The Chicago White Sox did themselves a huge favor in the long term today, agreeing to a five-year, $26.5 million deal with left-handed starting pitcher Jose Quintana. Quintana’s new contract correlates with the White Sox’ renewed emphasis on acquiring and keeping young talent. Along with the signings of Chris Sale earlier this month and John Danks in 2011, it also gives the team an interesting outlook for the future of the starting rotation with the presence of three left-handers.
Quintana posted a 9-7 record in 33 starts with a 3.51 ERA and 164 strikeouts in his first full season in the majors last year. He also pitched 200 innings, and, after spending time in the offseason focusing on improving his strength and durability, has said that it’s his goal to the same again this year.
Though Quintana’s numbers this spring have been on the shakier side, with a 16.36 ERA in 11 innings pitched and just six strikeouts, his most recent outing displayed what the White Sox know he’s capable of. Yesterday, 25-year-old Quintana pitched five shutout innings against the Colorado Rockies, giving up one hit and striking out two while walking none. It was the first time this spring that he didn’t allow a run, and he would have been in line for the win if the Rockies had not scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning on a wild pitch and a throwing error.
Contract talks towards the end of spring training can get tenuous, as evidenced recently when the Detroit Tigers and Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer ceased negotiations until after the season. Signing Quintana now both alleviates the stress of having to negotiate with him later and also serves as another step in the White Sox plan to keep strengthening the South Side.