Chicago Cubs’ starting rotation this year has been quite underwhelming and it’s one of the key reasons why they find themselves sitting in third place in the NL Central. Former Cy young award winner Jake Arrieta and four-time All-Star Jon Lester both have ERAs over 4.00 and old reliable John Lackey has an ERA over 5.00 while sitting on the disabled list with plantar facitis in his right foot. All of these problems made it clear to the Cubs they needed to make a move now and they went big with Jose Quintana from the Chicago White Sox.
The Cubs had to pay quite a price for Quintana, giving up outfielder Eloy Jiménez (top rated prospect), right-handed pitcher Dylan Cease (second best prospect), and two minor-league infielders Matt Rose and Bryant Flete. This is the first trade between the crosstown rivals since 2006 when the Cubs acquired Neal Cotts from the White Sox in exchange for David Aardsma and Carlos Vasquez.
Quintana, 28, is 4-8 with a 4.49 ERA this year 104 1/3 innings pitched, but has a solid track record last the few seasons and a change of scenery could be just what he needs. Quintana brought back a pretty big package because he is no rental being under contract through 2018 with club options for 2019 and 2020.
The White Sox continue to stockpile prospects and are creating a stacked farm system that gives them a lot of hope for the future. Here’s a look of what they got from the Cubs.
Jiménez, 20, is rated as the eighth best prospect in baseball and played in his second straight Futures game this year, playing for the World Squad. Jiménez was in advanced Single-A having a nice season slashing .271/.351/.490 with eight home runs and 32 RBI’s.
He has spent most of his time playing in left field, but could hold his own in right with his strong arm that just needs to be a little more accurate. Jiménez is going to be a solid player when he gets to the next level and has the potential to be one of the next stars of the game.
Cease, 21, is ranked as the 63rd best prospect in baseball and he is a guy that has frontline starter potential. He has a fastball that ranges from 94-98 MPH that he can sink and run around the strike zone, making it difficult for hitters to square it up. His curveball could stand be more consistent, but it’s a fine pitch when he can command it well.
Cease has been able to clean up his delivery, which will help with his longevity down the line and he has started to find the strike zone on a regular basis this year. He still has a lot to prove, but chance of him being something big is very likely.
Rose, 22, has done nothing special since being drafted by the Cubs in 11th round of the 2015 MLB draft and was playing advanced Single-A in the Cubs system, slashing .227/.281/.481 with 14 home runs and 38 RBI’s. Rose plays first and third base, exhibiting some decent power and he is a good defender at first base.
Flete, 24, has never made it passed Single-A and is a guy who can play a multitude of positions spending most of his time at second base. He was having one of his best professional seasons in 2017, slashing .305/.355/.425 with 15 doubles, six home runs, and 37 RBI’s.
Cubs are not giving up this year and Jose Quintana can definitely help turn them around if he’s able to pitch like he did in June. White Sox just keep loading up on prospects, which is always good, but basing their future on a lot of variables could provide some problems if some key players do not pan out.