The White Sox have traded pitcher Jose Quintana to the Cubs in exchange for four minor leaguers, including the Cubs’ two top prospects, the White Sox announced Thursday.
The White Sox acquire power-hitting outfielder Eloy Jimenez, pitcher Dylan Cease, first baseman Matt Rose and middle infielder Bryant Flete.
Quintana, 28, is under contract for the next three seasons at an average of just over $10 million per year. He had spent his entire six-year MLB career with the White Sox, developing in the team’s top pitcher behind Chris Sale. When Sale was traded to the Red Sox last winter, Quintana quickly became a trade target himself.
White Sox GM Rick Hahn said Thusday he negotiated with Theo Epstein during All-Star festivities in semi-secrecy.
In 18 starts this season, Quintana has a 4.49 ERA and 1.323 WHIP, worse than his career averages. He is, however, averaging a career-high 9.4 strikeouts per nine innings.
The Cubs were looking to bolster their rotation after Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta have failed to recapture last year’s form. John Lackey, Kyle Hendricks and Brett Anderson are all on the disabled list, as well. The defending world champs are currently 5 1/2 games behind the Brewers for first place in the National League Central.
Jimenez and Cease are No. 1 and No. 2 on MLB.com’s list of Cubs prospects. Rose and Flete are not among the top 30.
Jimenez, a 20-year-old corner outfielder, is ranked as the No. 8 prospect in all of baseball by MLB.com and No. 5 by Baseball America. He broke a stadium floodlight with a home run during Carolina League all-star festivities.
Cease, 21, is a 21-year-old with a fastball in the mid- to upper-90s. He is averaging 12.9 strikeouts per nine in 13 starts for Class A South Bend this year.