GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jose Quintana and David Robertson appear to share a mutual disdain for hot stove rumors.
A day after the White Sox closer spoke about the difficulty of seeing his name involved in persistent trade talks this winter, Quintana echoed those same sentiments on Wednesday morning. Preferring only to address the constant trade talks once this spring, Quintana, a first-time All-Star last season, said he’s glad to have his focus returned to baseball after a long winter. Quintana — who produced 4.8 f-WAR in 2016 and received a fifth-place vote for the American League Cy Young Award — said he couldn’t avoid the trade chatter over the winter, where he was quite possibly the most rumored player in baseball.
“I feel really good, excited for a new year, a new camp, spring training again,” Quintana said. “You never know what’s going to happen, but during the offseason I heard a lot of rumors. But I said the same thing every time: ‘You don’t have control over that.’ Keep doing my preparation for the new year, new season and that’s about it.”
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Only a few weeks ago Quintana said he wants to remain with the White Sox, the franchise where he has blossomed into one of the best pitchers in baseball. He may not have the same pizzazz as Chris Sale, but Quintana has just as much consistency, producing 18.1 f-WAR over the past four seasons.
Throw in a 3.35 ERA, four consecutive seasons with 200 or more innings and his outstanding contract (he’s owed $36.85 million through 2020 if his team options are exercised) and it’s no wonder that Quintana’s name popped up across sports tickers everywhere throughout the winter. Whether it was Atlanta, Colorado, Houston, St. Louis, Pittsburgh or the New York Yankees, it seems like just about every team entertained a deal for Quintana this winter and none escaped the rumor mill.
Even though the season is officially underway — Quintana threw his first bullpen on Tuesday — the chatter isn’t likely to slow down. General manager Rick Hahn said Tuesday that he expects teams to continue making inquiries and he plans to keep answering the phone. But Quintana said he won’t allow lingering trade talk to distract him from his many goals, including pitching for Colombia next month in the World Baseball Classic and returning to the All-Star Game again in July.
“Absolutely not (it won’t be a distraction),” Quintana said. “I just try to keep my mind on the game and do my job every five days and help my team and that’s all I can do. I spend my time with my teammates and we all work hard.
“Yeah it’s a little bit hard when you hear too many things about rumors every time. But I don’t pay attention to that. I just put my focus on all the things I need to do, every bullpen, workouts and everything to be ready for Day 1.”