The Chicago Cubs could have waited another couple of weeks, seen if their underachieving team might find its stride in July and evaluated a handful of trade possibilities ahead of the July 31 deadline. But why wait and let another 10 percent of your season go by when you already know what you are lacking, and where to find it?
On Thursday, just two days after the All-Star Game, a day before the start of the season’s unofficial second half, and a good 2½ weeks before the deadline, the Cubs pulled the trigger on a major trade to bolster their sagging rotation, landing left-hander Jose Quintana from their crosstown rivals, the Chicago White Sox, in exchange for four prospects. Quintana, 28, is 4-8 with a 4.49 ERA this season, but was an all-star as recently as 2016.
The cost to the Cubs was steep: one of the four prospects was Class A outfielder Eloy Jimenez, rated as MLB’s fifth-best prospect in Baseball America’s midseason rankings. The other prospects were right-handed pitcher Dylan Cease, first baseman Matt Rose and infielder Bryant Flete. All four Cubs prospects were with the Cubs’ Class A affiliate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, which indicates the White Sox valued long-term upside over an immediate impact at the big league level.
Rather that wait on teams such as Pittsburgh (Gerrit Cole), Toronto (Marcus Stroman) or Detroit (Justin Verlander) to decide whether they will be buyers or sellers this month, the Cubs jumped at the chance to strike a deal with a team that harbored no illusions of contending. The White Sox have been in a rebuilding phase for months now, having already traded Chris Sale (to Boston) and Adam Eaton (Washington) over the winter.
The Cubs, whose curse-breaking 2016 World Series title made them a pop-culture phenomenon, were arguably baseball’s most disappointing team in the first half, going 43-45 and falling 5½ games behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Central. Despite assurances from Manager Joe Maddon, put forth as recently as this week, that the solution to the Cubs’ woes would be found within their own clubhouse, the front office clearly felt they needed reinforcements.
The Cubs already have a core of young position players that is the envy of baseball, but their rotation has been a mess all season and had little stability beyond this season, with Jake Arrieta and John Lackey hitting free agency and Jon Lester entering his mid-30s, when many starters begin to decline. Quintana is under contract through 2020.
The Cubs and White Sox rarely make trades with other, having gone 11 years – since Neal Cotts went from the White Sox to Cubs in exchange for David Aardsma – without such a deal before Thursday.Source: denverpost