MLB Rumors: Analyzing Trade Whispers as Pitchers and Catchers Report

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorFebruary 17, 2017

FILE - In this Sept. 29, 2016 file photo, Chicago White Sox starter Jose Quintana throws against the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball game in Chicago. The Chicago White Sox made their intentions clear with two huge moves at the winter meetings, and they come to spring training stocked with new young players and a huge task still in front of them. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)
Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

Spring training may have started, leaving the prime time of the MLB hot stove in its wake, but some leftover trade rumors are still floating around the mill.

Here's a look at three names making some news, along with analysis.

     

Jose Quintana

Chicago White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana may not be a household name, but he's proved to be a durable and reliable starter in five big league seasons.

In his last four, he's made at least 32 starts and thrown for no fewer than 200 innings each year. He's proved to be effective, too, posting a 3.35 ERA.

There isn't exactly a large supply of durable and successful left-handed starting pitchers, let alone ones entering their age-28 season like Quintana, so the trade market for him should be active for a rebuilding team looking to stockpile young assets, as the White Sox did in the Chris Sale deal.

Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times reported on trade rumors surrounding Quintana lately:

The Sox have talked to the Pirates, Astros and Yankees, among other teams, about a trade and are known to have been close with one team. But things seem to have cooled down somewhat. At least for now.

'We have had extensive conversations on various fronts and as we sit here today, there's nothing that's gnawing at us or appealing enough to make us move,' general manager Rick Hahn said.

The rumors have been loud enough that Quintana has been forced to address them with the media, per Van Schouwen.

"Yeah, it's a little bit hard when you hear too many things about rumors every time," he said. "But I don't pay attention to that. I just put my focus on all the things I need to do. Every bullpen, workouts and everything it takes to be ready."

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports also answered some fan questions on Twitter recently, and one person asked about the White Sox lefty:

If the Astros can get that deal done, they have to be considered one of the front-runners to win the American League. Quintana would help form a tremendous starting rotation with 2015 AL Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel and 23-year-old Lance McCullers, who throws for more than one strikeout per inning.

Adding Quintana would perhaps even make Sports Illustrated's prediction come true.

     

David Robertson

Speaking of White Sox pitchers, ChiSox closer David Robertson has been connected with the Washington Nationals, who are in the market for a closer after losing out on some stud free agents.

Robertson has closed games for three full seasons, one with the New York Yankees and two with the White Sox. He's saved 110 games to go along with a 3.32 ERA in that time span.

Bob Nightengale and Jorge L. Ortiz of USA Today reported on the potential of Robertson moving to D.C.:

The Nationals tried to include him in their deal for White Sox center fielder Adam Eaton last winter and looked like they were close to sealing the deal last week, but there’s still no trade.

The White Sox remain optimistic a trade will be consummated. But a high-ranking Nationals official, speaking on condition of anonymity because talks are ongoing, says the two sides have hit a stalemate and no trade is imminent.

It might just be a matter of who blinks first.

Robertson would provide a massive boost for a Nationals team in win-now mode. The team has the speed, power, defense and starting pitching to contend for a World Series, but the bullpen is a bit suspect (at least on paper).

Adding an experienced closer in Robertson will put the Nats neck and neck with the Dodgers for No. 1 contender status behind the Chicago Cubs for the National League pennant.

     

Andrew McCutchen

Pittsburgh Pirates star outfielder Andrew McCutchen had a bad season (by his standards) last year, posting a slash line of .256/.336/.430, which were the worst marks of his entire career.

Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette also reported that McCutchen was last in the MLB in defensive runs saved with negative-26, per Baseball Info Solutions.

Given his decline, the Bucs are looking around to see if there's a trade market for him (as well as teammate Josh Harrison).

From Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "General manager Neal Huntington mulled trade offers for Andrew McCutchen and Josh Harrison (and Huntington remains willing to deal either player) but didn't pull off a move."

For now, Cutch looks to be sticking around, although he will be moving to right field. Adam Berry of MLB.com also noted that manager Clint Hurdle said McCutchen will be batting third this season.

This all being said, McCutchen is a five-time All-Star entering his age-30 season, and he's four years removed from an MVP. It's not as if he's a 37- or 38-year old outfielder who can't move or get the bat around anymore.

If the Bucs' season goes south but McCutchen enjoys a resurgent year, expect the trade rumor mill to heat up once again.

     

All statistics via Baseball-Reference unless otherwise noted.