White Sox: Can Jose Quintana Assume Ace Role if Chris Sale is Traded?

Can White Sox trade top pitcher and replace him with another pitcher in its starting rotation? This will be a tough decision for team this offseason.

The Chicago White Sox could trade Chris Sale this offseason. If they do trade Sale, what will happen to the starting rotation? Can Jose Quintana stop in and become the Sox next ace for 2017?

Quintana has been one of the more consistent pitchers in the majors over the last four seasons. Although his win totals won’t show that, he hasn’t finished a single season with an ERA above 3.76. However, is Quintana ready to be an ace of a pitching staff?

The Sox are reportedly open to trading players with less than four years of team control according to mlbtraderumors.com. Quintana has four years of team control left on his current contract with team options in 2019 and 2020. If Quintana continues to produce as he has in the past, the Sox picking up his team options would be expected. With Quintana having four years remaining of team control, he could be excluded from any trade talks this offseason.

If this is the case, and the Sox trade Sale, this would put the onus on Quintana to be the ace of the pitching staff next season. Quintana hasn’t been the ace on the Sox as Sale has assumed that role since 2012.

A case could be made that Quintana wouldn’t have a problem being the ace of any pitching staff. However, Quintana would need to get more run support moving forward if he’s going to be relied upon on being an ace. Quintana had his first winning season of his career in 2016. He finished the season with a 13-12 record and 3.20 ERA. This was the best mark of any season in his young career.

The question moving forward is can Quintana build upon a successful 2016? I think he can, but he’s never going to be the type of ace that Sale is. Quintana doesn’t strikeout many batters, but he isn’t a pitcher that can be taken lightly. This past season, Quintana recorded 181 strikeouts to 50 walks. Quintana also pitched the most innings he’s ever pitched in a single season with 208 innings.

If Sale is traded, Quintana will have to pick up the slack for the Sox next season as its ace. The problem with this could be durability as Quintana didn’t pitch a complete game this past season. Although Quintana isn’t as durable as Sale, he is just as reliable and won’t be a distraction in the clubhouse. The Sox still have time to decide if they want to trade Sale. If they do, they have Quintana waiting to become their next ace.

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