While Jose Quintana and the Rangers have been mentioned in rumors since December, nothing yet has come to fruition. According to a report from Bob Nightengale though, the Rangers have “suddenly[...] increased their pursuit” of the White Sox’s left-hander.
Of course, who and where these reports are released from is routinely of interest as well, and Evan Grant of SportsDay has reason to believe that this was a leak from the White Sox’s camp.
It is Grant’s belief that the White Sox stand the most to gain from this news being leaked. Grant explains that the White Sox could be using the Rangers’ rumored involvement in Quintana discussions to coerce the Astros into making a better offer. He elaborates:
Houston has been the most aggressive team in pursuing the 28-year-old lefty, who can be under club control through 2020 at very team-friendly contract terms. But those talks appear to have been stalled. News of an increased offer from the Rangers could act to spur Houston into upping its offer.
Regardless of interpretation, one thing seems certain from these rumors: that Quintana is still available. While the White Sox do appear to be going through a rebuild, there isn’t necessarily a dire need to sell on Quintana. The 28-year-old left-hander is under team control through the 2020 season, and only be owed $35.8 million over those next four seasons.
However, while the White Sox front office has done a great job restocking their farm system, it is relatively pitcher-heavy and could use some diversity; diversity that a pitcher like Quintana could garner in the right deal.
Not many pitchers have been as effective or sturdy as Quintana has been since 2013. Over the past four seasons, only 11 pitchers have pitched more innings than Quintana. Even further, only six pitchers have been worth more wins above replacement than Quintana by FanGraphs’ measure. His 18.1 WAR puts him right between fellow lefties Jon Lester and Madison Bumgarner and in elite company. Former teammate, Chris Sale, comes in at third on the list.
With two weeks remaining until pitchers and catchers report for spring training, it will be interesting to follow whether or not Quintana will report in a familiar White Sox jersey, or to another complex altogether. There are lots of teams looking to add pitching, and it seems to depend on the White Sox getting fair value for their remaining ace.