If the White Sox deal from a strength and decide to trade Jose Quintana during the offseason, the void that will be left in the starting rotation will be huge.
Quintana, who pitched seven innings of one-run ball in the White Sox’ 4-2 loss to the Oakland A’s Thursday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field, has been steady, durable, reliable — and most of all, good — since he became a starter in 2012.
He’s also young (26), is under team control with a contract that will pay have $5.4 million next season, $7 million in 2017 and $8.85 million in ’18 with club options for $10.5 million in 2019 and $11.5 million in 2020.
That’s a lot of bang for the buck, thanks to a shrewd deal negotiated by general manager Rick Hahn two spring trainings ago. It’s a contract that should sweeten a trade return for Quintana, and also make the GM make sure he gets plenty in return should he see the need to add to the club’s lacking position-player inventory.
Without Quintana, the Sox would likely still have two lefthanded stalwarts for years to come in Chris Sale (26) and Carlos Rodon (22). Lefty John Danks (30) is also under contract for another season.
Without Quintana, they would no longer have the services of one of baseball’s top left-handers. He’ll pitch 200 innings for the third consecutive year, and his ERA’s his four seasons are 3.76, 3.51, 3.32 and 3.45. How remarkable is that consistent quality?
“We know he’s a good pitcher,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. “You don’t question that at all. Whether he’s going to get some run support, that’s the other question.’’
A lack of it has given Quintana 50 career no-decisions, the most in the majors during that span. He was in line to win for the 10th time Sunday, but closer David Robertson gave up a three-run homer to Billy Butler in the ninth inning.
“He’s one of the hardest workers on this team,’’ said Robertson, “furious” with himself for blowing the save. “He gets a quality start almost every time he takes the ball [23 this season]. You can’t say enough about the guy.’’
The Colombia-born Quintna, one of the most well-liked players in the clubhouse for his workmanline approach and team-guy attitude, just grins and bears it.
He said he never gets down, and that he wasn’t aware the no-decision tally was at 50 until a reporter told him.
“I never feel bad luck,’’ he said. “It’s part of the game, it happens. Try to continue. Sometime that’ll change.’’
It’s to the point where Ventura has had enough of the Quintana story line.
“I mean, you get tired of talking about it,’’ Ventura said.
“Going out there, he’s the same every day, he brings it every day. He’s just very consistent about how he goes about his work, how he pitches, attitude, all that stuff that you’d like to see he does that every day. He doesn’t hang his head on things like this, he knows guys are out there trying.’’
Mike Olt, playing first base with Jose Abreu getting a rare day off after a night game, hit his second home run in two games, a 443-foot blast to left, and Melky Cabrera singled against A’s starter Sean Nolin in the fourth inning to break a 1-1 tie.
All Quintana gave up scoring wise was an RBI single to former Sox Marcus Semien in the third that plated Josh Phegley, who led off the inning with a double. The A’s had two other hits against Quintana, who struck out six and walked one while lowering his ERA to 2.72 over his last six starts.
“The key for me is preparation, preparation before all starts,’’ Quintana said. “I try to stay strong and my arm feels really good.’’
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