Value of top-flight arms puts White Sox in strong position

Contracts with Sale, Quintana create great deal of flexibility

Value of top-flight arms puts White Sox in strong position

CHICAGO -- David Price reportedly has agreed to a seven-year, $217 million deal with the Boston Red Sox. And whenever a contract of such ilk arises, albeit involving one of the highest-quality starting pitchers in the game, talk frequently turns to the White Sox.

No, the White Sox were not in pursuit of the left-handed hurler. Instead, in Chris Sale and Jose Quintana, they have two of the best contractual situations attached to two of the top starters in their own right.

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Sale, 26, has $21.15 million remaining over two years on his original five-year, $32.5 million extension. The White Sox also have options at $12.5 million in '18 and one that has increased to $15 million in '19 because of Sale's third-place finish in the 2014 American League Cy Young voting.

Quintana, 26, has $20.75 million remaining over three years from his five-year, $21 million extension. The team has $10.5 million options on Quintana for '19 and '20. The White Sox have plenty of work to do to return to contending status, but it's hard to argue the assets they have in these two pitchers.

Quintana goes nine strong

During the '15 campaign, Sale set a single-season White Sox record with 274 strikeouts. He has a career ERA of 2.91, a career FIP of 2.96 and a career ERA+ of 140. In just six big league seasons, with four spent as a starter, Sale has recorded 1,011 strikeouts against 215 walks over 883 1/3 innings.

That same lofty four-time All-Star status would be bestowed upon Quintana if not for a Major League-high 52 no-decisions since he became a starter in '12. Despite an ERA checking in at 3.51 or below over each of the past three seasons, and at least 200 innings pitched and at least 32 starts made each season, Quintana has never won more than nine games.

So where do these pitchers leave the White Sox? They have the possibility for potentially franchise-altering returns if either hurler somehow is moved. The far more plausible scenario, though, is one where the White Sox can speed up their reshaping or rebuilding because they won't have to overpay for starting pitching with Sale and Quintana firmly placed at the top of the rotation, and youngsters Carlos Rodon and Carson Fulmer moving in the same direction.

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.