Pittsburgh Pirates Reportedly Still in on Jose Quintana

Mandatory Credit: Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports /

Other than Andrew McCutchen, the most talked about rumor around the Pittsburgh Pirates this off-season had to do with a certain starting pitcher.

When the White Sox traded Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox, it showed that the South-Siders were serious about starting a complete rebuild.  Sale had three years of relatively cheap control, and he brought back the White Sox a huge haul of prospects.  Immediately after, many analysts and reporters around the league suggested that the Sox could look to move Jose Quintana as well.  Quintana, who has four years of even cheaper control than Sale, was immediately connected to multiple teams.  One of those teams was the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Off-Season Rumors

Days before Christmas, Buster Olney of ESPN reported that the Pirates were engaged with the White Sox.  However, nothing came of it, as the asking price for Quintana at the time was believed to be astronomical.  Still, it was reported weeks later that the Pirates along with other teams were keeping tabs on the talented lefty.  Other teams believe to be involved were the Astros, Yankees, and Braves. Although, there have been mixed reports regarding if the Yankees are actually interested.

Spring Training Rumors

Since the start of Spring Training, there has not been much in terms of trade rumors.  This is normal, as most teams make their moves before camp kicks off for obvious reasons.  With that being said, there is always the potential for a deal or two based on team needs as they flare up in Spring.  For instance, the Red Sox will likely start the season with two of their starting five on the Disabled List.  After the news broke, it was immediately reported that Boston was making calls looking for a veteran starter to help fill the void.  Furthermore, it sounds like Jose Quintana still very well could be traded before the start of the regular season, pending on the right offer.  Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the White Sox are still looking into potential deals, even with opening day two weeks away. Passan wrote in his article:

"“Over the last few days, the buzz around camps in Florida and Arizona converged on the same player: Jose Quintana.”More from Rum BunterPittsburgh Pirates: Potential Leadoff Hitters in 2023Pittsburgh Pirates: The Rotation is not being ImprovedPittsburgh Pirates Make Vince Velasquez Signing OfficialPittsburgh Pirates: Bob Nutting, Please Sell the TeamPittsburgh Pirates: Free Agent Starting Pitchers Still Available"

Passan also noted that many of the same teams are still known to be involved this Spring.  He believes that if a deal starts to come together it could get done quickly.  This is a given because the acquiring team would want to get Quintana in their camp as soon as possible.  One team that is remaining in talks is the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Passan stated:

"“This is not to say one couldn’t come together within weeks, days, even hours. Multiple teams, including the Atlanta Braves, have shown continued interest, according to sources. Others known to have been involved at points this spring are the Houston Astros and Pittsburgh Pirates.”"

Although this has been an ongoing rumor this off-season, it definitely is good news to see that the Pittsburgh Pirates are still in play for the ace lefty.  Many around baseball believe that the Pirates were very deep in discussion with the White Sox leading up to Christmas.  In fact, White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn confirmed that a deal was almost done on Christmas Eve, but the other team backed away in the end.  That team very well could have been the Pittsburgh Pirates, as that was two days after Olney reported the Bucs were in on Quintana.

Final Thoughts

Right now the Pittsburgh Pirates have three sure fire starters.  The rotation will be led by Gerrit Cole, and Jameson Taillon will join him at the top.  Ivan Nova will slide right in as a middle of the rotation arm, as he look to continue his success from last season.  Meanwhile, Chad Kuhl looks to get the nod as the number four starter. Kuhl showed enough last year in his starts to get a shot this season.  Meanwhile, the fifth rotation spot is up for grabs.  The current candidates are Drew Hutchinson, Tyler Glasnow, and Steven Brault.  Every time one seems like they are locking the spot down, they go out and have a poor performance.  Because of that, the Pittsburgh Pirates very well could be looking to bolster their top half of the rotation. This would allow them to move everyone back one spot, making Kuhl the number five starter.

Next: Not Many Outfield Prospects in System

The odds are Quintana will start with the White Sox this season.  However, the Pittsburgh Pirates have now been connected to the Colombian pitcher for four months now.  They likely will continue to keep tabs on him until they can reach a deal or he is dealt elsewhere.  If he is still available come July and the Pittsburgh Pirates are in contention, the Bucs could pull the trigger.