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Ask BD: Could Jose Quintana be a fit for the Pirates?

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks again for your questions. Here's the next round of answers.

Grumbly1: What would it realistically take for the Pirates to acquire Jose Quintana?

Half of me feels like dismissing the question, on the grounds that the Bucs haven't traded for a good player at this stage in his career since Adam LaRoche, and the Pirates organization seems tepid about their own chances of competing in 2017. But if they do decide to go for it next season, Quintana would make a ton of sense. He's an excellent starting pitcher, he's only 27, he's signed to a very reasonable contract, and the White Sox are reportedly open for business.

The White Sox, though, might prefer to keep Quintana, since he's under control through 2020. Very good players who aren't signed to bad contracts and have four years of control remaining simply aren't traded very often. That's probably partially because their teams can envision those players still being around the next time they contend, and partially because it's very hard to find teams willing to pay an appropriate price for them.

In fact, in the last few offseasons, there have only been a few cost-effective stars who have been traded with four years of control remaining. One was Craig Kimbrel when he went from the Braves to the Padres. That trade is difficult to evaluate because a lot of the value in it from Atlanta's perspective was in dumping Melvin Upton's contract. Another is Josh Donaldson going from the Athletics to the Blue Jays in a deal that was most people hated at the time and looks downright terrible now, even though it did net the A's a very good prospect in Franklin Barreto. (By the way, I just looked at my post about the Donaldson trade at the time, and it made me feel weird.)

Anyway, it suffices to say that Quintana would cost a ton, particularly given escalating prospect costs of stars on the trade market. Tyler Glasnow is a good starting point.

WTM: I wonder whether the Pirates might go after Tom Wilhelmsen, who’s been released by Seattle. He had a complete meltdown with Texas over the first couple months of 2016, but rebounded after that with Seattle. There’s no obvious reason to think he’s collapsed or anything. His velocity after returning to the Mariners was better than ever. Seems like an obvious, Neftali Feliz-type reclamation project.

WTM submitted this as a comment, not a question, but I'll highlight it here because Wilhelmsen and the Pirates seem like a good match. The Mariners just released him to avoid an arbitration payday in the $4 million range, and now he's a free agent. He had a poor 2016 season overall, but like WTM says, he generally did fine after the Mariners reacquired him in June. He also throws in the mid-90s and has a decent track record getting ground balls, inducing them at a 51 percent rate in 2016.

IAPiratesFan: If the Pirates fall further back in 2017, can you see them cleaning house and firing both Neal Huntington and Clint Hurdle?

Unless their season is an unmitigated disaster, no. And probably not even then. Huntington and Hurdle have made mistakes, but it's not fair to expect them to make the Pirates good every year given their budget constraints, and I think everyone understands that, including Frank Coonelly and Bob Nutting.

I also think that, after the Bucs' successes in 2013 through 2015, Huntington would instantly get a job elsewhere. Hurdle, given his reputation as a forward-thinking manager who's willing to listen to his front office, probably would too.

BMcFerren: Who hangs up first? Cutch, Mercer, and Watson to Seattle for King Felix, Lewis and Peterson. Harrison, Jaso and Keller to the Yankees for CC Sabathia.

The Pirates' receptionist, on the fan making rando trade proposals that will never come close to happening.

I give you props, though, for posting this question as a comment rather than emailing it to me. The "What do you think of my 12-player trade idea?" query is easily the most maddening type of email I receive.

Okay, sorry, that's enough snark for the day.

Joey Mooney: Will Luis Heredia get a chance at starting again? I saw last night in the Mexican Pacific League he pitched a solid five innings with six strikeouts.

Probably not, and I doubt the Pirates have much say over what goes on down there. Last season, Heredia, pitching out of the bullpen, posted 7.0 K/9 and 5.1 BB/9 in Bradenton despite not being particularly young for the league. If he even ends up a passable big-league reliever, it'll be an upset.