It has been two weeks since the Cubs struck a deal with their cross-town rivals for pitcher Jose Quintana. This trade came amidst the Cubs pitching woes that have made it difficult so far for the Cubs to make a playoff push. They are truly experiencing a World Series hangover, as their pitching especially has dropped off significantly. In 2016, the team ERA was the best in the MLB at 3.15. In 2017, the team ERA has increased to 4.02. This drop-off can be explained by the poor pitching of former All-Stars Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta, who are pitching average.
Early Evaluation of Chicago Cubs trade for Jose Quintana
Lester, last year’s runner-up in the Cy Young voting, was hit like a pitching machine against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was shelled for 10 runs and didn’t even get out of the inning. A complete embarrassment for a team halfway through the series who is coming off a World Series title. They have lost their All-Star forms that consisted of 37 wins and 13 losses, with a combined ERA of 2.77. As of today, they are combined for 16 wins and 13 losses, with a combined ERA of 4.03.
Despite the statistical nosedive, the Cubs’s President of Baseball Operations, Theo Epstein, looked into the trade market. His objective was to find a starting pitcher that can fill the voids left by injuries to pitchers John Lackey and Kyle Hendricks. Both of these shoes were huge to fill as they were both crucial to the Cubs in the regular season and postseason.
Trade for Jose Quintana
Coming off his first All-Star appearance with the White Sox in 2016, the 27-year-old Quintana glamoured baseball fans. In 2016, he had a respectable ERA of 3.20 and gained 13 wins in 32 starts. However in 2017, he was off to a bad start, losing eight games in 18 starts. He posted an ERA of 4.49 as command and pitch location did not stay consistent in his weekly starts. Epstein, however, still believed there was a bright future for this young player, trading two highly regarded prospects. He traded Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease, both promising prospects with high ceilings.
Playing in High-A ball, Jimenez is hitting sub .300, with 10 home runs and 42 RBI in 53 games. This 20-year-old has a knack for putting the ball in play, as he averages a hit a game. Cease, drafted out of Milton High School in the sixth round, has also shown plenty of upside on the mound. In his three years of minor league ball he has posted a 2.63 ERA in 130 innings pitched. His great upper and lower body sequence allows him to produce huge fastball velocity of up to 97 mph. His secondary pitch is his changeup that has fantastic fading action which is deceptive because he keeps his arm speed the same.
Results So Far
The Cubs couldn’t be any more happy than a five-year-old kid jumping in a bounce house as Jose Quintana has dominated in his first two starts. He has won both of those starts, pitching 13 solids innings and only allowing three runs. These starts came against contending teams in the Baltimore Orioles and St. Louis Cardinals. His pitching fundamentals have allowed him to compete with every batter that comes to the plate. He has a measly two walks, showing his confidence in trusting his new defense around him to make plays.