In a blockbuster crosstown trade between the two Chicago teams Thursday, the Cubs acquired ace pitcher Jose Quintana from the White Sox in exchange for a quartet of former South Bend players, including highly-touted prospects Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease.
Although Quintana is currently in a down year (4-8, 4.49 ERA, 109 Ks, 40 BB in 104.1 IP), in 2016 he was an All-Star and finished 10th in voting for the American League Cy Young Award after going 13-12 with a 3.20 ERA, 181 strikeouts and 50 walks in 208 innings — numbers that are much more reflective of how he annually pitched for the White Sox the past four seasons.
White Sox fans should be pleased with the haul of prospects their team received, especially with the inclusion of Jimenez, who was named Minor League Baseball’s Breakout Prospect of the Year in 2016 and is considered one of the top prospects in baseball. The outfielder was named the 2016 Midwest League MVP and Prospect of the Year after batting .329 with 14 homers, 40 doubles and 81 RBI in 112 games with the South Bend Cubs during the regular season. In High-A this year, he is batting .271 with 8 HR and 32 RBI in 42 games.
(Side note: The previous year’s MWL prospect of the year, shortstop Gleyber Torres, also played for the South Bend Cubs and was traded by the parent club the following July (for reliever Aroldis Chapman).)
Cease is also a notable inclusion in the trade, as the right-hander was considered the Cubs’ top pitching prospect. He pitched for South Bend this season, posting a 2.79 ERA with 74 strikeouts and 26 walks in 51.2 innings (13 starts).
The White Sox also received infielders Matt Rose and Bryant Flete. Rose played parts of the last two seasons with South Bend, cumulatively batting .246 with 14 HR and 53 RBI in 92 games. Flete also played parts of the last two seasons with South Bend, cumulatively batting .208 with 4 HR and 31 RBI in 95 games. Both players are in High-A this season.
This trade is the first between the two Chicago teams since the Cubs sent pitchers David Aardsma and Carlos Vasquez to the White Sox for reliever Neal Cotts in November 2006. Of those three, only Vasquez played in the Midwest League. The lefty, who never reached the major-league level, went 10-13 with a 3.74 ERA, 87 strikeouts and 47 walks in 137.1 innings (24 games/23 starts).