Sox Lock Up Jose Quintana

MLB: Chicago White Sox at New York Yankees

And my love of White Sox general manager Rick Hahn just continues to grow thanks to an unexpected announcement the team made on Monday morning.

The team has signed Jose Quintana to a five year extension that guarantees him no more than $26.5 million. The deal also has options for $10.5 million in 2019 and $11.5 million in 2020.

“Jose quickly has established himself as a quality major-league starting pitcher, and along with Chris Sale, we expect him to be an important piece of our rotation for the foreseeable future,” said Hahn in the press release. “Jose brings a tremendous work ethic and professionalism to his approach, and he is well respected by his teammates, so we are excited to be able to reward him for what he has accomplished thus far in his career and possibly keep him in a White Sox uniform for the next seven seasons.”

Now, this is all great. If Quintana pitches well enough over the next five seasons to earn those options at the end, the $22 million for those two seasons would be more than worth it. It also means he’d have made $48.5 million over the course of the seven years, or an average of $6.93 million per season. Which, for a pitcher that was worth 5.4 bWAR in his first full season in the Majors last season, is an absolute steal. Not along the same lines of the deal Hahn gave to Chris Sale, but still an impressive feat.

And I don’t bring up Sale by accident. I’ve written about how Sale’s deal may be the greatest thing Hahn ever does with the White Sox, but now that he’s added Quintana to the mix it’s hard not to be thrilled.

Sale and Quintana were worth a combined 12.3 bWAR last season. Pitchers are volatile creatures, so to assume both perform up to those levels in each season of their deals would be foolish, but the fact is they don’t have to in order to earn their deals. Sale is signed through 2019, so if we combine their two contracts until then the White Sox will end up spending an average of $17.525 million on their top two starters for the next six seasons.

Detroit reportedly offered Max Scherzer $24 million a season for six years. He said no.

The Tigers have already given Justin Verlander $180 million for seven years.

The Dodgers gave Clayton Kershaw $215 million, or $30.7 million a season.

What I’m trying to say is aces don’t come cheap, yet here are the White Sox with their own ace and a solid second starter for slightly more than half the price of one ace. That’s pretty damn good.

Sure, it’s not nearly as good when you remember that John Danks will still be making $14.25 million this year and for the next two seasons, but LA LA LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU LA LA LA.

But that Danks deal should be mentioned here, because even if it did seem a bit risky when completed, it wasn’t seen as a bad deal at the time. It’s become one since because Danks, as tends to happen with pitchers, has had health problems since. So now the contract is a bit of an anchor that affects what the Sox can do, and they can just hope he returns to the form that earned him the deal.

The deals for Sale and Quintana, however, aren’t nearly as risky. Yes, should either of them get hurt, or their performance levels just fall off a cliff, it would suck, but neither deal would be an anchor on the Sox payroll as a whole. It wouldn’t keep the team from doing anything.

And should both keep performing like they have been, it gives Hahn and the White Sox the flexibility to do so much more.

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