Monday is the deadline for teams and players to exercise contract options for next year, and today the Chicago Cubs made two of their decisions, neither a surprise.
The team announced this evening that they’d picked up the $10.5 million option on Jose Quintana for 2020 (his final year of club control), and declined the $7 million option on Derek Holland for 2020 (he is now a free agent).
Quintana, 30, had an extremely uneven 2019 season, both in terms of his results relative to peripherals, and in terms of good stretches and bad stretches. He ultimately posted a 4.68 ERA over 171.0 innings (7% worse than league average by ERA-), but a 3.80 FIP (15% *better* than league average by FIP-). His 20.4% strikeout rate was way down, and below league average, but his 6.2% walk rate was a dramatic improvement over 2018. He did give up more hard contact than the year before, but probably not enough to justify the huge spread in his results and peripherals. Then again, by his expected statistics at Statcast (based on quality of contact), he just about got the results he deserved.
What to make of it? Eh, we’ll probably have to dig in a little deeper at some point this offseason, because it was a weird year.
In any event, for now, Quintana is locked into a rotation spot for the Cubs in 2020, absent a move that displaces him or relocates him.
The Cubs have options decisions remaining on Anthony Rizzo ($16.5 million – will be picked up, but maybe they chat about an extension briefly beforehand), David Phelps ($5 million – no buyout, and I expect that will be declined), Kendall Graveman ($3 million – no buyout, and I tentatively expect it will be picked up), and Brandon Morrow ($12 million – $3 million buyout, and it will extremely be declined).