The Pittsburgh Pirates are closing in on their first free agent addition of the offseason as Robert Murray of FanSided is reporting that the Bucs have reached an agreement with left-handed pitcher Jose Quintana. It is a one-year pact according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman that is expected to be for $2M, per reports. The deal is pending a physical.
Quintana, who will be 33 in January, has spent 10 years in the Major Leagues with four teams – the White Sox, Cubs, Angels and Giants. He broke in with the White Sox where he established himself as a reliable and effective starter in six seasons in Chicago. In his White Sox career, the left-hander had a 3.51 ERA in 172 games (169 starts). His best season came in 2016 when he was named an All-Star and finished 10th in the American League Cy Young race.
He was traded by the White Sox across town to the Cubs in a blockbuster trade in a midseason deal in 2017. The White Sox acquired slugger Eloy Jimenez, pitcher Dylan Cease and two others in the deal. Quintana pitched four seasons with the Cubs, where he compiled a 33-23 record and an ERA of 4.24.
Quintana signed a one-year $8M deal with the Angels last offseason, but struggled with the Halos. He posted an ERA of 6.75 ERA in 53.1 innings with Anaheim before joining the Giants for five appearances via waivers. Quintana finished the year with a 6.43 ERA in 29 appearances (10 starts) between Anaheim and San Francisco.
Even though the overall numbers look bad as a whole, he did post a more inspiring 4.66 FIP. This was in large part thanks to his big strikeout totals – picking up 85 on the year (12.1 K/9). However, the increase in strikeouts came at the cost of his usual impressive control, as he had a career high 5.0 BB/9.
In total for his career, Quintana is 83-80 with a 3.84 ERA/3.68 FIP and 1,395 strikeouts in 1,558 innings pitched.
Injuries have limited Quintana to just 73 total innings over the last two seasons, but Pittsburgh is hoping the injury woes are behind him and he can become a reliable innings eater in 2022. The Pirates will in all likelihood give Quintana an opportunity to hold down a spot in the rotation. It’s a similar move to last year’s signing of Tyler Anderson to give the club a veteran presence in the rotation to a guy looking to bounce back and improve on a disappointing season. If he produces, he could be a trade option in July. For Quintana’s career 257 out of his 283 games pitched have been as a starting pitcher.
On the other hand, it is possible that Quintana could join the Pirates’ bullpen as he performed better as a reliver in 2021. He posted a 4.18 ERA out of the bullpen last year, compared to an 8.13 mark as a starter. No matter what role he pitches in for the Bucs this season, he gives the Pirates their most-experienced pitcher who has a solid track record for his career.
Quintana is currently pitching in the Dominican Winter League where he has made two starts. He’s allowed three runs on eight hits, walked three and struck out six in nine innings of work.
With a full 40-man roster, the Pirates will have to make a corresponding move to make the signing official, assuming Quintana passes his physical.