The one that got away. Jose Quintana signed a two-year, $26 million deal with the Mets last offseason, and after starting the year on the IL, he's been excellent for a struggling Mets team.
After coming over to St. Louis at the trade deadline last year, Quintana made 12 starts with a 2.01 ERA and even got the nod over Jordan Montgomery and Adam Wainwright in the Wild Card Series. In his 9 starts for the Mets this year, he has a 3.00 ERA and continues to look like one of the more underrated pitchers in baseball.
The Mets have kind of gone back and forth on what their plans are this offseason. They've said they'll be in the pitching market, but there's also been talk that they will be looking ahead toward 2025 or 2026 to compete and that they may even trade slugger Pete Alonso. If either of those things is true, shedding the last year and $13 million of Quintana's contract for prospects would make a lot of sense.
The Cardinals will be revamping their pitching staff this offseason, and for good reason, but bringing in an upgrade who is also a familiar face may be helpful for that overhaul. Quintana pitched to Willson Contreras when they were both in Chicago and are friends, and he's familiar with Andrew Knizner and the Cardinals coaching staff from his time last year.
Quintana would be an excellent number four starter for St. Louis, and wouldn't require them giving up a haul to acquire him. He cannot be the best starter that they add, but he would be an awesome guy to round out their acquisitions.