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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Quintana, a secure piece for Cubs rotation

Por Fidel Orihuela

After winning the World Series in 2016 thus breaking their centenary curse, the Chicago Cubs could not repeat his feat in the 2017, even though they were fighting till the last day. One of them was the trade to acquire the left-handed pitcher from the Chicago White Sox, Jose Quintana, who was the first player to be traded by the two franchises from the Windy City in more than a decade.

The 29-year-old Colombian improved with the change. In the first half of 2017, he only got 4 wins in 18 games, with an ERA of 4.49, numbers that would get better when he started playing for the Cubs. With them, he got 7 wins in 14 games with ERA of 3.74, a substantial improvement that had to do with the player’s calmness on the mound. This has been confirmed by Quintana himself, who, in the present season, says that he feels more relaxed when he is training, without any distractions or rumors around him.

Last year Quintana was constantly linked to different possible trades, taking into account the reconstruction process that the White Sox were facing. It seems that all the comments did not allow him to focus on his job. “2017 was very complicated for me because every day I would hear something new about a possible trade”, said the starter to the media in Mesa, Arizona, where the Cubs face their spring training in 2018. “Now is different, I feel relaxed and really good. My mind is only focused on getting in the best shape possible to the opening of the season”, said the left-handed, which will be, presumably, the third starter pitcher after John Lester and the recently acquired Yu Darvish.

Beyond his undeniable qualities, his contract is another of the advantages that make him attractive for the Cubs management. The Colombian will receive 31 million for the next three years, a number that is a bargain in a market of elevated sums of money. “When we acquired Quintana we thought that his friendly contract would give us the opportunity of going after another good pitcher”, said Theo Epstein, general manager of the Chicago team, that won the race to obtain Yu Darvish from the free agents’ pool. These details have strengthened the trust between the club and the player, in this case, Quintana, assured in his new position and with ambitious goals, because in 2018 he will exceed the thousand strikeouts.