ORLANDO, Fla. – Nobody on either side of town is claiming victory four months after the shocking blockbuster trade that sent coveted starter Jose Quintana to the Cubs for the Cubs’ top two prospects among four minor leaguers.
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 – on and off the field – that he entertained a question comparing his personality-performance potential to beloved Red Sox star David ‘Big Papi’ Ortiz, who helped lead Boston to three World Series championships in 10 years.
“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’s be a nice standard to emulate going forward.”
Jimenez, 21, is one of baseball’s top-five-ranked prospects and might have a chance to debut next season.
“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.
He also also has been impressed with 100-mph pitcher Dylan Cease, who has an even better breaking ball and remains in the South Siders’ plans for a future role in the championship rotation they envision.
“Eloy and Dylan were essential to [closing the deal],” Hahn said.
The Cubs feel they gave up a lot to get the kind of pitcher who figures to be a key part of their next competitive core. 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 GM 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.”
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