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Today Marks The 4 Year Anniversary Of The White Sox Trading Jose Quintana To The Cubs

I remember this day like it was yesterday. It was early, I was sitting at my desk job slinging freight from coast to coast at a speed that would make your head spin, and boom!!! The White Sox and Cubs make a BLOCKBUSTER of a deal for the first time in.... maybe forever? It's not often those two organizations have ever traded with each other, let along a trade of this magnitude.

I want to break this trade down from the top. Jose Quintana was plucked off the scrap heap as a MiLB free agent in 2012. He spent time in both the Mets and Yankees organizations before the White Sox took a stab at him and inserted him into their rotation in 2013 after only throwing about 50IP in AA. As a journeyman who had lost a season due to a failed drug test, nobody knew who the fuck he was. But he went on to be a GREAT innings eater for the White Sox over the next 4 seasons: 

He provided NOTHING but consistency. In any given Jose Quintana start for the White Sox, you knew you were getting 6+ innings and 3 or less runs from him. No, he was never dominant, but 200IP/year pitchers do not grow on trees anymore. His consistency garnished a 5 year, $26.5MM extension with two club options.

People love to point out that those types of deals are always super "team friendly" when it's the opposite. Quintana wouldn't have made as much money as he did if he were to have gone through the normal arbitration process, so it was a win for him financially and a win for the White Sox as far as team control is concerned.

That's why he was such a valuable trade commodity once the White Sox decided to go scorched earth rebuild. But Quintana wasn't that great prior to getting traded, posting these numbers in the first half of 2017:

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After netting hauls for both Chris Sale and Adam Eaton, a lot of White Sox fans were worried that the club held on to Quintana for too long. He looked… average. Average as can be. Since he didn't ever possess high end "shit", his margin for error was much lower. It was "meh" start after meh start. Everyone and their mother, including Quintana, knew he was being dealt though, and that may have played into his mediocrity to start the 2017 season. Perhaps Theo took that into account when acquiring him.

None of his mediocrity to start 2017 mattered though, as Theo and Hahn pulled the trigger. Jose Quintana was traded across town for Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease and two throw ins. There was no room at the time for either Jimenez or Cease on the big league club for the Cubs and the White Sox were playing for 2020 and beyond, so the trade made sense, on paper, for both clubs at the time.

But Quintana continued his "meh"ness in his time with the Cubs, though:

On the flip side, Eloy and Cease have both flashed greatness. Eloy had legit light tower power:

and Cease had NASTY shit:

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Both players had the unteachable tools organizations dream of having in the pipeline.

There are caveats to that, however - Eloy has spent a LOT of time on the shelf because he doesn't know how to play the outfield. Cease, though he has ace level shit, has been marred with inconsistency with both command and pitch counts. Cease has gotten MUCH better this year, but Eloy hasn't seen a single plate appearance yet, though he's due to return in a few weeks.

Fans always love to debate who "won" this trade. I hate playing middle man, but at this point, neither team has won the trade; at least not yet. At the time of the trade, the White Sox looked to have fleeced the Cubs, though the Cubs added a necessary high end innings eater to their rotation. He didn't work out for them, but but but… Eloy and Cease haven't QUITE worked out for the Sox yet, either. Eloy needs to stay healthy. If he does, he could win a HR title or two. Cease needs to go deeper into games against good competition. The goal for the Cubs was to add Quintana as a complement to a World Series team; they didn't do that. The goal for the White Sox was to add a cornerstone middle of the order bat in Jimenez and potential ace in Cease. Neither have been that so far, though their talent is apparent and I though I choose to believe they both will one day be those players.

In due time, the White Sox will be elated with the results of the trade and that both Cease and Eloy will be key pieces on a championship club . The Cubs? Well Quintana isn't even on the team anymore, so yeah. Not a good ROI for them. I guess the moral of the story is this… it's typically a bad idea to mortgage the farm. The two best organizations in baseball, the Dodgers and Astros, hold on to their high end prospect capital for dear life. That's how they've developed a ton of sustained success.

In the end, this was a wild day for all Chicago baseball fans. Carl and I were all over it in Red Line Radio's infancy and in some weird world, we might not be full time employees with the sick new office if this trade didn't go down like it did. Still though,