Just one day before the start of the second half, the White Sox had their druthers in the most dramatic way possible. The White Sox traded Jose Quintana, their most valuable trade asset, to the Cubs for a top-tier package of prospects headlined by the MLB.com’s 8th-ranked Eloy Jimenez. Since the end of January, White Sox GM Rick Hahn was asked what it would take to move Jose Quintana. He was asked when it would happen. He was asked, coyly, if he’d ever deal with the Cubs. Today, there were answers.
On a conference call, Hahn expressed how hard it was to make the phone call and tell Quintana he’d been traded. “There was no part of this call to trade Q that I enjoyed,” Hahn said. The White Sox picked up Quintana as a minor-league free agent. Those pick ups never work out. Never. The Sox identified a talent. They molded him. Quintana worked as hard as anyone could ask and more.
By trading Quintana, the White Sox have added more into their pipeline. Jimenez, a massive corner outfielder, gives the White Sox their 7th top-100 prospect. It’s now becoming an embarrassment of riches throughout the White Sox system. Dylan Cease, the next best player in the deal, becomes the next in a growing line of White Sox minor league arms who hit triple digits on the radar gun.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the trade is the actual surprise of the trade.
No one had this. It was announced via press release. There were no leaks. There were no hints. There were no unnamed sources. Like a minor-league free agent panning out, that never happens.
There was, seemingly, many suitors for Quintana. Hahn told reporters there were multiple clubs interested–including teams who are not currently in contention. “Theo and I exchanged texts shortly after the draft about potential fits,” Hahn said. Sunday morning before the All Star game is when conversations really started to move. Hahn said he told the Cubs things were getting hot around Quintana and that it was time to act if they wanted him. Jimenez would need to be in the deal, however. “[There was] nothing for us to talk about with Cubs without Eloy in the deal,” Hahn said.
The trade reinforces the White Sox rebuild. Quintana is a top-of-the-rotation arm the Cubs desperately need for this season and beyond. Hopefully, for both teams, it’s a win-win.
Word was that the White Sox and Cubs would never do a deal. Hahn called that notion “somewhat laughable.” The White Sox front office is in the business of making the best deal possible. It’s devoted to setting up the long-term success of the club and, to that end, nothing is off the table. There is still work to do before the deadline at the end of the month. The Sox may well deal more talent to bolster a preposterously strong minor league system. One thing is for sure; the biggest headline has been made.