By Jared Lankes
The Pirates have re-upped with starting pitcher Ivan Nova on a very nice three-year deal worth $26 million, according to reports. This puts the Pirates projected rotation with Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, Ivan Nova, Chad Kuhl, and a battle for the last spot between Tyler Glasnow, Steven Brault, Trevor Williams, and Drew Hutchison. Even with this, the Pirates are reportedly still trying hard to land White Sox star lefty Jose Quintana. In my opinion, the Pirates have to find a way to land Quintana for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, it would make the rotation lethal. You tell me how many rotations would be better than Cole, Quintana, Taillon, Nova, Kuhl (assuming Glasnow goes in Quintana deal) and maybe eventually Nick Kingham. There aren’t many rotations that would boast better. It would make the Pirates a force in the NL all of a sudden and might even put the team around or even over 2015 levels when they won 98 games. Combined that with the current bullpen and lineup, and the team might end up being a major threat to anyone, even the Cubs.
Secondly, Quintana would provide the Pirates with security. Cole missed most of 2016 with injuries and it is up in the air if that will be an issue down the road again. Also, Taillon has been injury prone. Combined this with the fact that the young pitchers will be watched carefully, Quintana would give the Pirates a big-time steady arm. Quintana is as good as an ace and would be great security in case something would happen to Cole or Taillon. He is also a workhorse, having pitched over 200 innings each of the last four years. This would help the bullpen that could be taxed more when the youngsters start because they are being monitored closely. Quintana can step in and give you six or seven strong innings much more often than not. He’s as consistent as they come.
Any way you slice it, Quintana would be a great get for the Pirates but not just out of luxury but rather out of necessity perhaps. Getting Quintana makes the rotation top notch while also being able to cover the Pirates in case of injuries to their other top starters. The rotation was obviously worse off without Cole in 2016 when they leaned heavily on Taillon, Kuhl, and eventually Nova. Getting Quintana can alleviate some of the pressure should such a thing happen again.