The Cardinals are finalizing a deal to acquire starter Jose Quintana from the Pirates, according to Jeff Pasan of ESPN ( Twitter link ). St. Louis is on the hunt for additions to their starting rotation, and is in agreement to add an intra-division opponent.
Quintana was an obvious trade candidate because he is a free agent on a Pittsburgh club that has no chance of reaching the postseason in 2022. Worrying about taking him to a class rival.
The Cards hit the market for high-impact weapons, with former Oakland outfielder Frankie Montas reportedly a prime target. Once the A’s dealt Montas to the Yankees, the Cards appeared to have a low-cost, veteran stabilizer behind the starting staff. Quintana is no longer the average swing arm he was in his prime, the kind of pitcher a club targets to start a playoff game. However, after struggling in 2021, he had a great season in Pittsburgh.
Quintana made 20 starts for the Pirates, working to a 3.50 ERA. He averaged a hair over five innings, striking out 103 frames on the season. The sheltered role — which limited Pittsburgh’s exposure to opposing lineups for the third time in a start — has helped the veteran southpaw, but his production has been good in moderation. Quintana’s 20.6% is slightly below average, but he’s sparked signs of swinging on his solid 11.2% delivery. He averaged more than 45% of his batters’ groundouts — a trait that’s noteworthy to the Cards’ front office given the team’s strong infield defense — and walked just 7.2% of opponents.
Adding Quintana would see a rotation that has been plagued by a couple notable injuries in recent weeks. Jack Flaherty will be out until at least August after battling renewed shoulder concerns. Offseason signee Steven Mats, meanwhile, tore the MCL in his left knee and could miss the rest of the season. While he’s not officially out for the year, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak recently told Derek Gold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that it would be “very, very hard” to get him back on the mound in 2022.
The Cardinals will add Quintana to a rotation that includes Adam Wainwright, Dakota Hudson, Miles Mikolas and rookie Andre Palante. The Cards have Matthew Liberatore as a depth option, but he’s been on the active roster all year. Pallante, on the other hand, had a good season in the bullpen. Despite a promising postseason return from Flaherty, the Cardinals could still look to pick up another rotation in addition to Quintana.
It’s an affordable gambit for the Cardinals, as the 33-year-old is only guaranteed $2MM this season. The final few months of that deal won’t have much of an impact on St. Louis’ payroll outlook for the rest of the year.
More to come.