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Pirates reportedly “have worked hard” to acquire Jose Quintana

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MLB: Chicago White Sox at Kansas City Royals Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

According to Buster Olney, the Pirates “have worked hard” to acquire White Sox left hander Jose Quintana. The phrasing is ambiguous, as it can be interpreted to mean that they’re still trying or that they’re not. With Andrew McCutchen appearing less and less likely to depart, it could be a sign of the team making the big push in 2017 that they chose not to make in 2016.

There’s no indication of the Pirates’ offer or the Sox’ asking price. Chicago has been rumored to be more reluctant to move Quintana than it was Chris Sale, so it’s a safe bet that the price would be similar to Sale’s. He fetched arguably baseball’s top prospect in Yoan Moncada, along with a high-ceiling pitching prospect in Michael Kopech and two other decent prospects. Quintana hasn’t been quite as dominant as Sale, but he hasn’t been far off. Over the past three seasons, Sale has accumulated 16.6 fWAR and Quintana 14.7. On top of that, Quintana has one more year of control left, four to three. His contract calls for $15.85M in 2017-18, with team options for 2019-20 totaling $22M, a bargain price for a pitcher of his caliber. Over a little less than five seasons, he’s gone 46-46, 3.41, with a 3.79 xFIP, 1.24 WHIP, 2.3 BB/9 and 7.4 K/9. That’s pitching for weak teams every year. The 2016 season was his best by conventional standards, with a 3.20 ERA and 1.16 WHIP, although his 4.01 xFIP was his highest in a full season. A good guess of Quintana’s cost would be Austin Meadows and either Tyler Glasnow or Mitch Keller, plus probably a bit more.