The Milwaukee Brewers ran into a buzz saw yesterday in their game against the Chicago Cubs. Jose Quintana got the start for the North Siders and tossed a 3-hit shutout while striking out 10. The loss put Milwaukee 5.5 games back of Chicago in the division with 6 left to play, effectively ending the Brewers’ hopes of capturing this year’s NL Central title.
The Cubs acquired Quintana this summer to be a difference maker in their rotation, and he certainly was that yesterday. Before heading from the White Sox to the Cubs in July, though, Slingin’ David Stearns and the Brewers were heavily involved in talks for the left-handed stud. According to a report from Ken Rosenthal, the hangup between the Brewers and White Sox was Chicago’s insistence on receiving hard-throwing southpaw Josh Hader as a part of the potential return fro Milwaukee in a deal.
Per Rosenthal, Stearns was unwilling to part with Hader and send him in a package to the South Side of Chicago for Quintana. Once it become clear the Brewers were not going to deal Hader, the Sox turned their attention to the Cubs’ proposal that was centered around Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease. Apparently the White Sox were so enamored with Jimenez that even if the Brewers had put Lewis Brinson and Luis Ortiz on the table, it likely would not have been enough to top the Cubs’ offer once Hader was declared off-limits.
Since joining the Cubs, the 28 year old Quintana has made 13 starts and tossed 79.2 innings while yielding a 3.50 ERA/3.38 FIP. He’s recorded 93 strikeouts against just 21 walks in that time, along with a 46.3% ground ball rate. He’s earning a $6 mil salary in 2017 and will draw $8 mil in 2018, and has a pair of team options at $10.5 mil for 2019 and 2020 left on his contract.
Hader, meanwhile, began the season as Milwaukee’s #3 prospect according to MLB Pipeline and was called up to join the big league bullpen in June. He’s been a revelation for Milwaukee, working 44.0 innings in 33 appearances while operating in a true fireman’s role. He’s allowed a minute 1.64 ERA and has struck out 61 batters, throwing his mid-90’s fastball some 82% of the time. He’s been so successful out of the ‘pen, in fact, that Milwaukee’s decision makers are now weighing a permanent move to relief after adamantly maintaining for the last several months that they still considered Hader a starting pitcher over the long-term.
Regardless of his future role, Hader figures to be an integral part of the Milwaukee Nine for the foreseeable future. Because he wasn’t called up until June, Hader won’t be eligible for arbitration until after the 2020 season and can’t become a free agent until after 2023.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs