MLB Free Agent Focus: How José Quintana Reunion Could Give White Sox Depth

How José Quintana reunion could give Sox staff depth originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

José Quintana? Again?

The White Sox are in the market for starting-pitching help this winter, and while most of the focus has been on whether they can land a top-of-the-rotation type to build a championship-caliber staff, there’s more than one way to improve.

The White Sox have proven in the last two seasons that starting-pitching depth is critically important. In 2019, they paraded through one ineffective option after another to try to come up with a solution in the back of the rotation. In 2020, it wasn’t that the team lacked another ace but that it lacked a reliable third option after Lucas Giolito and Dallas Keuchel that earned them an early exit from the postseason.

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Certainly the White Sox should be looking into acquiring someone the caliber of Trevor Bauer in free agency or Blake Snell via trade. But fortifying the back of a rotation full of mystery has its value, too, and it’s there that someone like Quintana could prove useful.

Obviously, Quintana is not viewed as the same type of pitcher he was when the White Sox traded him to the Cubs in 2017. Three and a half years of inconsistent production mean he’s no longer a part of the plans on the North Side, and it might only necessitate a one-year deal to get the former All Star to a team’s big league camp next spring.

He finished his Cubs tenure with a 4.24 ERA, logging just 10 innings during the shortened 2020 season due to injury. Quintana had an inconsistent 2019 season, the end-of-year numbers made significantly uglier thanks to a woeful final month.

The White Sox can count on Giolito and Keuchel at the top of their rotation, and if things go well this winter, they could add a pitcher with a similar pedigree. But merely adding an arm like Bauer or Snell and pushing Dylan Cease, Dane Dunning and Michael Kopech to the back end of the rotation won’t erase the mystery those three talented but unproven arms bring into a 2021 season with championship expectations.

Quintana wouldn’t be the guy thrown out there in Game 1 of a playoff series. But he could be part of the answer to solidifying the rotation from a depth standpoint, an arm to turn to should Cease, Dunning or Kopech not live up to expectations. And that’s another important piece to a championship puzzle.

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