MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

White Sox should consider trading Quintana

White Sox should consider trading Quintana

CHICAGO -- Jose Quintana has got it all.

Quintana is highly skilled, durable, consistently works deep into games and is under control through 2020 at a below-market price. He's been the sixth most effective starter since 2013 based on fWAR, heading the tier of starters just behind the elite arms -- Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, David Price, Corey Kluber and Chris Sale.

Yet it's time for the White Sox to cut Quintana loose.

In his four seasons as a general manager, Rick Hahn has worked to construct a playoff team behind his No. 1 and No. 2 starters, Chris Sale and Quintana. It looked like he might succeed when the White Sox got off to a 23-10 start this season, but that proved to be just a gigantic tease, with the more telling stretch the one in which they played .377 baseball over their next 61 games.

Sale on All-Star start, Quintana

Only the Rays (22-42) and Reds (22-40) have delivered fewer wins since May 10 than the White Sox, who have gone 23-38. They did this despite releasing John Danks and trading one of their most intriguing prospects, 17-year-old shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., to add James Shields.

As a result, Hahn is taking a lot of calls from other team executives about his inventory of players. He's listening about everyone, including his twin aces.

"At this point, we are being extremely open-minded," Hahn said Thursday. "At the same time, there's no urgency really to move any of these players if we aren't getting the return on it we feel is appropriate. If we do, then it's conceivable we do something that is more extensive."

It's time to do more than just listen with regards to Quintana. The White Sox should make it known they'll deal the 27-year-old lefty for the right mix of young position players.

They've been spinning their wheels since 2008 because of an unproductive farm system. Shortstop Tim Anderson has a chance to be their best homegrown position player since Joe Crede, who was drafted in 1996, but more help is needed.

Quintana offers a chance to accelerate the restocking process, and the White Sox should take it. Here's why it makes sense:

• Dealing Quintana would mean waving a surrender flag on only 2016. In Sale, Shields and 2014 and '15 first-round Draft picks Carlos Rodon and Carson Fulmer, the White Sox retain a strong rotation core that can be kept together at least through '19, which is the last year of Sale's highly affordable contract. The only caveat here is that Shields has opt-out rights after this season, but would he risk the $44 million he's due the next two years?

• For reasons beyond his control, Quintana has not been a difference-maker on the South Side. His 3.44 ERA in 138 starts has produced only a 41-42 record for him, with no more than nine wins in a season. The White Sox have gone 51-65 in Quintana's starts the past four years.

• There are no proven winners like Cole Hamels, Price and Johnny Cueto on the trade market this year. Quintana would immediately become the buzz name -- over even Sonny Gray or Julio Teheran -- if he was made available. His value would probably be as high as it ever will, as teams are shopping not just for now, but the future because there will be a scarcity of arms in the upcoming free-agent market.

The teams bidding for Quintana would probably include the Dodgers, Rangers, Cubs, Astros, Pirates and Red Sox, who boast heavily stocked farm systems. In some cases, the White Sox could increase the return by dealing other pieces.

Quintana's solid outing

Among the theoretical blockbusters:

Rangers: Quintana, Melky Cabrera, Zach Duke, David Robertson and cash for third baseman Joey Gallo, outfielder Nomar Mazara and left-hander Yohander Mendez.

Gallo, Texas' No. 1 prospect who wants the chance to be an everyday third baseman, is blocked by Adrian Beltre. Mazara is a terrific player but has fallen off his American League Rookie of the Year Award pace. Jurickson Profar is another potential fit for the White Sox.

Astros: Quintana and Todd Frazier for infielder Alex Bregman, right-hander Joe Musgrove, outfielder/second baseman Tony Kemp and corner infielder Tyler White.

Bregman, a star shortstop at LSU who has shot through Houston's system as its No. 1 prospect, is an ambitious target. But can you imagine Frazier swinging for the Crawford Boxes? He might hit 50-plus homers this season and another half-dozen in the postseason.

Dodgers: Quintana, Cabrera, Robertson and Duke for outfielder Yasiel Puig, right-hander Jose De Leon, second baseman Willie Calhoun and outfielder Alex Verdugo.

It's hard to know what kind of value Puig has, especially now that he's hobbling with another hamstring issue. But he remains an explosive talent who could benefit from a move to the AL and a reunion with former teammate Jose Abreu.

Cubs: Quintana and Robertson for outfielder Jorge Soler, second baseman/outfielder Ian Happ, outfielder Mark Zagunis and third baseman Jeimer Candelario.

Kyle Schwarber would be the perfect piece from the Cubs, but there are plenty of ways to make this deal work, as the strength of the Cubs' system (hitters) matches up with what the White Sox need.

Red Sox: Quintana for Andrew Benintendi.

Here's a classic one-for-one swap that fills both team's needs (assuming the Red Sox don't see themselves as set after adding Drew Pomeranz). The White Sox coveted Benintendi, a power-hitting center fielder at the University of Arkansas, in the 2015 Draft, but the Red Sox took him with the seventh overall pick, one before the White Sox took Fulmer.

Pirates: Quintana for outfielder Austin Meadows and right-hander Nick Kingham.

Meadows, like Benintendi, is on the short list of the best outfield prospects in the Minor Leagues. He's seen as Andrew McCutchen's future replacement, but the Pirates' outfield could be crowded through 2018. Kingham, who is 14 months removed from Tommy John surgery, isn't far away from the big leagues.

Phil Rogers is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.