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MLB Trade Rumors 2017: How the Jose Quintana trade impacts the Rockies

What the Windy City blockbuster tells us about this year’s trade market

It is officially trade deadline season. In somewhat stunning news, the Chicago White Sox have dealt their erstwhile ace to their neighbors on the North Side for four Cubs prospects: Eloy Jiménez, Dylan Cease, Matt Rose, and Bryant Flete.

Quintana was widely regarded as the top player available at the deadline. Though he’s struggled to the tune of a 4.49 ERA in 18 starts so far this season, he has a 3.35 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 over 81423 innings in the previous four seasons. The White Sox held out for what ended up being a very impressive package: Jiménez is considered a top five prospect in baseball and Cease came in at no. 83 in Baseball America’s latest top 100. Rose and Flete are toiling away for Myrtle Beach in the High-A Carolina League, but they are at least versatile organizational filler pieces.

Instant reaction is this is a good deal for both teams. The Cubs get one of the 30 best pitchers in the league for the next three and a half seasons, which alleviates concerns about losing John Lackey and/or Jake Arrieta in free agency this offseason. The Cubs are also 5.5 games behind the NL Central Leading Brewers and this will should help their underperforming pitching staff this year. The White Sox add to their already impressive farm system and set themselves up to have an incredibly impressive crop of rookies for the next three plus seasons. For those keeping score, they now have the No. 1, No. 8, No. 11, No. 23, No. 28, No. 36, No. 59, No. 63, and No. 68 prospects in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline.

From the Rockies perspective, this doesn’t affect them too much in terms of the playoff race. The Cubs are more likely to overtake the Brewers for the NL Central crown than to knock the Rockies out of a Wild Card, and Milwaukee is currently two games back of the Rockies in the standings.

However, this deal will have ramifications for Colorado if they are planning on dipping into the trade market. The Quintana deal shows just how high the prospect cost is to acquire top-available, controlled talent. Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease were the Cubs’ two top prospects, with Jimenez coming in at no. 5 on Baseball America’s new Top 100 and Cease at no. 83, while Matt Rose and Bryant Flete are probably fringe top 30 in the system guys, both in High-A. For comparison, the two top Rockies prospects are Brendan Rodgers (no. 7 on BA’s list) and Riley Pint (no. 77). You would then have to add two players who are bouncing around at the bottom of your PuRPs ballot, like Tyler Nevin, Brian Mundell, or Willie Abreu.

In short, if you were hoping there was a way the Rockies could make a significant upgrade at the trade deadline—like Sonny Gray, Chris Archer, JD Martinez, or others—and still hold on to Rodgers and/or Pint, the market is telling us that that may not be the case and especially if trying to acquire a starting pitcher