The consensus was the Pittsburgh Pirates would get either a young major league player or a prospect in any trade for Jose Quintana.
Turns out, the Pirates acquired both from the St. Louis Cardinals for Quintana and reliever Chris Stratton as they acquired major league right-hander Johan Oviedo and corner infield prospect Malcom Nuñez in a trade that features Quintana and Chris Stratton.
Oviedo, 24, has spent parts of the last three seasons with the Cardinals, compiling a 2-9 record with a 4.65 ERA in 33 games, including 19 starts. He has a 1.47 WHIP and 7.5 strikeouts per nine innings.
This season, the Cuban native has worked primarily out of the bullpen for the Cardinals, with 13 relief appearances in 14 games played. Moving to the bullpen seems to have suited Oviedo. The hard-throwing Oviedo is 2-0 with a 2.16 ERA in 14 career relief appearances in the majors compared to an 0-9 mark and 5.36 ERA in 19 starts.
It is unclear how the Pirates will utilize Oviedo, whose fastball has averaged 95.6 mph in the majors this season.
Oviedo joined the Cardinals on June 4 after beginning the season at Triple-A Memphis. In 10 starts with the Redbirds, he was 4-2 with a 5.58 ERA.
The Cardinals signed Oviedo for $1.9 million as an amateur free agent after he defected from Cuba in 2016. He reached the major leagues during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season and was ranked as the Cardinals’ No. 11 prospect by Baseball America prior to last season.
Oviedo has gone 31-30 with a 4.70 ERA in the minor leagues in 97 games (93 starts) over seven seasons.
Nuñez, who also defected from Cuba, was signed by the Cardinals in 2018 for $300,000.
This season, the 21-year-old played in 85 games for Double-A Springfield and hit .255/.360/.463 with 17 home runs and 66 RBIs. He struck out 71 times in 350 plate appearances but also walked 48 times.
The Cardinals named Nuñez their Minor League Player of the Month for June after he slashed .384/.454/.726 with nine home runs and 27 RBIs in 23 games.
The right-handed hitter was aided by playing in Springfield this year, though. He batted .258/.372/.583 in home games and .252/.344/.319 on the road.
Nunez started 63 games at first base and eight each at third base and designated hitter. He made three errors as a first baseman and one at the hot corner in 496 total chances.
Baseball America rated Nunez as the Cardinals’ 17th-best prospect coming into spring training.