MLB hot stove: Yankees-White Sox talk Jose Quintana, David Robertson

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The Yankees and White Sox have discussed a potential trade that would involve starting pitcher Jose Quintana and closer David Robertson heading to the Bronx, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.

Chicago would have to eat part of Robertson’s remaining salary as part of the agreement, Nightengale said.

A few thoughts:

1.) Adding Quintana … Would probably mean the Yankees would have to give up a significant prospect or two from their stocked farm system. Think shortstop Gleyber Torres, their top youngster according to Baseball America, or outfielder Clint Frazier, who’s No. 2 on BA’s list. Why? Think about what the Red Sox gave to the White Sox for ace Chris Sale. They got infielder Yoan Moncada, who’s widely viewed as the game’s best prospect. Quintana would need five more seasons that were better than the excellent one he had in 2016 to match Sale’s track record, but the point is, Quintana is very good, and very cheap. The lefty went 13-12 with a 3.20 ERA in 32 starts last season and he’s made at least 32 starts and with an ERA no higher than 3.51 in each of the last four seasons. He’s due just about $38 million over the next few years. Those guys don’t come cheap.

2.) Robertson, too? That’s some what of a head scratcher. Robertson is a very good closer. He did save 37 games last season. He also can pitch in New York and would likely have no problem slotting in as a set-up guy once again. But he also blew seven saves and he’s 31 years old and he’s due $25 million over the next two seasons. Adding Roberston — and his salary — at the expense of a higher-end prospect would seem to run counter to the current Yankees youth push. But the team isn’t just giving up on 2017. It wants to be competitive and put butts in seats. Adding Quintana and Robertson improves them at the major-league level. Robertson has a limited no-trade clause, so flipping him at the deadline for prospects the way the Yankees did Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman probably wouldn’t be as easy.

3.) Again: Acquiring talent is never a bad idea. The Yankees haven’t done anything to make anyone think they plan to tank in 2017. But signals so far have pointed to a cost-conscious offseason — save for the Aroldis Chapman deal — as the Yankees look to get under the luxury tax threshold next year if not this offseason. This move wouldn’t quite fall in line with that thinking, unless the Yankees can turn to Chicago or another team and have them take on salary, perhaps in the form of the contracts of Chase Headley or Brett Gardner.

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