St. Louis Cardinals: Reports of Interest in Jose Quintana

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Sep 18, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Jose Quintana (62) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 18, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Jose Quintana (62) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /
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The St. Louis Cardinals are reportedly testing the waters in trade talks with the Chicago White Sox for lefty ace Jose Quintana.

The St. Louis Cardinals are heading into the 2017 season with a starting rotation of Carlos Martinez, Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, Michael Wacha, and Mike Leake but they could be adding a high-quality lefty to the mix. Jose Quintana of the Chicago White Sox has been the center of trade rumors since the White Sox began selling off their valuable assets.

Quintana looks to be the next big piece out of Chicago to be moved and he is on an extremely team-friendly contract while also being one of the most consistent starters in the game over the past few seasons. Given his abilities and contract, the price to acquire him is likely very high. The White Sox also don’t have any urgent need to deal him and could wait until closer to the trade deadline to do so.

It has been reported all winter that the Houston Astros looked like the favorites to land the lefty pitcher but Jon Heyman of FanRagSports names the St. Louis Cardinals as a potential landing spot:

"While the belief now is that Quintana won’t be traded until closer to the trade deadline, the Cardinals could be a sleeper team for Quintana. Word is, they have quietly showed interest in the White Sox pitching ace, and the Cardinals have the combination of young players and prospects to make it work."

The St. Louis Cardinals were linked to Quintana earlier in the offseason but the sincerity of the inquiries didn’t seem all too serious and it was difficult to assess whether the Cardinals could afford to give up the type of prospects that Chicago wants. Top prospect Alex Reyes is out for the season with Tommy John surgery and he would’ve likely been the center of the deal, however, with the recent moves the Cardinals have made, they could make a number of other prospects available.

Currently the Cardinals are negotiating a contract extension for star catcher Yadier Molina. If that does happen, Carson Kelly could become expendable. Kelly is the top catching prospect in the game and would definitely be someone the White Sox are interested in.

There are also a number of young arms in the Cardinals system that have value and potential going forward. A few of them, like Sandy Alcantara and Luke Weaver, showcased their talents this spring and could also spark some interest.

Furthermore, with the long-term signing of Dexter Fowler, top outfield prospect Harrison Bader could be discussed as a piece of the trade. Fowler is signed through 2021, while Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty are under team control for a number of years going forward. Also, Magneuris Sierra looks to be a solid center fielder going forward.

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A trade between Chicago and St. Louis doesn’t seem imminent but it is intriguing that there are reports of interest there. Quintana would immediately strengthen the starting rotation and be a contributor for a number of years going forward. However, the price for acquiring him will be steep in terms of prospects. It’s up to John Mozeliak to decide if he is worth it or not.

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