The WISCH LIST
When it comes to brilliant baseball trades, the Cubs have pulled off more than their fair share in recent years.
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer turned Scott Feldman into Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop. They took Ryan Dempster and flipped him for Kyle Hendricks. And they acquired beloved team leader Anthony Rizzo for just Andrew Cashner.
But with the trade for Jose Quintana, karma is biting back – big time.
Last July, with the Cubs trailing Milwaukee by 5½ games, Epstein and Hoyer moved to acquire Quintana from the crosstown White Sox. On face value, the deal made sense. The Cubs needed another starter, and Quintana – with solid career numbers and beloved by the advanced metrics crowd – was young (28), cheap ($10 million average salary) and controlled (for three seasons).
The rub, though, was Quintana was very costly in terms of personnel, requiring the Cubs had to yield their top TWO prospects in slugger Eloy Jimenez and fireballer Dylan Cease.
I thought at the time that seemed like a high price for a pitcher more solid than spectacular who currently owned a pedestrian 4.49 ERA. Quintana was indeed solid (but not spectacular) down the stretch as the Cubs caught the Brewers to win the NL Central. He then delivered a big relief outing in the NLDS clincher, before posting an ugly 10.29 ERA during the NLCS loss.
In sum, Quintana’s 2017 was a mixed bag.