To preface, as Nick went on a brief Twitter tangent about when it came out Tuesday night, no player is actually untouchable. Since the White Sox don’t have the best player in baseball on their roster, or likely even on of the 10 best, it’s entirely feasible for someone to bring along an offer that pries away Chris Sale, Avisail Garcia, or anyone else who would otherwise seem to be an immovable part of the White Sox future.
According to Dan Hayes, that list of players that it is nearly inconceivable that the Sox would trade also includes (well, Jose Abreu too) Jose Quintana.
(Letting that marinate)
Alright, I like Jose Quintana too. And placing unparalleled levels of confidence in him has worked out pretty well for the White Sox so far.
To most evaluators, the only thing more surprising than Quintana transforming from PED-suspension washout, to twice-released minor league free agent to churning out a 200-inning season with an ERA 22% better than the league average, would be him demonstrating the ability to do it consistently.
Quintana’s rapid growth and improvement is fascinating, and I will be eager to see his next steps no matter where they take place, but it would be hard to question the logic of selling high on him at this point. This is a chance to trade someone thought to have back-end rotation talent at best after a year of producing like a fringe No. 2 starter. His 2013 season is the magical “???” stage in the three-step path to profit.
Assuming–which I would like to do–that Quintana is the real deal, there’s still an issue of who is going to made available if not him. Without Sale, Garcia or Abreu, Quintana was the biggest trade piece the Sox had. Without him, there might not be anyone capable of pulling in an above-average regular on his own.
Hector Santiago has value, as does Addison Reed or Alexei Ramirez. But if there’s any substantive change to be made to this offense in this offseason, these are awfully small tools to go to work with. Dealing spare parts can expect similar returns.
Given their success in the area, trading from starting pitching and placing faith in their ability to develop replacements would be a way for the White Sox to play to their strengths. Jose Quintana could and should have years of great value to provide them, but the more the White Sox limit their options, the slower the rebuild they’re signing up for becomes.
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