White Sox

Why the Yankees are the perfect trade partner for White Sox Jose Quintana

Why the Yankees are the perfect trade partner for White Sox Jose Quintana

Recent reports suggest the prospect-hungry White Sox received a recent inquiry from the New York Yankees about the availability of All-Star pitcher Jose Quintana.

According to one analyst, there’s nobody that general manager Rick Hahn would rather hear from than Yankees counterpart Brian Cashman when it comes to the possibility of trading Quintana, who is affordably signed through 2020 and has produced 18.1 Wins Above Replacement the past four seasons, according to fangraphs.com. Not only might the Yankees need Quintana now more than ever, MLB.com’s Jim Callis opines, they possess the top farm system in baseball and could absorb the high cost.

A first-time All-Star in 2016, Quintana has received similar hot stove attention to Chris Sale and Adam Eaton, each of whom was included in a blockbuster trade at the Winter Meetings earlier this month. The Houston Astros and Pittsburgh Pirates have also reportedly shown interest in Quintana, one of baseball’s most productive starting pitchers over the past four seasons. Set to earn $36.85 million through 2020 if both his team options are exercised, Quintana could be worth as much as Sale.

While Callis said on CSNChicago.com’s most recent White Sox Talk podcast that he isn’t certain New York would part with shortstop Gleyber Torres, the club has three other top prospects (all are ranked in the Top 22 on MLB.com’s current top 100) around which to build a package.

“If I’m Rick Hahn, I want to be talking to Brian Cashman about Jose Quintana,” Callis said. “That would be the No. 1 team to matchup with because of need, desperation, value prospects they have. You could make a really nice deal there.”

The White Sox have already done extremely well with the returns for Sale and Eaton, who brought back seven prospects, including four currently ranked in MLB.com’s Top 30 (Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Michael Kopech).

Though he doesn’t possess the same arsenal as Sale, Quintana has a 3.35 ERA since 2013 and one more year left on his deal than Boston Red Sox ace, who is signed through 2019. That extra season could have Quintana in the same value range as Sale, who netted Moncada, the top position player prospect in the majors, Kopech, who has drawn comparisons to Noah Syndergaard, toolsy outfielder Luis Basabe and pitcher Luis Diaz, who has a good fastball.

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Hahn and the White Sox have attached a premium price to Quintana and aren’t inclined to deal him unless its met. With five of seven prospects acquired being pitchers, its believed the White Sox would like to acquire another big bat and are more focused on position players.

Five of the Yankees’ top six prospects are position players, including, Torres, outfielders Clint Frazier, Aaron Judge and Blake Rutherford and infielder Jorge Mateo. Rutherford is ranked as the No. 51 prospect in MLB.com’s Top 100 and the rest are in the Top 22.

While the Yankees need another starting pitcher, speculation continues that the club may prefer to hang onto its top prospects, many of whom were acquired last July in trades for Andrew Miller, Aroldis Chapman and Carlos Beltran. The general message out of New York has remained consistent the past six months: The Yankees like their farm system and aren’t too eager to dip into it.

Still, Callis thinks the club could feel more pressure to make a move. Not only are the Red Sox with Sale a strong contender for the pennant, the Yankees have only a 2015 wild card loss to Houston to show for the past four seasons. The team’s lack of success could hurt both its cable ratings and its ability to draw fans. Even if the Yankees have to pay the premium for Quintana, Callis thinks the system is deep enough to handle such a move.

The entire scenario has Hahn in a good place.

“That’d be the perfect team to engage because I think the Yankees have the best farm system right now and the deepest,” Callis said. “The Yankees can make that trade and still have a good farm system and really improve their big league club.

“I do think teams value their prospects, but they also value winning. You’ve got to catch a team in the right cycle. Just using the Yankees for example, yes they went out an acquired prospects. But viewership on the YES Network was down. And if the Yankees aren’t winning, people aren’t going to pay for the YES Network. They have to win.”

“What they did was good for the long-term future of the franchise. But if the Yankees win 80 games this year and miss the playoffs again — they’re not going to be able to keep doing that. They’re going to go all in and start trading these guys.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: Luis Robert does things that make you say wow

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Luis Robert does things that make you say wow

Luis Robert has been a big story in the Arizona Fall League. He recently had a 14-game hitting streak and was named the AFL Player of the Week. Chuck Garfien went to Arizona for a firsthand look at one of the White Sox top prospects. On the podcast, Garfien first speaks with Robert’s minor league hitting coach Charlie Poe. Then he talks with Mike Ferrin of MLB Network Radio about Robert as well as the White Sox reported pursuit of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.

03:24 - Poe on Robert’s 14-game hitting streak 

04:30 - Robert’s new favorite English word to say 

07:25 - Why Poe compares Winston-Salem manager Omar Vizquel to Prince 

09:10 - Why other top prospects stop what they’re doing whenever Robert comes to the plate. 

11:00 - Mike Ferrin talks about his impressions of Robert

18:00 - Can the White Sox sign Harper or Machado?

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

White Sox Talk Podcast

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White Sox free-agent focus: J.A. Happ

White Sox free-agent focus: J.A. Happ

This week, we’re profiling some of the biggest names on the free-agent market and taking a look at what kind of fits they are for the White Sox.

The White Sox need starting pitching. So why not take a cue from the fine folks at Jewel and think local?

J.A. Happ is an Illinois native and attended Northwestern, and he’s a free-agent starting pitcher coming off a mighty fine season in 2018. Following a midseason trade to the New York Yankees, he posted a 2.59 ERA in 11 starts. While his numbers vastly improved after he left the Toronto Blue Jays, he finished the 2018 campaign with a career-high 193 strikeouts. In addition to last year’s success in the Bronx, he had an ERA under 4.00 in each of the three seasons prior, playing in Toronto in 2016 and 2017 and splitting time between the Seattle Mariners and Pittsburgh Pirates in 2015.

What Happ doesn’t seem to be, however, is a long-term option. He just turned 36 years old, meaning he likely doesn’t align with the White Sox rebuilding timeline and the planned opening of the team’s contention window.

What Happ could do, however, is serve as a bridge (however long) to that future, a future where Michael Kopech is recovered from his Tommy John surgery and Dylan Cease has reached the major leagues. You could certainly do much worse than Happ when it comes to finding a one- or two-year fill-in, and the White Sox were reportedly "working to sign" Happ during last week's GM Meetings in Southern California.

Happ would also serve as a veteran presence and potential mentor for the team’s young pitchers, the kind of role James Shields filled last season. Rick Hahn discussed the importance of that role last week.

“Having someone in there who provides a level of stability for the rotation and dependability every fifth day has some appeal that you would allow young players to go through some of the growing pains that are inevitable in their development,” Hahn said. “Having someone who can play that veteran, mentor role who can help teach guys whether it's from a game prep standpoint ... or any level of alteration with certain pitches, which is where James had the biggest impact in the minors.

“Having a guy who can play that role has appeal. It's not just what a guy can do between the white lines, it's what a guy can do for you in the clubhouse, is part of this equation.”

Happ might not stoke fans’ imaginations in the same way fellow free agents like Patrick Corbin and Dallas Keuchel might. But he’s a more realistic option that would allow the White Sox to continue to develop a homegrown rotation of the future.

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