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Jose Quintana trade rumors repeat their delivery, too

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Time is the only real difference between February and July

Chicago White Sox v Colorado Rockies Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

For grizzled, jaded veterans of the Jose Quintana rumor mill, it’s tough for a new report to resonate with us.

Take Jon Heyman for instance. This is from an article theoretically published on Monday:

There are said to be big gaps in Chicago’s talks with both the Astros and Yankees, who are seen as two of the prime landing spots. That can’t be considered all that unusual with three weeks to go, but it’s causing the interested teams to look around for alternatives while they wait for the price to drop.

Executives on interested teams suggest the ChiSox have sought two very top prospects in bigger packages for Quintana, who’s heated up in recent weeks. People connected to the White Sox insist the price tag is lower than it was for ace Chris Sale, but to this point, according to rivals, it is anything but low.

The White Sox are believed to have sought from the Astros top pitching prospect Francis Martes and outfielder Kyle Tucker, while they are thought to have mentioned in Yankees talks top infield prospect Gleyber Torres or top outfielder prospect Clint Frazier as the headliner in a package of prospects.

I say “theoretically” because checks off all the boxes from an offseason Quintana story:

  • Big gaps in talks
  • Astros and Yankees
  • Two top prospects
  • Price tag is lower than it was for Chris Sale
  • But not by that much?
  • Martes and Tucker
  • Torres or Frazier

Even when reading the rest of the article, there isn’t much telling you that this was written on July 10, not Feb. 10. And this is after three months of an uneven Quintana, the Yankees being better than expected and the Astros blowing away their projections.

With this as the context, even the introduction of a new team feels formulaic and derivative.

The Twins are to the summer as the Braves were to the winter — a team that’s lurked below the radar and checks some boxes, but just doesn’t pack a punch.

Without this background, perhaps this tweet from CSN Chicago producer Ryan McGuffey would raise the alert level more.

Elaborating on the White Sox Talk podcast, he said of his time in Miami for Futures Game and All-Star festivities, “Everything I got was 100 percent, ‘Jose Quintana will be dealt by the deadline.’” All the reasons why this should be true remain in place, but as Heyman’s report shows, so do all the factors that keep this trade from happening in the first place.

If you can knock off the crust, the heightened value of time should be enough to move teams toward the middle. Quintana remains under control through 2020, but pressure levels have changed for individual teams. I could understand the reasoning when the White Sox held out throug the winter. I don’t think there is much of a difference between four seasons and three-plus seasons of control for a pitcher, because projecting a pitcher to remain healthy/effective beyond three years seems more like wishcasting.

I think there can be a difference between three-plus and three seasons, especially if the market now includes teams who maybe didn’t expect to be contending this soon. Quintana makes the most sense for a team that can win now and figures to win even more in the near future. That’s why the Astros and Yankees have been as prominent as they are, and that’s why I’m waiting for the Brewers to become bigger players for Quintana’s remaining 10-12 starts in 2017. If we can get some Milwaukee action up in here, that’ll give the Quintana rumor mill the fresh spin it’s needed.