The first big trade before the July 31st deadline happened this morning when the two Chicago teams pulled off a stunner. The White Sox traded lefty Jose Quintana 4-8, 4.49 ERA this season, to the Cubs for four prospects. The two headliners going across town are the Cubs top two prospects, Outfielder Eloy Jimenez and Pitcher Dylan Cease. This season at Advanced A-ball, Jimenez is batting .271 with 8 homers and 32 RBIs in just 42 games. In 13 starts at class low A South Bend, Cease was 1-2 with a 2.79 ERA.
Today’s transaction is the first deal made by the White Sox and Cubs since all the way back in 2007. For months now, it seemed like these two teams would be perfect trade partners in any possible Quintana deal because of the Cubs prospect depth, in terms of position players and the White Sox need for them. Despite that, though, the two teams proximity to one another was thought to be a possible deterrent, because if the deal turned out to be a one-sided one, the losing fan base and media would sure let you know about it.
Both front offices should be applauded for realizing that this was obviously the best deal for both teams. The White Sox add two potentially elite pieces to a farm system that already ranked third, according to the MLB minor-league rankings, even before the move today. For the Cubs, adding Quintana helps them this season as they try to repeat as champions, but it gives them a bit of a cushion this off-season when they will almost surely lose Jake Arrieta to free agency. Quintana is under contract for 3 1/2 more seasons, so he should be near the top of the Cubs rotation for the next couple of years.
Over the next 2 to 3 years, it will be interesting to see how this trade continues to evolve, as the young players the White Sox acquired develop into major leaguers. Right now, the Cubs look like the winners of this trade, but over time it will prove to be a very fair one for both sides.