The Pirates have agreed to a deal with left-hander Jose Quintana, according to FanSided’s Robert Murray (Twitter link). MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that Quintana’s contract is a one-year, Major League pact, and Jason Mackey of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Quintana will earn around $2M (both links to Twitter). The signing will become official once Quintana passes a physical. Quintana is represented by the Wasserman Agency.
Quintana was one of the more durable and generally solid starters in baseball from 2012-19, when the southpaw pitched for the White Sox and Cubs. However, thumb injuries and lat inflammation limited Quintana to only 10 innings for the Cubs in 2020, and he also spent about three weeks on the injured list this past season due to shoulder inflammation. That IL stint was only one of the issues Quintana faced in 2021, after he signed a one-year, $8M deal with the Angels last winter.
The left-hander had only a 6.75 ERA over 53 1/3 innings in Anaheim, and then a 4.66 ERA over 9 2/3 innings with the Giants after being claimed off waivers at the end of August. It all worked out to a 6.43 ERA as a whole over 63 frames, though Quintana’s SIERA (3.94) and xFIP (3.75) were more than respectable. A 3.78 BABIP may be the standout statistic in that regard, as Quintana received very little help from the Angels’ poor defense.
Batted-ball luck wasn’t the only culprit to blame for Quintana’s numbers, however. He allowed a ton of hard contact and his 11.8% walk rate was easily the highest of his career. On the flip side, Quintana’s 28.6% strikeout rate was also the highest of his career, and his whiff rate was well above the league average. Quintana was also quite a bit more effective as a reliever than as a starter last year, as the Angels moved him to the bullpen in the wake of his rotation struggles. This could hint at a new direction for Quintana as he enters his age-33 season, or at least a fallback option for the Pirates if Quintana doesn’t produce as a starter.
Given Pittsburgh’s need for starting pitching, it seems likely that the Bucs will use Quintana in their rotation to begin the year and hope that he can regain some of his pre-2020 form as a reliable innings-eater. The Pirates don’t have much big league experience in their projected starting five, and the team surely wants to avoid a repeat of 2021, when a plethora of injuries and trades resulted in the Bucs having to dig deep into their depth chart to cover starts. Should Quintana pitch well, Pittsburgh could also dangle him as a trade chip at the deadline.