Jose Quintana signed to long-term deal; White Sox gain ‘cost certainty’
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN Staff Reporter March 24, 2014 8:50PM
Updated: April 26, 2014 6:22AM
PEORIA, Ariz. — With Jose Quintana and Chris Sale under team control through 2020 and 2019, respectively, the White Sox have the top two pieces of their rotation locked in for a good, long while.
A five-year, $26.5 million deal for Quintana, 25, which includes club options for 2019 and 2020 that could bring the total to $47.5 million, was announced Monday. As in Sale’s case, the Sox didn’t have to give Quintana big bucks yet — he likely would have been under team control for five years — but it seems worth any arm-injury risks on the their part to have those pitchers’ services paid for at a price that figures to climb out of their reach down the road.
“It not only rewards them for the hard work they have done, the success they have had, but it allows us to have come cost certainty and obviously extending control,’’ general manager Rick Hahn said. “It frees us up to allocate our resources to other needs, which is beneficial, and takes a couple of other things off our to-do list, which is always nice.’’
Sale signed a $32.5 million extension last spring. In the likely event Quintana is eligible for Super 2 arbitration status after the season, his total guaranteed dollars would break down this way: $850,000 in 2014, $3.4 million in ’15, $5.4 million in ’16, $7 million in ’17 and $8.85 million in ’18. The Sox hold options for 2019 at $10.5 million and for 2020 at $11.5 million. Quintana gets a $1 million buyout if either option is declined.
“That’s a lot of money, but I want to focus on games,” Quintana said. “The money, my family is happy with that. I talked to them, and they’re so happy. I want to say thank you to the Chicago White Sox for this opportunity to be here a long time.’’
Quintana’s rise to being a bona fide No. 2 or 3 starting pitcher has been quick. A repeatable delivery, adaptability to coaching, willingness to work and poise all factored into his development that placed him first among American League left-handers in starts, third in runners per nine innings and fifth in ERA.
Last season, he was 9-7 with a 3.51 ERA in 200 innings pitched. Until Sunday, he had a sketchy spring, not lasting more than three innings, taking a batted ball off his shin that forced an early exit and then getting shelled two starts ago.
On Sunday, everything was right again in Quintana’s world. He pitched five scoreless innings of one-hit ball against the Rockies, a significant outing considering he had faced nine Athletics without retiring a batter in his previous start. It turns out the contract discussions were close to being finalized when he faced the A’s, and it weighed on his mind.
“That one’s probably on me,’’ Hahn said. “He either thought that we were still considering the final deal or that we had said OK to the final deal, but he needed to get through that outing and pass a physical before it became official. That’s a lot for someone to handle.’’
The Sox also have John Danks, who is in the third year of a five-year, $65 million deal that isn’t as team-friendly as Sale’s and Quintana’s because of Danks’ shoulder injury, under wraps. It wasn’t long ago when the Sox steered clear of long-term contracts for pitchers.
“There’s risk anytime you do a multiyear deal with any player, and the risk is a little bit heightened anytime you do it with a pitcher,’’ Hahn said. “But given where we’re at and where we plan on going, we know when we have an opportunity to lock up and extend control over key pieces it’s a risk that makes sense. I don’t think that’s unique to our market.
“Any club would want to get a pitcher like Chris Sale or Jose Quintana on terms similar to these.’’