White Sox

Cubs 'best offer' for Jose Quintana made it easy for Rick Hahn, White Sox to quickly pull trigger

Cubs 'best offer' for Jose Quintana made it easy for Rick Hahn, White Sox to quickly pull trigger

After they missed on closing out a Jose Quintana trade last offseason, the White Sox converted on Thursday morning and gave an already-impressive rebuild another layer.

Only four days after talks began, the White Sox agreed to send their 2016 All-Star pitcher to the Cubs in exchange for a four-player package that includes highly-touted prospect Eloy Jimenez. The right fielder gives the White Sox a critical potential impact bat they needed as part of their plan as well as a hard-throwing right-hander in Dylan Cease, whom one American League scout described as a poor man’s Michael Kopech, and two Single-A infielders. The contents of the package were good enough to convince general manager Rick Hahn to part with Quintana, who blossomed during his 5 1/2 seasons with the White Sox. Hahn said his team’s return from the Cubs far exceeds any offer they’d previously received.

“We had a few things that we felt got to about that 5-yard line (in December) and then in the end, for whatever reason, things fall apart, which happens frankly more often than not in these situations,” Hahn said. “In our opinion, in retrospect this deal actually trumps anything that we discussed last offseason.”

After a quick discussion last month, talks between the teams gained steam on Sunday when Hahn texted Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein to see if he had interest in Quintana. Hahn didn’t realize it at the time, but he inadvertently texted Epstein during the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 10-run first inning on Sunday.

Having previously held discussions with others clubs that were advanced enough where the White Sox considered holding Quintana from starting on Friday in Denver, Hahn wanted to gauge the Cubs’ interest. He immediately informed Epstein the White Sox would only move forward if Jimenez and Cease were included in the package. A day later, Epstein contacted Hahn, who was in Miami at the All-Star Fan Fest with his son, Charlie. The two traded text messages back and forth while Hahn sat in the Marlins Park crowd for Tuesday’s All-Star Game before they reached an agreement.

“This was the best package offered to us and we were ready to pull the trigger on it and it finally came into place,” Hahn said.

The package gives the White Sox arguably the best farm system in baseball. The team now possesses nine of MLBPipeline.com’s top-100 prospects and seven top-100 farmhands, according to BaseballAmerica.com. Of MLB.com’s nine, six have been acquired in the trades for Quintana, Chris Sale and Adam Eaton.

The return also validates Hahn’s decision to hold off on trading Quintana last offseason. Hahn and the White Sox received some criticism in May when Quintana had two of the worst starts of his career in consecutive outings.

Reviews from scouts around the league varied but mostly favored the package the White Sox received. One AL scout said Jimenez “might be a monster — wouldn’t surprise me if he ends up better than (Yoan) Moncada.” A National League scout said the White Sox end of the deal is “good not great — Jimenez is really good.” One reason several scouts cited for a good grade instead of great is the question of whether or not Cease sticks as a starting pitcher. Either way, Hahn said he’s more than satisfied with what the White Sox got back dating back to when Quintana unofficially became available last season.

“This package of prospects we received today not only was far and away the best offer, the best possibility, that we’ve discussed with any club since we’ve started this process rough a year ago or so,” Hahn said. “But it’s one that allows us to continue to add to the prospect base that we’ve accumulated in a potentially high impact way.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: Class A manager Justin Jirschele, youngest manager in professional baseball

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Class A manager Justin Jirschele, youngest manager in professional baseball

27-year-old Justin Jirschele made quite an impression in his first season as manager of the White Sox Class-A affiliate in Kannapolis. He helped lead the Intimidators to the South Atlantic League championship, and was named White Sox Minor League Coach of the Year. Jirschele came on the podcast to speak with Chuck Garfien about how he went from playing minor league baseball with the White Sox to coaching in their system. He talks about how growing up with a dad who was coaching minor league baseball helped mold him as a manager who is wise beyond his years. Jirschele also gives a report on some of the top White Sox prospects he managed last season such as Jake Burger, Alec Hansen, Dane Dunning and Miker Adolfo.

After baseball punishes Braves, one ranker says White Sox have game's best farm system

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USA TODAY

After baseball punishes Braves, one ranker says White Sox have game's best farm system

The White Sox farm system is baseball's best, according to one of the people making those rankings.

In the wake of Major League Baseball's punishment of the Atlanta Braves for breaking rules regarding the signing of international players — which included the removal of 12 illegally signed prospects from the Braves' organization — MLB.com's Jim Callis tweeted out his updated top 10, and the White Sox are back in first place.

Now obviously there are circumstances that weakened the Braves' system, allowing the White Sox to look stronger by comparison. But this is still an impressive thing considering that three of the White Sox highest-rated prospects from the past year are now full-time big leaguers.

Yoan Moncada used to be baseball's No. 1 prospect, and pitchers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez weren't too far behind. That trio helped bolster the highly ranked White Sox system. Without them, despite plenty of other highly touted prospects, common sense would say that the White Sox would slide down the rankings.

But the White Sox still being capable of having baseball's top-ranked system is a testament to the organizational depth Rick Hahn has built in such a short period of time.

While prospect rankings are sure to be refreshed throughout the offseason, here's how MLB Pipeline's rankings look right now in regards to the White Sox:

4. Eloy Jimenez
9. Michael Kopech
22. Luis Robert
39. Blake Rutherford
57. Dylan Cease
90. Alec Hansen