According to one report, the Toronto Blue Jays have scouted White Sox starter, Jose Quintana ahead of July 31st Trade Deadline
The Toronto Blue Jays front office has said that they are looking for ways to improve the team for now and in the future. That can be interpreted as a team that is looking to add talent at the July 31st Trade Deadline. One supposes that it can also be interpreted as a team possibly selling off enough pieces to get younger pieces in return, which would set them up better for the future. What is more realistic is the Blue Jays pulling off a move like they did last year, which does a bit of both.
Last summer, Toronto landed Francisco Liriano (valuable starting pitcher) and two prospects for Drew Hutchison. The move was enabled by Ross Atkins (with team blessing) willingness to take on the remainder of Liriano’s $13M/yr salary. Given the state of his farm system, Atkins could look to do something similar this year. There is a bevy of talent at his disposal, but it is a couple of years away from being the kind of capital to use to land a big fish in a trade. So, perhaps, he could be willing to take on more of a financial commitment this summer, which sounds crazy in the context of Blue Jays baseball, doesn’t it?
If that is the route they go, a starter like Jose Quintana makes a lot of sense for this team, which is why the Blue Jays are said to have a scout watching him recently. He’s got a few more years remaining on his current contract, so would definitely fit the long term goal.
In fact, at no more than $10.5M per season at its most (during the two option years), this is a contract that would look very good on the Blue Jays’ books. And, that is quite a steal for someone like Quintana. An All Star in 2016, Quintana has thrown 200 innings in each of the last 4 seasons and has reached the 100 inning mark already this year. The Venezuelan is just 28 years old, so would be looking at a few more years of effectiveness.
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The beauty of Quintana is that he throws strikes as evidenced by his career walk rate of 6.5%. He’ll strike out 20% of batters he faces, but is seeing his HR/FB% grow in each of the last few seasons. He averages 92.5 on his fastball. His best pitch is his curveball at a wCB value of 2.6 (per Fangraphs). He hasn’t posted lower than 3.5 fWAR since 2013 and has hovered around 5 wins. He would definitely be a nice catch for the Blue Jays.
But, that doesn’t mean it is as easy as all that. The White Sox are in the position that many feel the Blue Jays are – they aren’t that much further out of their own race(s) than Toronto is. Chicago is looking to get young talented prospects in return for any pieces they move. They are already in the midst of that process and have several players they can move this July. Melky Cabrera‘s deal is up at the end of this season as is Todd Frazier‘s, making them easy trade chips. Quintana may not fall into that category. With more years of team control, his price will be more than the others, especially if Chicago believes it can compete in the final years of his deal.
Can the Blue Jays afford to pay the potential asking price? Again, with not much prospect capital, they may need to rely on their financial ability. Of course, another option is to deal from the major league roster. Could the White Sox possibly be looking for a replacement for Cabrera? Would they like Dalton Pompey? He’s not currently on the big league roster, but he probably could be. That is not to say that Pompey is enough (and it would stink to have to give him up), but he could be a piece worth talking about. If he, money and another minor leaguer gets you Jose Quintana, Toronto has to jump on it.
There is no way to tell what would make a deal like this happen. In fact, there is no way to even gauge how far the Blue Jays will wade into these waters. With the Yankees, Cardinals, Orioles, Royals, Angels all having scouts in attendance, it isn’t too difficult to imagine a bidding war of sorts. As soon as one starts, we know that Toronto folds its cards and tries another table.
Perhaps, the real take away from this is that if the Blue Jays really are interested in Quintana and are exploring ways to land him, it signifies proof of what management has been saying: that this team is looking for ways to get better now and for the future. Jose Quintana would accomplish that.
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