The non-waiver trade deadline in Major League Baseball is July 31, but the Chicago Cubs decided not to wait. They have added much-needed starting pitching in White Sox ace lefty Jose Quintana. Does that change Cubs futures?
A shocking trade Thursday between the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox. Well, it’s a trade that made complete sense for both sides, but the clubs rarely make a deal with one another because they are in the same market and don’t want to improve the other side.
The Cubs have landed White Sox ace lefty Jose Quintana for four minor-leaguers headed by outfielder Eloy Jimenez, considered the No. 5 overall prospect in the majors.
The North Siders ended their 108-year World Series drought last year largely because of their starting pitching. The Cubs’ rotation led the majors with a 2.96 ERA, with Jon Lester finishing second in the Cy Young voting and Kyle Hendricks third while leading the National League in ERA.
However, the Cubs enter the second half of the season at 43-45 (minus-2162 bretting units) and 5.5 games behind first-place Milwaukee in the NL Central in large part because the rotation has been such a huge disappointment. That group is 17th in ERA at 4.66. Lester, Hendricks and 2015 Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta have all regressed. Hendricks hasn’t pitched in the majors since June 4 due to a hand injury but is close to a return.
The Cubs often took the lead in games early in 2016, but this year Cubs starters have allowed 80 first-inning runs. They allowed a total of 71 first-inning runs in 2016.
Quintana was coveted by contenders such as the Yankees, Astros, Brewers and more because he has been so consistent -- He made 32 starts or more and has pitched 200 innings or more in each of the past four seasons with an ERA in the 3.00s -- and is on a team-friendly contract through 2020. Trade rumors seemed to affect Quintana early this year as he was 2-7 with a 5.60 ERA at one point. He has pitched much better of late and is now 4-8 with a 4.49 ERA. Pitching in the National League generally improves a pitcher’s numbers as well. Quintana should be available for the Cubs in their series against the Orioles over the weekend at Camden Yards.
Another reason the Cubs were so desperate for pitching is they are expected to lose Arrieta and John Lackey after this season to free agency. The Cubbies were World Series favorites when the season began but are now +1000 at BetOnline – at least before the trade. They are +500 for the NL pennant and still -120 favorites for the NL Central. No respect for the Brewers! Updated odds post-trade: +800 for World Series, still +500 for pennant and -175 for division.
As for the White Sox, their fire sale continues. They dealt former ace Chris Sale to Boston this offseason and outfielder Adam Eaton to Washington. Expect potential trades of third baseman Todd Frazier and closer David Robertson, at a minimum, before the July 31 deadline.
The Pale Hose have the worst winning percentage in the American League entering the second half and now just got that much weaker. Yep, start fading them in your MLB betting on series lines. But that’s the plan on the South Side: full-blown rebuild. Jimenez projects as a future star and Cease was the Cubs’ top pitching prospect. Win-win for both Chicago teams.Bet On MLB Futures At SBR's Top Sportsbooks