Many forces at play in GM's Quintana plans

Relenting from lofty demands could still yield impressive return before camp

Many forces at play in GM's Quintana plans

CHICAGO -- Greed is good.

We learned that lesson courtesy of Michael Douglas/Gordon Gekko in 1987.

Where the current White Sox rebuild is concerned, greed becomes essential for general manager Rick Hahn. It's not really greed, as much as holding out for the near-perfect return on high-end, cost-controlled players.

Hahn has done extremely well in trades of All-Star starter Chris Sale and outfielder Adam Eaton, assembling seven prospects. But in the case of a potential deal involving Jose Quintana, Hahn might have to decide when to bend just a bit.

Hot Stove Tracker

The focus of Hot Stove season hit Quintana in full force beginning in early December, shortly after the White Sox picked up infielder Yoan Moncada, outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe and pitchers Michael Kopech and Victor Diaz in a trade with Boston for Sale and pitchers Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning from the Nationals for Eaton. The Pirates, Yankees and Astros are among the many teams who have shown interest in Quintana, who reached All-Star status last season for the first time in a career that includes three seasons of 4.0 bWAR or greater, and two above 5.2. All that, and he's only owed approximately $38 million over the next four years.

White Sox Top 30 Prospects list

Pirates to move on Quintana?

Hahn's first two moves set the bar extraordinarily high. Moncada is considered the No. 1 overall prospect per MLBPipeline.com, and Giolito stands as one of the top two or three prospects among pitchers, not to mention five other players who have big league projections. Hahn clearly has held strong to his lofty demands regarding Quintana, since the southpaw is still with the team, but there may be some wiggle room in order to get the trade done before Spring Training and still get a significant return.

Let's hypothetically send outfielder Austin Meadows, Pittsburgh's No. 2 prospect per MLBPipeline who supposedly stands off limits, to the White Sox. Or how about outfielder Clint Frazier as the headliner in a Quintana deal with the Yankees? Would either of those frontline youngsters convince Hahn to work with a three- instead of four-player return? Or would their inclusion in a deal help Hahn be willing to accept less of a sure thing regarding the second or third prospect?

Yanks size up price for Quintana

Until Quintana gets traded or the White Sox announce they no longer are in discussions to move the soon-to-be 28-year-old, it's a safe bet to say every day a team is talking about acquiring him. The White Sox never had untouchables, and in the case of a rebuild where deals can change so quickly, they certainly won't remove Quintana's name from consideration.

But there's a huge level of respect for Quintana within the organization. He's a veteran who has done everything asked of him since the day he arrived. No pitcher in baseball has more no-decisions then Quintana's 58 since the start of the '12 campaign, and Quintana has never once complained.

This ability to deal with adversity should allow Quintana to handle existing rumors if they continue throughout Spring Training. He'll get an introduction to the situation at SoxFest on Jan. 27 if a move has not been consummated. The White Sox won't want to leave Quintana to twist in the wind, meaning Hahn soon might have to decide, not necessarily to settle, but when enough is enough.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.