Pirates Reportedly Working Hard to Acquire LHP Jose Quintana

According to Buster Olney, the Pittsburgh Pirates have worked hard to try to acquire left-handed starter Jose Quintana from the Chicago White Sox. The 27-year-old has two years left on his contract, followed by two team options which total $37.850M.

Quintana has been a workhorse since making his Major League debut in early May of 2012. He threw 136.1 innings that season, followed by four straight seasons of 200 or more innings. His highest ERA was 3.76 in his rookie season and his overall 3.71 ERA is in line with his 3.74 FIP over that time. In 2016, he set career bests with 208 innings, 181 strikeouts and a 1.16 WHIP. That earned him his first All-Star appearances and he finished tenth in the AL Cy Young voting. Quintana’s fWAR the last three years has been 5.1, 4.8, and 4.8.

UPDATE 8:31 AM: Analysis from Tim Williams…

Before digging deep into the trade value numbers, I knew that Quintana’s value would be several pages removed from the 2017 Prospect Guide. I used a 4.8 fWAR for each upcoming season, since that’s what he had in each of the last two years. His contract breaks down as $6 M in 2017, $8.8 M in 2018, and $10.5 M options in 2019 and 2020, which would both be easy decisions if he continues to pitch this well. In summary, you’ve got a guy who is worth about a win less than Chris Sale, on a very reasonable contract for the next four years, and only two years and $15.8 M guaranteed.

Sale’s trade value was $99.4 M by my calculations. Quintana’s is higher at $118.6 M. Sale is the better pitcher, but you get one more year of Quintana, and he’d actually cost $2.2 M less than Sale over the life of their deals. Thus, the higher trade value.

The White Sox got a haul for Sale, led by Yoan Moncada, who is the top prospect in baseball. They also got right-handed pitcher Michael Kopech, who is a top 50 prospect. Rounding out the trade, they received outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe, who is in their top ten prospects and could be considered a Grade B hitter, and right-handed pitcher Victor Diaz, who is a young Grade C pitcher. That package comes out to a little over $70 M in trade value, although it’s difficult to evaluate Moncada, since he’s so close to the majors, and putting him in the 1-10 hitters tier ($42 M in trade value) might undervalue that he’s at the very top of that tier. But let’s just go with the $70 M trade value. That value, compared to Sale’s $99.4 M value, would be the same as an $84.4 M value for Quintana.

So what does $84.4 M look like in prospects? Before we start, I want to throw out the disclaimer that I will be mentioning specific names here as an example, but in no way does this mean the Pirates have discussed these players, or are discussing these players. So if you see someone saying that the Pirates are offering A, B, and C for Quintana, and referencing this article, you will know that person just skipped over this disclaimer.

First of all, it will be impossible for the Pirates to acquire Quintana without having to deal at least one of their top five prospects, and possibly two of them. The guy that I think would make the most sense to start a package around would be Tyler Glasnow. I still think he has a good upside, but I don’t think he’s going to be like Jameson Taillon where he settles down right away to be a productive MLB starter. I’d trade six years of Glasnow to get four years of Quintana, since four years of Quintana’s production is what you’d hope to get from Glasnow, when considering injury possibilities and a slower adjustment.

Glasnow would only be worth $26.7 M though as a top ten pitching prospect. So the Pirates would have to find value elsewhere to add to this deal.

The other top prospects in the system are Mitch Keller on the pitching side, and Austin Meadows, Josh Bell, and Kevin Newman on the hitting side, with Newman a tier below the other hitters. I personally wouldn’t deal Keller at the moment, since I don’t think he’s come close to his highest value, and you’re probably going to have to deal more prospects to make up for the lower value he has right now. But a decision between Meadows, Bell, and Newman impacts future teams, and that has to be considered.

Meadows is the guy set to take over for Andrew McCutchen, and the Pirates don’t really have a strong alternative in the upper levels, or anywhere throughout the system. They have a few guys who could be average starters in the majors, but they don’t have that potential impact hitter like they do with Meadows. That said, if they keep McCutchen for the next two years, then losing Meadows is a 2019 problem.

Bell is set as the first baseman going forward, but could also play outfield. The problem is that the defense would be bad in either spot. I don’t think we’ve seen the best of his offense yet, which is why I think he can be a 2-3 WAR player, even with poor defense. He might have more value in the AL with the DH. I think it would actually be easier to replace Bell, since they’ve got David Freese for the next few years, and he’s been consistently around a 2 fWAR the past few seasons, while showing good defense in his move to first last year. They also have a few first base options in the minors, led by 2016 first round pick Will Craig, who is a third baseman now, but could be moved to first sooner if needed.

Newman would have a lower trade value than the other two. He’s a guy who will take over at shortstop for Jordy Mercer when he’s ready, and could provide an upgrade at the position, with more offense and the chance for the same defense. But I think that Newman would be in the same boat as Keller, where you’d have to deal another prospect to make it work. Basically, the trade values of Newman and Keller combined would be similar to Bell alone.

As for players on the current roster like Tony Watson or Andrew McCutchen, I don’t think they’d have any value to the rebuilding White Sox. They’d only factor in if there was a third team involved to take those players and offer prospects or young players that the White Sox would want.

My thought is that a Glasnow/Bell package would make the most sense, and could be a good starting point. That combo would be worth about $60-70 M in trade value. The Pirates would probably have to add about two more players to such a deal, but at that point they’d be dealing from plenty of depth outside of the top five. Again, I don’t know who the Pirates have discussed, or if they share my opinion on who could be easily moved in the top five. What I do know is that Quintana would require at least one of those five to be moved, and probably two of them. I also know that the Pirates have the prospects to make a deal, and have the depth to make such a move without losing much in the short-term or the long-term.

As for Quintana, I think he’d be the best pickup the Pirates could make this offseason for their rotation, and I’m saying that as a big fan of Chris Archer. I think he’d slot in at the top of the rotation with Gerrit Cole, making Jameson Taillon a very good number three option. If Taillon works out as expected, then the Pirates would be led by three guys who could be number one or number two starters, and suddenly the rotation would look pretty strong. Add in all of the depth out of Indianapolis, and you’ve got a strong group that would be together for the next three seasons, until Cole is a free agent. And by then, you might have Mitch Keller in the mix.

From a budget standpoint, Quintana would currently put the Pirates around $100 M, which means they could theoretically add him and keep Tony Watson. I’d still try to move Antonio Bastardo’s contract and use that money on some bench depth, with a few potential values to be had in this market. The point is that Quintana would give the Pirates a top of the rotation pitcher and would cost less than three years of Ivan Nova, with a much lower cost up front. This would allow the Pirates to do a lot more to compete with their roster, under their budget limits.

  • I know Bell’s considered a better prospect right now, but I think I’d rather lose Bell than (my boy) Newman. I’m just afraid Bell’s defense will make it too difficult for him to reach his potential. Newman plays a tougher position to fill, and if Harrison struggles again, could step in this season to bolster the lineup.

    But mostly I don’t want them to trade Newman because he’s my boy.

  • I would trade them Josh Bell & Tyler Glasnow. Maybe one more piece like a #10-15 prospect. Can’t see how Chicago could be disappointed with that. I would keep Meadows at all costs. Also would be sure to keep Newman & Keller.

  • Great analysis, comparing Quintana’s potential value to our prospects and adding in the comp with Nova.

    Personally, I would DO a trade with Bell and Glasnow, understanding that they have high ceiling potential.

    But with Quintana, we’ve got a pitcher whose reached the high ceiling. His ceiling is even higher than Cole, and with Taillon offer an extremely exciting Top Three.

    Not once since I’ve followed this team (early 1960s) has this franchise had this high-end rotation. Not once.

  • Mad Dog Russo’s take on the Pirates was refreshing this afternoon. Would really appreciate some objectivity from the Pittsburgh Nutting Propagandists. This is a team in transition who will not see their measure of success (wild card berth) come to fruition for decades. The Cubs and the Cards are the only legitimate teams in the NL Central.

    • lol i can’t think of a person who’s opinion on the Pirates i’d value less than “mad dog russo”.

  • It is comical to think Hudson and Quintana could make nearly the same amount this season if Hudson hits his incentives.

  • The Pirates are trying to acquire Quintana much like I’m trying to lose 15 lbs. Need to see action not contemplation. Hard to take this front office seriously (Price, Martin).

  • If you trade Bell, then move Cutch to 1B. Even conservatively, he should be worth 18-20 wins through age 40. Assuming 8 wins over next two years, then at $6M-per after that, they can offer him a $60M extension, front loaded. Cutch is happy to retire a pirate. Pirate fans are happy that Cutch isn’t traded. Ownership is happy they aren’t overpaying. And since it’s front loaded, if he tanks, he won’t be a drain as a backup.

  • Bell would fine. He is an AL player.

  • newman is easily replaced….glasnow may take 3-5 years to be great. bell is tough to give up, but…..honestly deal all 3 and make it happen. hes worth it and allows us to keep cutch and really compete NOW

  • Let’s see:

    15% of the people want to tell us that they suggested this before (proud)
    15% of the people want to give up 15 no-name prospects (quantity)
    15% of the people want prospects back so they can trade them now (indian givers)
    40% of the people just want to call NH an idiot (they know more than he does)
    7% of the people want to make a three way deal (which rarely happens)
    1% of the people want to get Jeff Locke back (don’t know he’s not available)
    7% of the people make good sense (just figure out who you are)

    If this trade goes down, 100% of the people will say we paid too much, because it will hurt.

    Quintana became a minor league free agent in 2011 and was signed by the White Sox. Again, the key is not trading everything in the farm once a guy is established, but signing those guys as minor league free agents before they cost the farm.

    Trade won’t happen, Neal Huntington will not give up what Rick Haun wants to extract. Houston will end up giving it up, but the Pirates will not.

    • Makes you wonder what the Yanks were thinking. They never pushed him even though he put up good results, and then let him go. What a pick up he turned out to be for the Sox.

    • You forgot 33% think that a Harper for McCutchen trade would be a bad deal for the Pirates

  • Would be nice if they had McGuire and Ramirez as additional prospects to deal from. Theyre not top guys, but guys with some value to be added into a deal. Too bad we gave them away.

  • Quintana is freakishly consistent. They would probably call him a #2…but he’s better than Cole so far in their careers.

  • For all of you “Bell is/should be untouchable” fans…
    Have you seen him play first base and RF?

    He is going to cost you 2-3 games a year with his defense regardless of where you play him…

    • He’s young and has barely played 1B, so not sure that I would agree yet on that one.

      • FWIW, he’s been at first for 2 years. How long does it take?

        • Actually, I thought it was one year. however, It takes a lot of repetitions to develop the infield skills needed. two years sounds like a long time, but there’s a big difference between playing outfield and infield. Had he been an infielder transitioning to first, it would have been much easier.

      • 249 games at first = “barely”?

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    December 21, 2016 2:44 pm

    Tucker, Craig, Connor Joe, and Jason Rogers….trade all the mistakes for Quintero

  • This would be huge.

  • It seems more likely to me that — while the Bucs likely have interest here — getting this report out there is more about putting pressure on Nova to pull the trigger and sign.

    • I have no insight or information on this, but I’d tend to agree that this rumor is more smoke than fire. It would be a very un-Pirates-like kind of deal. I’d be all for it though.

    • Agreed, Pirates are usually pretty quite and hold their cards to their chest. If it was leaked, there’s probably a reason

  • The White Sox got a lot of pitching for Sale and Eaton maybe they would be okay with something like Diaz, Tucker, and Craig or Hayes for Quintana. Would love to see that happen.

  • This is the type of deal I have looked for the last three years. It would be nice to see the Pirates brass show a little urgency with this team. That said they have never made this type of deal and I doubt they ever will.

  • pass, he really just an inning eater and you could get nova for around the same money and give up nothing.

  • Anyone remember us trading Moises Alou plus a couple good prospects for the right to watch Zane Smith grow old expensively ?

    Just sayin’

    • This is for his age 27-31 seasons, not him growing old, and none of his year of control are expensive.

      • Smith was 29 when we acquired him. The key is we gave up way too much. Hitters like Meadows and Bell just don’t come along that often.

  • This article doesn’t allude to it, but could very possibly be a 3 team deal. We have heard the Mets were after Cutch and before that we turned down a package of prospects. I feel like the BMTIB isn’t ready to bet on a bounce back for Cutch and may be looking to flip prospects acquired for him along with some of our own to get Quintana. Hopefully it works out better than our last 3 team deal.

  • I’d make Meadows and Keller untouchable. Otherwise, if they can make the trade, do it!

  • Quintana was the one pitcher I wanted most for the Bucs to go after in a trade since the start of the offseason. Hes talented, has four years of cheap control, balances out the rotation in terms of righties vs. lefties and has put up great numbers on a decidedly mediocre team with a well below average infield defense for several years now.

    I’d have no major problems with giving up a Glasnow, Bell, Hinsz or Hayes and lottery ticket type of package for him. Reasons being that if Glasnow does indeed reach his ceiling, which is doubtful, then he’s only a pirate for four seasons anyhow as he will be way too expensive to extend and will be traded for prospects as he nears free agency and presumably one and a half of those years as a bucco hes still developing, just at the MLB level. Bell’s bat looks great in the lineup but he’s more suited to being an AL player spending some time DHing and in the near term first base can be covered by Freese and Jaso, long term by Craig potentially. By giving up Glasnow and Bell that allows the front office to keep Meadows and Keller who I feel are the real top prizes of the farm system. Losing Hinsz or Hayes, depending on ChiSox’ preference of pitching or position player is certainly detrimental too but those guys are far enough away from the majors that they can reasonable be replaced talent-wise in the system by drafting well or hitting on a Cutch trade.

  • Tim, where are the values coming from you are using for the prospect values? The Fangraphs trade articles this year have been referencing the Kevin Creagh and Steve DiMiceli updated 2016 valuations which are much much higher. For instance a top 10 pitcher is $69.9M and a top 10 hitter $73.5M. 11-25 hitters are $62M and 11-25 pitchers $39M. Even the 2015 value ($40.4M) is much higher than the $26.7M you mentioned for a top 10 pitcher.

    • We’re still using the one we did 2012. I didn’t oversee that research you mentioned, and don’t trust that the numbers are that high. They’ve updated those numbers a few times, and they keep shooting up in value, and I don’t think the value of prospects has gone up that high that quickly. It also doesn’t line up with what we’ve seen in trades. By that study, Sale would have landed about $120 M in prospect value, and he was worth $99 M at $8 M/WAR.

      We updated in 2012 based on a 2008 study. The plan is to update everything again this offseason with a new look at the same study, along with a few changes to the process.

      I used the trade value ratio above to show an adjustment, since the values have gone up since we last updated in 2012.

  • Ok crazy trade idea.

    Quintana
    Aubrey

    For

    Glasgow
    Bell
    Hayes
    Tucker
    Diaz
    Holmes
    Eppler
    Jaso

    It’s a ton but gives the pirates a power corner bat and a top flight SP.

    • These package deals become very complicated.

      Based off of Tim’s estimates above that it will take Glasnow, Bell, and two others (say Diaz and Eppler) to sign Quintana…

      That would basically mean trading Hayes, Tucker, Holmes and Jaso for Abreu. On the plus side:
      – we don’t include any top 100 prospects for Abreu – he does average 30 HRs and 100 RBIs a year.
      – we free up $4 million with Jaso and he wouldn’t play in that lineup anyway

      The negative is that:
      – Abreu is turning 30 and has declined in each of his 3 years in the majors
      – he will $10 million in 2017 and then go to arbitration for three years
      – all of the prospects are coming off injuries and are being sold at low value points. In fact all of them probably have a shot at being top 100 prospects in the future.

  • Go sign Tyson Ross and Keep the prospects or do a three way deal and keep our best prospects. Unless they have given up on Glasnow I would not trade 6 years of TG for 4 years of Quintana. Adding Keller to the package is just sacrificing too much the future.

    • Tyson ross really just a one year stopgap who may not be able to pitch by opening day anyways. With the cost of free agent pitching nowadays it makes sense for the bucs to trade prospects for under market value contracts of quality pitchers. Their other alternative is to sign a #3 type pitcher to a three year deal for about 40 million and eventually either salary dump trade them or flip them for prospects depending on their performance a few years later.

    • oh I’d give up 6 years of Glasnow (high upside guy but is really an unknown) for 4 years of known all-star type pitching. That’s an easy deal from the Pirates point of view (and one CWS would laugh at), it gets tricky when you start needing to add more prospects.

  • Seeing that Quintana has more value than Sale leads to some interesting questions regarding whether a team should target the better value (Quintana) or pitcher (Sale):
    1. Does it make sense for the Pirates to give up more in terms of prospects to get a less talented guy (Quintana) just because the contract terms are better?
    2. Conversely, if it is smarter to get the better player, doesn’t that imply that the value of Sale should be higher than Quintana’s value? In other words, Sale has to have some hidden value because he’s the one you want on the mound of game 7 of the World Series, right?

    • The questions can be easily answered in terms of wins. Sale is worth one win per year more than Quintana. So getting the better player gets you one extra win over a three year period.

      But Quintana has an extra year of control. So you actually get about two extra wins over the life of the contract, including a good pitcher for one extra year.

      And since Quintana is cheaper, you can also supplement the team easier to try and make up for the value in the downgrade from Sale.

      Sale gets valued appropriately for being the better pitcher. If you start adding scenarios like game seven, then you’re probably going to be paying too much for him.

      • I agree with your answers but I am left wondering why the Red Sox didn’t jump in and try to get Quintana instead if he is the biggest value.
        I know this is hypothetical but did they say Quintana is a better value and we can’t afford to get him? Or we want the guy that will provide more wins in a given year – no concerns over how many years or cost per win?

        • The Red Sox don’t care about money, and they can just go get another player in year 4, so the value that Quintana has wouldn’t be as valuable to them.

    • It really depends – for the Red Sox you want to maximize wins and the depth of your staff for the next 2-3 years – you have $200 million to spend and lots of revenue. Even if Sale fails you will survive.

      For the Pirates you need to try and squeeze out as many wins as possible from a much smaller budget ~$100M for 2017 and might rise slightly each year. For them the Quintana contract makes more sense. Four years at a very low cost if he is a 4+ fWAR pitcher. And you can drop him if he bombs after 2

  • Can’t wait til the Pirates “almost” get Quintana. They worked “so” hard. They were “willing to leave their comfort zone.” its just didn’t work out at the end of the day. Oh well, Jeff Locke is available.

    • Locke signed with the Marlins.

    • Locke isn’t he signed with Marlins lol

    • Would rather this be the result vs. some of the prospects close to the majors or in the majors that are being considered. Quintana isn’t an ace, will never be an ace and best of my knowledge made the All Star game once… Locke made that as well. Much easier pitching behind a true Ace who carries the expectation.

  • I don’t see the logic in trading a one or two (soon to be) every day position players and one starter each with 6 years of control for one starter with 4 years of control. Unless the plan is to gather more of the “6 years and every day” players by trading Cutch. But who’s got that package in exchange for Cutch? Seems like its making a big mess to get one piece.

  • I would try to include Cutch than Bell. Glasnow and Cutch and maybe a lower level prospect would be sufficient. White Sox can trade Cutch mid year if they want and get decent prospect return if he plays well. The value there would be strong. Again, Bell and Meadows are my untouchables.

    • Theres really no reason for the Sox to want Cutch. The chances of him increasing his trade value is very low considering he would be getting closer and closer to free agency. Im sure they’d rather just take prospects instead of having to work out another deal and risk Cutch having a bad first half and tanking his value.

  • No way they should give up Bell. Glasnow, okay. For me, Meadows and Bell are untouchables. I’d trade Glasnow, Newman and Keller than do Glasnow and Bell. That’s how strongly I’d prefer to keep Bell out of a trade deal.

    • I wouldn’t touch Meadows and Keller…Bell would be tough to loose but I think the other two have to stick around.

      • they desperately need a 1B…I think Bell is going to be really good. I think he’s already shown flashes of it. No way I’m giving up on that. Frankly Bell is more proven than Meadows. I wouldnt give up either. I’d give up Cutch, Glasnow and Newman…that’s alot and should be enough.

        • Yeah, I would hate to loose Bell. It seems that they all say it is easier to replace someone at 1b, but for some reason that doesn’t apply to the Pirates…haha

          • They have 0 good bats in the minors and very few in the majors. Why would they get rid of Bell?

            • I wouldn’t say they have zero good bats in the minors…maybe not the power upside of Bell but zero is stretching it a bit…

  • Great analysis, thanks for the knowledge!

    • Tim adds a great deal with his trade analysis. One thing that he pointed out about Glasnow vs Q was that you’d be getting 4 of Q’s years vs giving up 6 of Glasnow’s. But he put it in perspective that with Glasnow’s learning curve that it would only be 4 years too. He also made a point of Meadows being almost irreplaceable in the system.

  • The pirates should be unwilling to part with Josh Bell and Austin Meadows. They are a big part of the future for the Bucs, especially if they do end up aquiring Quintana. I would think a package of Glasnow, Hayes, Tucker, and a guy like Clay Holmes or Tyler Eppler would get the job done. The Pirates could even throw in another position player not in their top ten prospects. Bell and Meadows should remain untouchable though.

    • One erratic, high upside pitcher and three guys outside of the top 100. If you were a White Sox fan, would you be happy with that return?

      • Glasnow has ace potential, and Hayes projects to be a starting 3rd baseman with some pop. Tucker is young and also projects to be a starting shortstop in the majors. I could see the pirates including Elias Diaz because the Sox are in need of a Cather.

      • The Sox didn’t ask the astros for players that rank in baseballs top 20 prospects. What most are suggesting(Bell and Meadows/Glasnow) all rank in the top 25 of baseball.

        • I am not saying those guys have no value. I am basing the discussion off of Tim’s projected value and it was Bell, Glasnow, and probably two lower prospects.

          (I don’t know what they are theoretically asking the Astros for but it should be the same value.)

          • They asked for Joe Musgrove, Francis Marte and Kyle Tucker. Way less value than bell and Glasnow and two lower level prospects.

  • Quintero for Bell, Glasnow and Osuna.
    Cutch and Watson to the Mets for Matz, Granderson or Bruce or Conforto, Rosario and Gsellman.
    Mets OF that comes over starts until Meadows is deemed ready.
    Rotation is Matz, Cole, Quintero, Tallion and whoever wins the fifth starter job.
    If the Mets balk at Rosario, I ask for 1b Dominic Smith, who would effectively replace Bell.

    • Sub Ke’Bryan Hayes for Osuna as they would like a 3B.
      Conforto will not be included in this deal due to his low salary. The other mentions from the Mets, if value works out for both teams, has been mentioned (can’t say where since I read way more than I comprehind).

  • Regardless of what trade values should be or are, I don’t see Quintana commanding a return as large as Sale. Notoriety and prominence still prevail in baseball.

    • I also don’t think Tim’s valuation of Quintana is very accurate, since it literally doesn’t even attempt to quantify risk.

      Who was the last pitcher to log eight straight 200 IP / 4 WAR seasons? That would be the mark Quintana would hit if you assume the production Tim did for the remainder of his deal. The odds of that happening are astronomically low, and I’d have to believes teams would know this when factoring his value.

      Now risk would be an awfully subjective thing to account for, and I don’t necessarily blame Tim for not attempting to, but it clearly skews the value calc.

  • I wonder if volume would help: Glasnow, Hayes, Kingham, Y. Garcia, Tucker?

    • You’re not trading with Neal Huntington. Rick Hahn doesn’t subscribe to the quantity over quality theory.

  • This is when you deal Cutch for prospects and put Glasnow and the prospects back from Cutch into the deal. Maybe Watson but this is a three way deal

    • Why not, include Cutch and let White Soix trade him later on if they want…what’s wrong with that. Still a tremendous amount of value. Glasnow and Cutch in my opinion should be enough as a centerpiece to a deal. Maybe throw in Newman, Cole Tucker, somebody like that. That’s my line on a deal like that. No mas, if White Sox dont want to do that then walk away.

      • Cutch alone should get Quintana. You shouldn’t have to add a top 10 prospect but you want to add glasnow and a top SS prospect! Why?

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    December 21, 2016 10:35 am

    Quintero is a very good pitcher……but the thought of NH making such a trade is very disconcerting.

  • with Bell having at least some major league experience, doesn’t he prove to be more valuable right now than Meadows? I understand that even in RF his defense is worse that Meadows, but doesn’t switch hitting, more power, Meadows propensity to get hurt and Bell’s proven success (all be it limited) at the MLB level trump Meadows value at this point?

    Keller / Meadows / Plus another lower prospect would be fine for me, unless we can trade Cutch for enough other prospects to restock. I’m not ready to let Glasnow go yet. Glasnow has always struggled initially when promoted to next level but has always come around to dominate after settling in.

    Rotation of:
    Cole
    Taillon
    Quintana
    Glasnow
    Kuhl

    Puts us back in contention. Especially if we hang onto Bell and Cutch.

    • I have a feeling that Keller is going to be better than Glasnow. He already has more control, throws just as hard or in some cases harder than Glasnow last year…He understands and is throwing 3-4 different pitches already which Glasnow will not do for some reason…

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    December 21, 2016 10:33 am

    Not going to happen unless the Pirates are willing to trade Meadows and Glasnow….and maybe a third prospect like Newman….

  • This ia exactly why I thought a 3 ream deal with Nats originally made so much sense. Prospects you get for Cutch you include in deal for Quintana and you get an ace pitcher and keep some in-house talent. Now we hear we are going after Quintana…the cost will be enormous and, while worth it, we really need to unload McCutchen to make this palatable for the farm system.

    The crowd in outfield and coat in prospects is going to make this a tough deal to pull off. Should have made a 3 team deal earlier…and, yes, I do know how extremely difficult those deals are to pull off. Just makes too much sense.

  • There is nothing more that I want to see than the Pirates holding a championship trophy over their heads in November. It’s been way to long for this franchise. However this is what I am reading with these comments: let’s trade for a pitcher who wouldn’t be our ace. He’s good, but he still not Chris Sale good. And in getting him let’s give up a kid who will be our 1st baseman for the next 6 years and who should provide 20ish homeruns, 25-30 doubles and maybe 80-90 RBI. We can throw in the top OF prospect in the game who is an almost can’t miss prospect who again would be an everyday player at the top of the lineup and playing gold glove caliber work in the field. We may as well throw in the top right handed pitching prospect in the organization because he is in his early 20’s and hasn’t reached his potential yet and we are getting frustrated. Again 6 years of control with that kid too.
    Do I think Jose Q would make this team better? Absolutely. But he throws one a week while Meadows and Bell should play everyday for a long time in our lineup.
    I’m not ready to give up our system when I’m not sure adding him will even put us over the Cards, let alone the Cubs.

    • Agreed. You can’t include Bell or Meadows period. Glasnow and Keller and some chaff, ok. That’s a BIG HAUL. B & M are our 3 & 4 hitters as early as 2017.

  • I couldn’t agree with you more Tim. All the comments I see mention Keller, Meadows and Elias Diaz, and I wouldn’t like to see any one of those 3 go.

  • I think that Bell & Glasnow is a reasonable starting point. I would not give up Meadows since he is the top outfield replacement. Keller would sting, but he hasn’t reached AA yet so who knows how he will adapt. I would also consider giving up Newman, since Tucker is still around. According to Fangraphs, there are scouts who prefer Tucker. He has always been young for his level.

    A key point when giving up prospects in this deal, the Pirates currently have the 12th, 42nd, & 50th picks in next years draft (42 could slide to 45 & 50 to 53 depending on free agents). Any players traded should be replenished in June 2017.

    Another point, the farm system only exists to make the major league team better. This trade makes the major league team better.

  • Ignorant statistics question of the day: Relevant to Josh Bell trade discussion –

    Do the stats adequately weigh the value of an offensive player like Bell, given the fact that he gets around 3-4 at bats per game, but may only misplay or not get to a ball in the field that an average fielder would get to in one out of every 10 games (just speculating at these numbers, don’t have actual data)

    Basically, is the offensive value for someone like Josh Bell, who doesn’t play a premium defensive position, correctly weighted by the advanced stats like WAR? Just feels like these big bats are being undervalued now relative to their actual impact on the game.

    • Pedro Alvarez says no. lol
      In reality, a players defense can be so bad that it completely negates their offensive value. However, offensive value does outweigh defensive value, so the more at bats he accumulates, the harder it would be to negate that value. If he does have a down year though, like Cutch last year, it is possible.
      The single biggest thing I don’t understand about Bell is this, when he was drafted, he was thought to have the potential to hit .300 with 30+ HR’s. Since that draft, the Pirates have spent every offseason and every season working on his swing/hitting mechanics. However, up until 2 seasons ago, did little(at least that was written about) to work on his defense, be it in the outfield or at 1B.

      • Not sure you are accurate about Bell and his D. I believe the Pirates had their former 1b work with him? Cant recall his name. Kevin Young, I think.

    • It’s an excellent question, with a completely subjective answer.

      Taken literally, yes, WAR does account for the differences in opportunity between batting and fielding. And taken literally, a player’s negative value in the field can eliminate their positive value at the plate.

      But teams not only have better information at hand than we do, they also weight that information differently. Smart clubs like the A’s and Cards have notoriously disregarded defensive even at valuable positions like shortstop in order to get big bats in the lineup. The Royals swear by Eric Hosmer despite metrics grading his defense out as barely playable, and if he hits this year like he did in 2015 I guarantee you teams will be lining up to pay him.

      I think if you found a big bat that might not be an error machine, but also might not have the range to get to balls he should, you’d have an argument that his straight WAR would undervalue the impact he could have on the game.

  • This fellow is clearly a good pitcher. However, why not just spend money on Nova and keep your prospects? Nova isn’t the same pitcher clearly but wouldn’t the team be in a better position overall?

    • I tend to agree with this. I hate to pay the kind of price in prospects this would take to acquire one pitcher. If his elbow gives way you are suddenly royally screwed.

      • What happens if we keep Glasnow and HIS elbow gives way?

        Or he never gains command?

        It works both ways. 🙂

        • What if we trade for a player that has pitched 814 innings over the past 4 years and he blows his elbow out – after we sent 4 prospects four him?

        • That is quite possible, but he is only one player. What I don’t like is small market teams trading numerous top prospects for one player. If it goes bad for that one player, you are in a huge hole and don’t have monetary resources to recover like a larger market team does. Big gamble in my mind.

          • Free agent pitching contracts nowadays are a bigger gamble for small market clubs in my opinion. Trading prospects for below market cost, quality pitching could be the next analytical craze.

    • Uhh…no, if you would like to see them be competitive beginning this season. Read Tim’s comments.

  • Aren’t the Sox already overstuffed with prospect pitching?

  • How about we come at this from a different angle. Huntington has shown over the years that he is loathe to trade top, impact prospects. So what about something like, say… Starling Marte (as part of a package)? I know the White Sox are kicking into a major rebuild but Marte would fit that rather well. He’s still relatively young, and signed to a bargain contract for five more years. I really don’t think the Sox want to go into 2017 with an all-rookie (or close to it) line-up. I get the feeling that Cutch is not going anywhere so this would open up an eventual spot for Meadows. Really don’t know how the trade values line up.

    Also, how about David Robertson? Pirates certainly need a closer. Maybe if they
    assume most of the contract, the Sox will demand less vis-a-vis prospects.
    (Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s hard to type this while laughing so hard.)

    • I was thinking that Marte would be a good trade piece earlier in the off season too. Bell could play right long term. I’m not enamored with having the best defensive OF in baseball. I thought re-signing Cutch could be a small possibility too. He says he wants to be a Pirate forever. Does that mean he would take another below market contract? Ex. Tear up the option year and give him a 4 year deal for 80-90m. This assumes that he improves over last year and they move him to a corner. .

    • I disagree on the ‘loathe’. He just hasn’t done it but this is completely in the Pirates bag of tricks. They offered Cole + Taillon for Mike Stanton back in 2013. They offered a ‘substantial’ offer for David Price in 2014 (presumed to be Glasnow + Meadows) that was greater value arguably than what was received (even reported on this site)

      They make offers that make them feel ‘uncomfortable’ or ‘willing to do something stupid’ but not go ‘insane’. (NH quotes)

      He hasn’t gotten deals done, but he is legitimately in the conversation for the right kind of deals imo. Also – it only takes one time.

    • Why are we always trying to trade the best athlete on the team?

      • No offense, but I do not quite understand your question. What does “best athlete on the team” have to do with anything? I don’t like the idea of trading Marte either but he can be replaced (Meadows). Actually, in the near future, somebody HAS to go to get Meadows into the line-up. I simply think that putting Marte into the deal would significantly lower the cost of adding “other” prospects.

    • This has got to be a joke… Right?

      • Why is that? Because you have some kind of wood for Marte?

        I have been rooting for the Bucs since 1960 (good year to start, huh?) Starling Marte is probably the finest fielding left fielder I have seen in that time. But I feel we may be allowing his glove to color our opinion of him as an overall ballplayer. Check his offense: he has a .792 OPS. While that is not bad, it certainly isn’t something that would move him into the realm of “untouchable”.
        He doesn’t hit for a lot of power and the only reason he has a decent OBP is because of all the HBP’s, which could possibly shorten his career.

        All in all, I’d rather keep Meadows. He will never carry the leather that Marte does, but I think he’ll be the superior hitter. Plus we will have him for ~6 years to Marte’s five years.

        There are other things, too, but I’ve rambled enough. You may fire when ready, Gridley.

        • Marte whether you want to admit it or not is the best position player on the team and why on earth would we trade one of the most underrated players in baseball in a deal where we pick up a decent closer getting paid way too much when we already are at the top of the payroll

    • You realize Marte is the best player in the entire organization, right?

  • Packaging a deal around Glasnow and Bell would be okay with me.

    Hey….maybe we could get them to “throw in” Abreu?? 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Someone offered a nice prospect for Cutch. Basically trading Cutch for Quintana would be a baseball move.

    The n sign an outfielder for a year

  • I think the path to this trade is either a three team deal or trades of McCutchen and Watson to get some additional high level prospect depth to deal from for Quintana. Doing so also provides some financial flexibility to sign a Tyson Ross or an Ivan Nova, or a stop gap for RF (assuming a Cutch trade). If the Pirates took that route to this trade, they could part with Glasnow and one of the top prospects they would acquire, and still hold Bell and Meadows who both have big futures.

    I would also add that a rotation of Quintana, Cole, Taillon, Ross/Nova, Kuhl sounds pretty damn solid.

  • If Bell were included in the deal, is Freese playing first base? I wish Encarnacion would be a realistic option. The Bucs could use a guaranteed 35+ homers in the middle of that lineup.

  • One thing that I would like to see NH start to factor into his thought process (assuming he doesn’t already), is the future trade value of these types of pick ups. And based on NH’s comments, he never discusses this future value. He always searches for undervalued things that have no resale value – while we still own them.
    But Quintana is a young veteran and that could be re-sold (not dumped) in one, two, or three years if the replacements (Kingham, Holmes, Brault, and Keller) are ready. This would replenish the prospects that we lost.

    • One other thought here is that while Quintana is much better than Nova, Nova only costs money and no free agents. I would consider signing Nova to a contract that pays him $14, $12, $10, and $8 million over the next 4 years. This decreasing value over the life of the contract (something we should have done with Happ) matches decreasing value with decreasing salary. As a bonus, he becomes more valued on the trade market as a relatively cheap veteran.

      • I am not sure a 28 year old pitcher would sign a contract with a declining AAV. When you factor in inflation, that is more like $7 mil in season 4. MLBPA might not let him sign that.

        • The time value of money swings both ways. Getting more guaranteed up front is attractive in that it can be invested to outpace the decline in the value of money that would occur throughout the life of the contract. A front loaded contract always benefits the player as even a very modest rate of return would easily offset inflation.

          • You were talking about a player that is hitting FA in what should be his peak FA/earning seasons. There is no need for him to take a discount/front loaded contract since all 4 years will likely be his most valuable seasons. The contract you suggest would make sense from years 32-36, but not 28-32.
            As for the time valuation of money, it would be impossible for anyone to beat inflation in year 4 of a contract, inflation would eat away at that money, before it is even earned. However, if you are talking about using monies made this year to beat inflation in year 4, I guess that is possible, but nothing is guaranteed. However, if you count the cost of a FA season and factor that in with inflation, I doubt there is much chance at all of beating that.

            • I think you are thinking of inflation incorrectly. Inflation eats away the value of future money. So comparing two different four-year contracts:
              1. Pay out $37 million in year 1 and then $1 million each through year 2-4
              2. Pay out $1 million from year 1 through 3 then $37 million in year 4
              The first contract is much more valuable to the client – and it costs the team more

      • That is a good thought. But I like a 3yr/$36 deal better with your front loaded $14, then $12 and finally $10.

        The opportunity to add Q is awesome. Picking up Q and Nova would likely require trading Cutch (which would give some fin flex) and greatly strengthen the rotation.

    • This is another great point. In two years, picking up a 10-Mil option then trading him for (hopefully) a similar return. The Pirates way.

  • I would love to see the Pirates get Quintana, and I am fine with giving up 6 years of control of prospects to get him. It is going to take a haul to get him, but if they really want to compete with the Nats, Dodgers, Giants and Cubs, it needs to be done.

    • For 4 years of a perennial All-Star, at a controllable cost, would be 100% OK with two of the 5 Tim mentioned. Cost of acquiring a good LH SP. Think about how good this guy could be in the NL too.

      • I agree that this should be done but unless it’s Glasnow out of the top 5 and no one else I don’t think it should be done and am still not so sure we should give up on glasnow

        • Of course we shouldn’t be giving up on Glasnow, that would be dumb. If you could convince the White Sox to take Cole instead I’m all ears.

  • Maybe that’s why we were so intrigued by the Nationals’ Robles and Giolito. Robles could have been flipped along with Glasnow, and one or two lower prospects.

    We would have Quintana and Giolito round out the rotation and Bell plugging into RF until Meadows arrives. No mortgaged future and a better team for 2017.

    • Yep, I think that’s a great thought. But we also turned down a “hearty” package of prospects for Mccutchen, who presumably could have helped in a deal like this.

      • I guess a different way to think of the hypothetical trades would be:
        – to assume Glasnow and Giolito are identical
        – to assume we got one other lower level prospect for Cutch
        – to assume that we give two lower level prospects for Quintana

        Then the two trades would have been a net of Cutch and one lower level prospect for Quintana. Without both of the expected returns, (hearty or not) the balance of the deal starts to tilt away from our favor.

  • Best way to do this trade is 3 way. Could include McCutchen and/or Watson plus prospects. No way they give up a lot of young pitching prospects.

  • That creep can roll man.

  • I’d love for the Pirates to get him…but the cost is going to be ridiculously high.

    He’s not the pitcher Sale is, but he costs the same for four years as Sale will be paid for three. So, I think the extra year makes his trade value fairly equal to Sale’s.

    The Sox got two solid pitching prospects who will be in AA this season, A good hitting OF who will be in A+/AA this season. Oh, and an ML ready monster.

    That said, I’m thinking the equivalent prospects the Pirates would have to give up would be:

    One of Meadows/Bell
    Keller
    One of Holmes/Eppler
    Hayes

    And…looking at that…it still feels a bit light.

    • The Sale deal included two top 30 overall prospects, and nothing else in the top 100. That makes me think that a deal for Quintana could be headlined by Glasnow and Bell, which seems comparable to Moncada + Kopech (although I haven’t actually calculated the trade values).

      Needless to say, that is still a fairly steep price. But if the FO has lost confidence in Glasnow being more than a dominant reliever and doesn’t think Bell can manage playing defense at 1st, then maybe it’s the right time to sell high.

      Edit: Well, looks like Tim did the calculations and also thinks Glasnow + Bell is a reasonable starting point. Although I am intrigued by the notion of a three way trade involving Cutch + Watson (although that’s probably not enough).

    • I totally agree with Tim. This deal starts with Gladnow, Bell and maybe a Ke’Bryan Hayes and Eppler. That’s more value than they got for Sale.

  • An All-Star lefty with four years of below market contract control……………..
    The Sox are asking for and likely to get a package of prospects as good as they got for Sale. That would shake the Pirates organization and its fan base to the core. Aren’t the Yankees and Astros in on him as well?

  • They can’t trade Meadows, right? Unless they moved Cutch for a top prospect…I don’t see how the White Sox don’t settle for less than Glasnow, Meadows and a Keller type third player.

    • If we traded Glasnow, Meadows and Keller for the him I think I’d end up worrying about the arm every time he took the mound. That’s three of our top five, and too much in my opinion.

      • That’s way too much

        • I agree; while I would hate to lose Glasnow, I think Tim makes a great point about the four years vs. six years analysis. That said, I AM NOT, if I am Neal H., also including ANY OTHER OF MY TOP PROSPECTS!!!!!! NO BELL, NO KELLER, NO NEWMAN. NO, NO, NO!!!!!!!!!

          • IMAGINE the quality of the rotation with Quintana, Cole and Taillon.

            Now, is this worth giving up Bell and Glasnow, as the core of the trade?

            I say “Yes”.

            We’ve got to ‘give’ in order to ‘get’.

            The ‘get’ in this case is an ‘Ace’!

          • Then the Sox would laugh and hang up the phone.

  • Been the only one clamoring for this since the season ended. Would be exactly what our rotation needs.

    • No, you haven’t. My list for additions was Sale then Quintana. Love them both.

      • Sale was never a possibility, so, no you haven’t.

        • That appears to be true but seeing that Sale costs less than Quintana, I wonder why we wouldn’t have targeted Sale.

          • I’m just assuming Sale’s value was higher. Not too worried about what stat or peripheral made it such. Just make it happen NH, I haven’t lost faith in you.

        • No I haven’t what? If you are trying to say I wasn’t openly saying we should trade for Sale, you would be wrong. I was, I never thought he was out of our reach, and still think we could have and should have out bid the Red Sox for him.
          I am of the opinion that major league teams should try to win championships. If that means that the Pirates need to trade prospects to get proven major league talent to keep up with the other teams in the National League, then that is what they need to do. If that means trading Glasnow and Meadows plus a couple other prospects to bring in a very good major league pitcher, then that is what they should do.
          If we have learned nothing else from the White Sox, it isn’t very hard to take a poor minor league system and turn it into the best minor league system. One thing the Pirates have taught us, it is very hard to win a championship when you focus too much on the future. I am not saying to trade every prospect we have to build for a 1 season shot, but if you can get multiple years of control for a couple good prospects, then that is a good trade.

    • Haha your definitely not the only one.

  • I’m so unaccustomed to the pirates making huge trades as buyers that I don’t think I’ve ever considered how I would feel about them trading top prospects…

    • they just traded two for nothing last year….. might be useful to have a certain catching foirmer #1 right about now

  • Intriguing…..are the Pirates down enough on Glasnow to include him on the trade (or is it just us fans that think there is a rub between Glasnow and his coaches?) Bell is my personal favorite youngin so I’m hoping its not him…or Meadows…or Keller….or Newman…dang it, this is why I’m glad I’m not pulling the strings. I’ll just sit back, drink my beer and cheer whoever is wearing black and gold

  • Will be a high price, but is cutch can brings prospects to flip to the Sox, that is the ticket. For me, Meadows, is not in any trade discussions. Or Cutch, Glasnow for him.

    • They are rebuilding, why would they want cutch. It will take 2 of the top 5 and I’m all for it. Sick of waiting on the future. Plus I have my doubts that Glasnow will ever reach his potential.

    • I like that, chethejet. I am not giving multiple top prospects, and Meadows is COMPLTETELY OFF LIMITS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Agreed. You can deal Glasnow and Bell if you must but Meadows is untouchable. If the NL would have gone to the DH Bell would be untouchable too but his defense and their OF situation makes Bell a guy you could deal, as much as I hate to say that.

  • I’ll wait for the trade value article from Tim but given what they got for Sale and Eaton, I don’t see how we get away without trading at least 2 of our top 5 (meadows, Glasnow, Bell, Keller, Newman)

    I doubt Newman would be attractive to them since they already have their SS of the future and also just traded for Moncado. Keller would be the most likely of that group to go with Glasnow, but that would really hurt.

  • If we get a Top 100 prospect for Watson we could center the deal around Glasnow and hypothetical Top 100 guy. Wishful thinking but I really don’t want to see Keller, Bell, Meadows, or Newman gone.

  • Love the pitcher, but I may not like what it will take to get him. I’d like to think Bell, Meadows and Mitch are untouchables but you’ve got to pay to play. I’m sure it will be a hotly debated topic here if it comes to fruition.

  • Hate to see what it would take to get him. Just please please please not Meadows or Newman.

    • Either Newman or Cole Tucker will have to be included. Tyler Glasnow, Elias Diaz and Will Craig are all possible, and either Brandon Waddell or Taylor Hearn.

  • Josh Bell?

  • Wow, this would be fantastic

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