I have to admit, I bailed out on the Cubs game last night when the score was nine to nothing, early. As I watched Tyler Chatwood struggle last night, I began to think about the return of Jose Quintana. What will Jose Quintana’s future be with the Cubs after his latest setback?
Yes, Kyle Hendricks had one rough outing, as did Yu Darvish, and now Chatty has had one. That only totals three in 13 games and the Cubs still have one of the best starting rotations in all of MLB. And that’s without Quintana in the rotation. With the trade deadline nearing, one can only wonder if Q may become trade bait.
He has been throwing, and by all accounts is doing well, but well enough to reenter the Cubs starting rotation? I just can’t see it as long as the current starters continue to do what they’ve been doing. Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, and Yu Darvish aren’t going anywhere. Alec Mills has been more than impressive, and with the exception of last night, Tyler Chatwood has looked phenomenal. There really is no room for a return to the rotation by Quintana, who will be questionable at best.
A Look Back at Quintana’s Time With Chicago
Q was just what the Cubs needed when they acquired him back in 2017, and no, I don’t have to remind anyone what the Cubs gave up in order to get him.
I always defined him as being “quietly solid,” although that seems to have slipped by the wayside over the past year. He is a workhorse though. Last year he made 32 starts for Chicago while throwing 171 innings. His 4.68 ERA leaves little to be desired, especially when you compare him to the Cubs’ current starting rotation.
When Quintana came to the Cubs from across town, he seemed brilliant. Grinding his way to wins in the 2017 season.
Oh, That Aching Bullpen. Could Quintana help?
There may be one benefit to holding onto Q. Now that Alec Mills and Tyler Chatwood are in for the starting rotation, the Cubs are a little short as far as a swingman is concerned. Q may very well prove to be a valuable asset out of the pen. The Cubs have absolutely no consistency with almost everybody out there right now.
Obviously, it’s no secret that the Cubs’ bullpen needs some serious help. Quintana isn’t going to fetch any brand name arms that are suddenly going to transform Chicago’s bullpen. A package deal maybe? Only time will tell.
Quintana is still relatively young, as he’ll only be turning 32 in January, so there is that aspect for potential buyers. Over the course of his eight-year career in the majors, he has posted a career ERA of 3.72, while notching a win/loss record of 83-77 (.519).
Jeremy Jeffress has been strong and Casey Sadler has shown some promise. I still hold out all the hope in the world for Rowan Wick, Brad Wieck, and Kyle Ryan – all of whom are controllable for a while.
Then There’s Kimbrel
Craig Kimbrel? I have no clue anymore. Dirty Craig has struggled since shortly after becoming a Cub, then endured a couple of IL stints. He hasn’t been the same ever since. The Cubs forked out $43 Million to hang on to Kimbrel until the year 2022, however, this is beginning to appear somewhat like the Brandon Morrow project. The major difference between the two being Morrow was always on the IL.
Kimbrel isn’t old enough to be considered over the hill yet, but his pitches as of late look more like he’s throwing a batting practice session, rather than pitching in a game. At this point, I have no idea what David Ross is supposed to do with him. Kimbrel could have earned a save the other night, and instead, Rossy bypassed him altogether.
Not that Quintana would become a closer, but he is a veteran who’s pitched in some stressful situations. He has the ability to rake, but has failed to do so on any sort of consistent level.
Could the Cubs Benefit From Trading Quintana?
Quintana is currently in the last year of his deal with Chicago. Short of using him out of the bullpen, I see no use for him. That is, as long as the current five continue to perform as they have been. The problem is, he has little to no trade value, based on a rough last couple of seasons. If the Cubs elect to trade Quintana, they won’t get much in return, as his ERA over the last five years with the Cubs sits at an unappealing 4.23. His WHIP over the same period is hovering at 1.386.
It may be one of those cases where a change of scenery will do him well. Meanwhile, it could also (possibly) benefit Chicago in terms of what they may be able to get back in trade. Almost any trade would require bundling him if they decide to go that route. After severing a nerve in his pitching thumb a few weeks back, the big question that looms is whether or not he will be able to return to 100%.
As I’ve said time and time again, I don’t believe that Bryant will ever sign another contract with the Cubs. You can blame his agent, Scott Boras, for that. Boras is simply doing his job, but he is pricing his ballplayers away from teams that desperately want to hang on to them.
I still can’t help but think that the Cubs are going to be dealing at least someone from their core before the month ends. Kris Bryant‘s name continues to resonate as the name most likely to be dealt. With Tom Ricketts and Theo Epstein, though, who knows? Let’s face it, anything could happen at this point.
I’ve seen a few articles recently discussing potential trade targets. Surprisingly enough, the ones I did read suggest that neither Kris Bryant nor Francisco Lindor would be traded this August.
The August 31st trade deadline is now only 25 days away. Rumblings are bound to start happening, and I suppose the answers to a lot of questions will be provided within the next few weeks. For right now though, it looks like the Cubs are playing more like the 2016 team than any team since then. There’s little doubt that they wouldn’t advance very far in a playoff scenario with the bullpen as it stands, so expect changes to come sooner rather than later.
Also, be sure to check out the Overtime Heroics Forums page to join in on the discussion!