The Rick Hahn Era has been in full swing since the trades of Adam Eaton and Chris Sale. Kenny Williams’ way is gone. No more drafting “athletes” or 40 year old future Hall of Fame pickups. The Cubs have won and now everyone in MLB is trying to do a full stripdown rebuild to keep up. Everyone read Moneyball and knows a stacked farm full of prospects is the market inefficiency that takes you to the top. That’s exactly why not trading Q this season or even the next, could be a great idea.
Yea, I know, #TankForBeer, tear it down, this team is winning too many games. Sox fans are still looking at our farm knowing, most these guys from the trades are done with the minors and coming up soon. The Sox are putting off building a contender further as new holes in the lineup emerge. Jose Abreu is getting older. Melky is gone. Will Avi ever hit against anyone but Detroit?
I understand. This isn’t titled “Never Trade Jose Quintana” by the guy who drunkenly yelled to a bar that Q is basically the current Johan Santana of the AL Central. It’s “Hold Off on Trading Q” by that same drunken writer.
Now that bias has been aired, judge the merits of the idea. As mentioned, trade value for prospects is a bull market. Everyone wants them. Even the fucking Yankees (the Boss screaming at Brian Cashman from his throne in Hell) are hoarding them. Small market teams like the Royals and Pirates are making a decent living off managing their young assets and selling off the older ones when the time is right. It’s a promise of success if you have a bunch of young guys all come up at once right?
The answer is kinda yeah maybe? Obviously we need a young core to man the holes we’re going to open up in a few years or else we’re just spinning wheels. The thing people forget about the Theo approach is to make it work, you sign big free agents when the time is right and you have phenomenal scouting and player development. That second part could fill it’s own column, so I’ll stick to the first as it pertains to Quintana. Maybe Q is one of those final pieces Free Agent signings.
Stop making that Matt Albers face at me. This plan comes down to the facts that no one is going to pay what Q is worth right now, there is no real idea where the Sox are sitting at, and the Sox haven’t moved the peripheral pieces that definitely need to go before Q.
It’s obvious since Q hasn’t been moved that the Pirates, Yankees, and Astros want to see what their guys have before mortgaging a chunk of their future. They aren’t going to pay until they get a better read on how small their window might be this season and Q is 3 seasons of dead consistency you can bank on. You don’t get 200 innings of 5 WAR pitching for scraps. All the teams interested aren’t pulling the trigger until they’re desperate.
The Sox themselves don’t even have a great idea where their AAA prospects are at. For whatever reason, Robin refused to play young guys in the second half. Dioner fucking Navarro, the worst hitting player by average exit velocity last year, was still getting starts. Matt Albers was still coming out of the pen.
The Front Office is now saying explicitly they’re playing the new guys. They moved Peter Borjos and Brett Lawrie off to clear room. Taking their place are Jacob May and Tyler Saladino. Rick Renteria gets to teach the new Sox, and the state of the club’s talent is easier to glean.
Finally, before making the call on keeping Q for the next 4 years, Hahn needs to move all the clearly not in the future assets off the team. Nate Jones, David Robertson, Todd Frazier, and Melky Cabrera will all net something at the deadline. Miguel Gonzalez could be a great piece if he keeps up the success he had last year. The farm is stocked with live arms for a bullpen overhaul. The market for quality relievers is always high at the deadline, adding to our prospect warchest.
All this means is that moving Q is probably smartest to go at the minimum, next year. There’s always the risk of injury, but there’s an even bigger risk talent doesn’t pan out. Q is the kind of arm you pay through the nose in Free Agency. It’s very likely we could be in a place to make a run with 2 years left on his contract. That saves money to sign another Free Agent (please Machado…). The Sox can be in a good place running a modified Theo formula, which also succeeded a bit on luck.
Worst thing that happens, we’re awful this year, realize everything must go, and move Q while focusing on draft development from a high spot. Best case, Zack Collins, Yoan Moncada, and a mix of what we get out of this year start raking, while the wealth of pitching comes up and hits the glove hard in 2019 with Q at the top of the rotation.
Bottom line, let’s enjoy that Colombian Maestro while we can.