Absolutely unreal last ~24 hours in Chicago baseball. I have been balls deep in a menage a trois with both White Sox Twitter and Cubs Twitter today, and outside of a few idiotic outliers everyone on both sides of town absolutely loves this deal. And what’s not to love? Both clubs addressed needs that put them in position that best suits their current and long term needs. Win/Win/Win.
It is incredibly rare that a trade is conducted where both teams look to come out as winners on paper. Big shout out to Rick Hahn, Theo Epstein and both clubs’ scouting departments on putting together a deal that is and will be the biggest talking point in Chicago baseball for the rest of summer. Unreal job all the way around by both clubs.
Good shit, but real quick I have to take this moment to gloat.
Here’s a quick list of fanbases I’m calling out right now
Yankees fans, Pirates fans, Braves fans, Houston fans and don’t even THINK I’ve forgotten about you, Boston fans, you sneaky little buttholes
Since July 2015 through today, I’ve said this over, and over, and over, and over, and over again: Jose Quintana would return a massive haul in any potential deal. I will admit, I probably had too much meat on the backend of the deal purely because of my White Sox bias, just as I thought the Sox would return Devers in the Sale deal. But Q was never ever returning a package that didn’t have a headliner with superstar potential coupled with another top 50ish guy. For everyone who doubted me in the comment section and on Twitter, I give you this obligatory video:
And I know what’s gonna happen right here – people will try to hedge their bets and say I said Q would/could return Moncada. I did say that, but an arbitrary number placed next to a prospects name on a clickbait website for fans doesn’t really mean a whole lot. I bet there are dozens and dozens of real, actual baseball minds that would say Eloy Jimenez (8th overall MLB Pipeline) will be a better player than Yoan Moncada (1st overall MLB Pipeline). Once we are talking about a top 10ish prospect, one could jumble up the top 10 any way they’d like and it wouldn’t make a difference. You’re figured to be a stud regardless. Anyways, that’s all in the past, I was right you were wrong, ladddy fuckin dah. Let’s move on to the trade.
Did I say this was a win/win/win for all parties involved? Because it is. And the third win is added for Quintana because he’s now in a situation where he can really showcase his abilities on a national stage on a team who figures to be perennial contenders for a World Series. I have no doubt he’ll thrive in this situation.
The Cubs get their cost controlled pitcher whom I’d imagine will be slotted behind Lester and Arrieta and before Hendricks in a playoff rotation. Carl detailed beautifully in his blog yesterday on how similar Jose Quintana and John Lester actually are. No, Quintana’s stats at face value aren’t anything to write home about, and yes, Lester’s shit is a tick better all the way around, but when you watch the two of them over the course of a season, it’s uncanny how similar the two really are.
Not to mention – with Q’s contract situation, the Cubs haven’t added a Justin Verlander type contract to their payroll. They (maybe) added a measly ~$35MM. If they want, they can now attack free agency next year without having to worry about paying a third pitcher a fuck ton of money. Don’t be shocked at all if Yu Darvish is pitching for the Cubs next year – Q’s contract affords the Cubs the ability to throw a shit ton of money his way.
I don’t care nearly as much as you guys do about prospect rankings. For instance I really, really didn’t want an Ozzie Albies +++ package deal for Q with Atlanta because I don’t think he has that superstar potential, even though he’s the 7th ranked prospect in baseball per MLB Pipeline. But for all intents and purposes, let’s take a look at what the Sox returned:
8th overall prospect in baseball. I’ll remind you guys that about a week ago when Dustin Fowler got hurt, I said the Sox would want a Yankees package headlined by at least Clint Frazier (even though I’m not really too high on him either) who’s the 17th ranked prospect in baseball. You guys said I was high, I said you were high and we all butted heads. But once again, it turns out that you all were the ones who were high.
NEVERTHELESS let’s talk about Eloy Jimenez. This is a kid with massive, massive raw power. See below:
That right there is a video taken in the Carolina League All Star Game a few weeks ago of Jimenez going all Roy Hobbs on a baseball and smashing a light tower to pieces. Not to mention he also went Benny The Jet on a baseball during the Arizona Fall League last October:
This is a player who has the ability to hit the ball farther, harder and with more authority than anyone but a small handful of players on planet earth. The question is just whether he can do this against advanced pitching in the coming years. That part goes without say. But his hit tool has already advanced from “raw” to “this is a kid who can win a batting title and home run title. He’s that good” (actual quote I heard today but can’t find a source to cite, don’t @ me).
He’s not a true 5 tool player as he’s not going to steal any bases, but if we have a roided out Carlos Lee type hitter on our hands in LF come 2020-21 or so, I’ll take that all day long. The Sox are already guaranteed 30/30 production from Moncada and Robert, so who even gives a shit amirite? The funny thing is I’m only kinda joking about that.
Part deux of the deal. A cheap comparison for Cease is Kopech Lite. A lanky pitcher who throws hard with a hammer curveball and little control. Should he learn to repeat his mechanics, control his tempo, and command three pitches for strikes, he could be a pitcher with an ace ceiling, should he stay healthy (he’s already had TJS once). Should he not do any of that, he’s a pitcher who has a floor of a high leverage reliever who is pitching in the 8th or 9th inning on a team trying to compete for a division or even World Series title.
The White Sox are afforded a lot of time to allow Cease to develop everything necessary to stick as a starter in The Show. He will have access to Coop’s tutelage, a world class training staff, and anything/ everything he needs to be a successful starter as he develops in the Sox system. If he doesn’t stick as a starter, it’s completely 100% on him. It’s his choice. He has to look himself in the mirror and say to himself, “Am I a dude or not?” With all that said, this is a player who really does have a chance to be a dude.
There were also two other pieces of players who I have never heard of and am not gonna attempt to breakdown. Matt Rose is a 1B who drops bombs but doesn’t do much else and Bryant Flete is a light hitting 2B. If either of these guys become solid utility guys in the future, we’re very happy.
So, what now? The White Sox are building up so much organizational depth that I can’t even properly construct a 2020 lineup, but let’s give it a shot anyways. This is far from what it will be because trades, signings, and draft picks have yet to be made, but as of now, this is what we have to look forward to:
Beer (not even kidding) LF
Sheets (?) 1B
Kopech, Rodon, Hansen, Dunning, Giolito
Fulmer, Burdi, Cease, Goldberg, Flores
That is a young, athletic lineup that has superstar potential all throughout the lineup. Walks on walks on walks, bombs on bombs on bombs and even a lot of stolen bases to boot. I cannot fucking wait.
Now let me be the first to tell you this – the rebuild is still much closer to the beginning than it is the end. There are still trades to be made (Robertson, Frazier, Melky, etc.) a top 5ish draft pick in 2018, and a completely minuscule payroll once Melky, Robertson, etc. are off the books. Hello Bryce Harper!!!
This is a team that is positioning itself to compete for division titles for the better part of a decade. By this time next year, these prospects will all start to trickle into Chicago and once they click, Chicago could and should be the center of the baseball universe. For the first time ever, it isn’t out of the realm of possibilities that we could be gearing up for a Red Line World Series. I got chills just typing that.
There is going to be a lot more to talk about moving forward. And I’ll say this again – if you’re a White Sox fan, embrace the shit out of this rebuild. Go to as many games as you can and do not worry about the scoreboard. It’s the best thank you we as fans we can give to Rick, Kenny, Jerry, Hostetler and Co.
PS – shout out to Jose Quintana, I love that fucking guy. What a helluva pitcher