the eighth top prospect in baseball. The hard part is to find players equal to those not in the top 30, but I can try.
It would have taken Kyle Tucker and Francis Martes, but I think the White Sox would have wanted Forrest Whitley instead of Martes. Who would have been the other players involved? Let’s shoot for Myles Straw and Jack Mayfield. That was a total guess. It’s hard to find players having success at the lower levels not in the top thirty prospects.
Maybe we would have to have to give up better secondary prospects because we didn’t have Jimenez to offer. It doesn’t matter. This deal shows that we would have to trade away some of our precious prospects to get the guy we want. The Cubs also prevented the Brewers from trading for him.
We can finally move on from Quintana and focus on other more obtainable pitchers. The White Sox were asking for too much, and they got it from the Cubs. GM Rick Hahn said that he came close to some deals in December, but this one trumps any of them. Congrats, you cashed in high on one more trade chip Hahn, Luhnow folded with a pair of two’s.
***Stats from MLB Pipeline***