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Quintana’s Comp, How the Deal Came Together, Betting on the Team, and Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News
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The Taylor Family is headed to the Field Museum today, as the kiddos (OK, and me) can’t get enough of the dinosaurs.

And the Cubs get back to baseball today! With four days off to recharge, and now a huge trade to reinvigorate, you’d love to see the Cubs come out of the break with renewed focus and passion. That doesn’t mean they’re guaranteed to win today or tomorrow, but you at least want to see them playing well.

  • Just about every thoughtful take you read analyzing yesterday’s big Cubs-White Sox trade will land in the same place: surprise that the deal actually happened, but an approving nod about the fairness and obviousness of the trade. I especially liked Jeff Sullivan’s analysis of Quintana’s value (and determination that his “struggles” this year are not real), which looks a whole lot like Jon Lester, and not only because they’re both lefties. Consider this chart Sullivan popped in there:

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  • Are some things selected there expressly because it makes them look similar? Sure, but there’s more than that: like Lester, Quintana uses a four-pitch mix, led by a four-seam fastball. He throws a sinker in lieu of Lester’s cutter, but they both work with a curveball and a changeup on the off-speed side, and they both command all of their pitches well to both sides of the plate. Comps like this are always inexact, but if the Cubs just acquired 3.5 years of a 28-year-old Jon Lester? Your smile should not fade today.
  • OK, so I feel a lot better about the staunchness of my belief that a deal of this scope couldn’t happen between the Cubs and White Sox and commensurate level of surprise, because here’s what Theo Epstein said about the deal (CSN): “I thought the chances of a deal between the two clubs of this magnitude were slim at best, really a long shot. When Chris Sale was being put to the market, I called Rick and told him we were very interested, and was told that it would have to be a huge package, including Kris Bryant, or there was nothing to talk about …. I figured it would be next to impossible to get a deal done for Quintana, especially without taking away significant pieces off our major-league team.”

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  • In terms of how the deal played out, Epstein explained that he texted with White Sox GM Rick Hahn after the draft about who the Cubs would be interested in generally (including Quintana), and then Hahn reached back out to the Cubs on Sunday to let them know they were getting close to pulling the trigger on a deal. If the Cubs wanted to be involved, Hahn had an idea for a trade that was not acceptable to Epstein, but he said it was close enough that the Cubs felt a deal really would be possible. The rest is history. Epstein didn’t really see any kind of added “tax” in dealing with a crosstown club this time, and I’d have to agree – I’m not saying losing Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease is not painful, but that’s who was always going to have to be in a trade for Quintana.
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
  • Even as the deal was clearly about finding that ever-elusive, long-sought cost-controlled starting pitcher, it was also a clear vote of confidence in this year’s club. Part of the reason the price for Quintana was so high is because what he contributes this year is worth a lot on the market, too. A team like the Brewers, for example, would have loved to land Quintana for this year, and competing against that is part of the price tag for the Cubs. Clearly, the front office really believes it when they say that they think the talent on this team will turn the tide in the second half.
  • Jed Hoyer underscored one of the things I like best about this trade (CBS): the deal gives the Cubs a lot of “freedom” to keep other moves (be they this year or in the offseason) on the table because of Quintana’s contract.
  • What a time to be alive:

  • Meanwhile, the Brewers made a trade of their own yesterday, picking up lefty reliever Tyler Webb from the Yankees. Webb, 26, has a very good minor league track record, but has been more or less stuck at AAA going on three years.

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Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor of Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation.

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