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Maybe Jose Quintana can’t be distracted

If White Sox starter notices trade rumors, you couldn’t tell from his performance

Chicago White Sox Photo Day Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

If Jose Quintana is approaching the end of his White Sox career this spring, he remains dutiful to his final days.

In his previous start — at least that a reasonable amount of the public could witness -- Quintana threw 523 no-hit innings for Team Colombia against Team USA. He finally returned to pitching in public on Thursday, albeit with considerably lower stakes (a Cactus League clash between two rebuilding clubs). Nevertheless, Quintana came out and threw 523 perfect innings against the Cincinnati Reds, pitching so efficiently that he had to go to the bullpen to fulfill the prescribed pitch count.

It’s almost as though he’s being honest when he says he doesn’t pay attention to trade rumors.

Just like his start in the World Baseball Classic, his spring training gem against the Reds probably doesn’t inflate Quintana’s trade value since it doesn’t have much higher it can go. It just undermines the angles potential trade partners can use to knock him, while also validating the White Sox’ decision to slow play this until Opening Day’s doorstep.

Opposing GM: Quintana just isn’t as good as you think he is.
/Quintana aces WBC
Opposing GM: Q isn’t just that guy, no matter how often you say it
/Quintana flirts with perfect game
Opposing GM: Yes, he’s looked good this spring, but so have a lot of guys.
/Quintana sinks winning shot in Elite Eight
Opposing GM: Elite? He would’ve gone into the draft years ago if that were the case.

And so forth.

Daryl Van Schouwen said scouts from 17 teams were in attendance, and while not everybody was there to watch Quintana for immediate decision-making, it does indicate a healthy periphery. We’ve seen two teams emerge from that cloud this week, although the Braves and Phillies are behind the Yankees, Astros and Pirates with meeting the White Sox’ farm needs. Atlanta’s farm is deep, but it’s rich in pitching and far-away position players, making it more difficult to get a fair-feeling deal.

Regarding the usual suspects:

Pirates: A Pittsburgh columnist/radio host is beating the drum for Quintana, as he said he’s comfortable with trading a package of Josh Bell, Mitch Keller and Tyler Glasnow. They should be, considering Glasnow’s MLB readiness has been the big debate of the spring for the Pirates. It makes sense to upgrade Glasnow with Quintana since Quintana’s contract doesn’t accelerate the closing of any window of contention, which makes it more about the other players involved.

(This Jerry Crasnick story on Lucas Giolito is well-timed, reminding us of the work it takes to get a large right-handed pitcher across the finish line.)

Astros: Jon Heyman is the latest to reiterate the sticking points:

Jose Quintana could still be in play. The request for Quintana from Houston was for Francis Martes, Preston Tucker and others. An Astros connected person called it “a king’s ransom.” But they, for one, could use him. With the price of big-time pitching, it’s pretty hard to blame the South Siders on this one.

Yankees: Brian Cashman has the best poker face of the bunch:

“We are not expecting to go elsewhere,’’ Cashman said via phone Monday from West Palm Beach, Fla., where the Yankees played the Nationals. “I am expecting we will go with what we got.’’

As for the second-most-mentioned White Sox pitcher remaining, Heyman says the White Sox and Nationals haven’t spoken about a David Robertson trade “for months.”