St. Louis Cardinals now Free Agent Starting Pitcher Jose Quintana was a saving grace for the Redbirds in 2022, but his current projected Market Value is considerably overpriced.
John Mozeliak pulled off a classic Cardinals trade deadline deal securing veteran pitcher Jose Quintana. In 12 starts for the Cardinals he pitched 62 2/3 innings giving up only 14 earned runs while posting a 2.01 ERA. Additionally, he had 48 strikeouts and only 16 walks. His WHIP of 1.18 was well below his 1.28 career number.
I would like to start with this. Recency bias is a real thing and I caution Cardinals fans with Jose Quintana. He pitched well and one would suspect it did help being behind the Gold Glove Defense of the National League. He became the most reliable starter on the team down the stretch and even Oli Marmol thought he was poised enough to be Game 1 starter versus the Phillies. Unfortunately, I argue that what we saw was not who he really is over 162 games and regression will certainly not be in his favor for 2023.
It has been difficult to gauge the interest of both sides, as always with the Front Office, but it is clear that Jose Quintana has high regards to the St. Louis Cardinals organization and even mentioned it to his former battery mate Wilson Contreras. When asked if Quintana wanted to be back with the club in 2023, he stated, “Oh for sure.”
Multiple reports suggest his Market Value is posted somewhere near a 2 year – $28 million to earn his services. I gathered this from Spotrac and their estimation they do via player comparison and then on another article on Fanduel which came from a trust MLB Insider.
At $14 million AAV, the Cardinals should not be chasing him. He came off a remarkable rebound after three significantly underwhelming full seasons from 2019 through 2021. In 2019 he posted 171 innings and a 4.68 ERA. The following shortened 2020 season he only took the hill for 10 innings. Lastly, in 2021 he only registered 63 innings which resulted in a 6.43 ERA. Ultimately, he was not healthy and when he was, he was not very good.
In my opinion, his value is far less than the $14 million estimated AAV. Using my own database called Jaybird Baseball Statistics, which I evaluate performance using various performance metrics, I estimate his 2022 value for the entire season was worth $14.25 million. Not a bad ROI for the Pirates considering he was signed for a mere $2 million in a one-year deal. Plus, they flipped him and also returned a young starting pitcher Johan Oviedo from the Redbirds in return.
Considering last year was his age 33 season, he is starting to look down the edge of steep age decline. He is not Justin Verlander and he is not going to find a way to get better with age. My Jaybird Baseball Statistics suggest in age 34 seasons pitchers regress by nearly 16%. By age 35, their decline rate increases to 22% season over season due to age. Therefore, if he just came off a great season last year and was only worth $14.25 million, knowing that kind regression is coming along with no true back history over the past 3 seasons to be confident prior to last season, why would any team spend that?
My statistics suggest that his value should be more tiered towards a 2-year and $12.5 million contract. Due to his variability season by season, his risk level is high to regress significantly back to the mean of those other seasons. With his age, he is also walking the tight rope of Father Time and the Cardinals should proceed with caution. Lastly, the lack of shifting will certainly affect his pitch to contact style as more of those ground balls he threw at an impressive clip of 46.4% will become base hits.
I do think a team desperate for pitching will get closer to the $12 million+ AAV, but they will be severely overpaying. Let’s just hope the Cardinals spend money elsewhere and not be that team. In Mo we trust.