Eloy ‘Big Papi’ Jimenez? Let debate begin over who won Quintana trade

ORLANDO, Fla. — No one on either side of town is claiming victory four months after the trade in which the White Sox sent coveted starter Jose Quintana to the Cubs for four minor-leaguers, including the Cubs’ two top prospects.

But if the sentiments from the teams — especially the Sox — continue at this rate, the debate could rage for years.

At one point Tuesday, Sox general manager Rick Hahn was so enthused about the first impressions of slugging prospect Eloy Jimenez that he entertained a question comparing his personality/performance potential to that of David Ortiz, who helped lead the Red Sox to three World Series championships in a 10-year span.

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Eloy Jimenez

‘‘That’s possible,’’ Hahn said. ‘‘I don’t like putting too big a name on guys. Let’s let him be the first Eloy Jimenez instead of the next David
Ortiz. That said, if he can match him from a ring standpoint, that’d be a nice standard to emulate going forward.’’

Jimenez, 21, is ranked among the top five prospects in baseball and might have a chance to debut with the Sox in 2018.

Ortiz

‘‘Eloy, from a personality standpoint, work-ethic standpoint, intelligence standpoint, has surpassed what we had seen on paper from what our scouts were able to put together on his background when we acquired him,’’ Hahn said.

Hahn said he also has been impressed with 100-mph right-hander Dylan Cease, who has an even better breaking ball and is in the Sox’ plans for a future role in the championship rotation they envision.

‘‘Eloy and Dylan were essential to [closing the deal],’’ Hahn said.

Quintana

The Cubs think they gave up a lot to get the kind of pitcher who figures to be a key part of their rotation. Quintana is the sixth-ranked starter in the majors the last three seasons in wins above replacement and is under contract control for the next three.

‘‘We don’t make the playoffs last [season] without Quintana,’’ Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. ‘‘So he was a big factor for us, and he’s going to be a big factor for us going forward.

‘‘Pitching is expensive, that’s the bottom line. But we’re thrilled with what Quintana brings to us, both as a person and as a pitcher and contractually.’’

Follow me on Twitter @GDubCub.

Email: gwittenmyer@suntimes.com