Tag: Eloy Jimenez

The Quintana Trade Makes Both Sides of Chicago Winners

The Quintana Trade Makes Both Sides of Chicago Winners

On Wednesday evening, both Dylan Cease and Eloy Jimenez, the Chicago Cubs’ top two prospects, were scratched from their minor league games.  Trade speculation arose quickly, with many wondering if the Cubs would really part ways with two key pieces of their future for a front-line starting pitcher.  On Thursday, news broke that the Chicago White Sox had dealt southpaw Jose Quintana across town to the Cubs in exchange Jimenez, Cease, Matt Rose, and Bryant Flete.  This was the first deal between the two Chicago teams in the past eleven years, and it certainly is one of the biggest in recent memory.

After parting ways with Chris Sale and Adam Eaton this offseason, the White Sox finally traded Quintana after plenty of rumors dating back to last year.  The returns on Sale, Eaton, and now Quintana have been stupendous, netting the club a plethora of top prospects.  In Eloy Jimenez, they added yet another young stud.  A 20 year-old outfielder from the Dominican Republic, Jimenez has displayed plus-tools across the board, specifically his bat.  He projects as a 25-30 homer guy with a chance to hit around .300.  He has an advanced approach for his age, hitting with power to all fields.  His bat speed is pretty incredible, and he’s been able to translate that into games.  Last year in the Arizona Fall League, Jimenez hit a ball with an exit velocity of 119 MPH, a feat only Jimenez, Aaron Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton have accomplished in a game.

The White Sox also added another high-ceiling arm in Dylan Cease.  Cease was drafted in the sixth round in 2014, but likely would have been a first-round selection had he not injured his throwing arm in the spring.  His fastball has touched triple digits, and his curveball is a nasty put-away pitch when Cease can command it.  His changeup needs refinement if he wants to remain a starter.  Cease has serious upside as a starter or as a back-end reliever down the line, giving the White Sox farm system even more pitching to fall back on.

Despite relinquishing Jimenez and Cease, the Chicago Cubs still come out of this trade as winners.  Quintana carried a high cost, but his team-friendly contract he signed prior to the 2014 season makes him so valuable to a contender like the Cubs.  Quintana is signed through the end of next season for just $8,850,000, but he also has two club options for the 2020 and 2021 seasons.  Each option would cost just $10,500,000 to pick up, meaning Quintana will almost certainly be a Cub until he hits free agency after the 2021 season.  His inexpensive contract allows the Cubs to sign more impact players in free agency, and also to work more diligently on an extension for Kris Bryant.

Another element of the deal that may have influenced Theo Epstein to pay a higher price for Jose Quintana could be pricing the Brewers out of the market.  Many baseball analysts expected Milwaukee to strike first and take initiative on the trade market.  The Cubs instead made the first major move and set a big precedent in the process.  After seeing what White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn was able to trade Quintana for, other teams will be expecting top-flight prospects for pitchers such as Sonny Gray, Michael Fulmer, Justin Verlander, and Yu Darvish.  If the Brewers were to make a move for Gray, for instance, top prospect Lewis Brinson would have to be involved, and he would just be the centerpiece.  Josh Hader may also have to go in any major trade, and the Brewers may be more hesitant to act now that the price on pitching will be higher.

The Cubs still sit 5.5 games back of the Brewers in the National League Central, so they probably need to make another move before the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31.  Only time will tell which Chicago team wins this trade.  Quintana could be terrible on the North Side, and the White Sox prospects may never pan out.  For now, though, both the Cubs and White Sox are winners in the first major trade of the 2017 season.

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The Most Untouchable Prospects This Summer

The Most Untouchable Prospects This Summer

With the trade deadline just six weeks away, deals are sure to be made soon, seeing established stars head to contenders in return for coveted prospects.  Some of the biggest prospects in baseball, like Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier, Yoan Moncada, and Dansby Swanson, have all been moved around in trades over the past few years.  These high-upside minor leaguers typically carry a high price, but there are an elite few who have an exorbitantly large value to their teams.  These blue-chippers have no shot of being moved this summer, save for a deal for one of the best players in the game.

Prospects within organizations whose big league clubs are not in playoff contention will not be considered eligible for this list.  Obviously, the Mets won’t trade Amed Rosario when they’re virtually out of the National League East race.

Brendan Rodgers, Colorado Rockies

The Rockies have stunned the National League in 2017, putting together a 44-win season thus far.  They currently lead the N.L. West, and look like potential postseason contenders with their elite offense and shutdown bullpen.  However, their starting rotation raises questions.  While the youthful staff has produced thus far, their lack of late-season experience could lead to future struggles.  Colorado would be wise to add a solid, veteran starter to guide the young Rockies pitchers into October.  The Rockies hold multiple trade chips, but one stands tall above the rest.

Brendan Rodgers is the premier prospect in the Rockies’ farm system and for good reason.  The 20 year-old is hitting .400 at High-A Lancaster with twelve home runs and a .419 OBP in 48 games.  He had 23-game hitting streak going as well, and is surely positioned to receive a call-up to Double-A in the near future.  Rodgers could easily bring back the pitcher Colorado needs.  But the Rockies will not move their future shortstop, who has the look of an absolute superstar.

Eloy Jimenez, Chicago Cubs

Eloy Jimenez put himself on the map with his remarkable performance in the 2016 Futures Game where he blasted a ball into the seats at Petco Park and also flashed some leather in the outfield.  Jimenez is still just 20 years old, and he probably won’t play at Wrigley Field until the end of 2018 at the earliest.  That being said, the Cubs won’t trade the slugging outfielder, even if they find themselves behind in the National League Central.  The Cubs have plenty of other expendable prospects and players like Jeimer Candelario, Dylan Cease, Ian Happ, Javier Baez, and Albert Almora that can bring back an impact player.

Lewis Brinson, Milwaukee Brewers

When the Brewers dished out former all-star catcher Jonathan Lucroy last summer, general manager David Stearns saw a franchise cornerstone in outfielder Lewis Brinson.  The 2012 first-round draftee just made his big league debut last week after tearing up the Pacific Coast League for two months.  Brinson hit .312 with a .900 OPS over 45 games in Triple-A this year.  The 23 year-old has serious five-tool potential, giving Stearns no reason to trade him at the deadline this summer.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays

His father may be on the cusp of a well-deserved Hall of Fame induction, but young Vladdy could be knocking on the door in Toronto as soon as next year.  At just eighteen years of age, Guerrero is obliterating A-ball pitching, hitting .321 with a .469 slugging percentage.  His approach is well beyond his years; Guerrero Jr. has walked three more times than he has struck out through 59 games.  He has even been promoted as a better hitter than his father, which is a testament to Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s potential.  Toronto has made up considerable ground in the Wild Card standings, but there’s no way they will trade their top prospect for an aging star.