Which would you rather have: The Cubs rotation or White Sox farm system?
After the White Sox and Cubs agreed to a blockbuster deal in which the Cubs acquired the secret-ace Jose Quintana for a haul of prospects -- including Roy Hobbs-cosplayer Eloy Jimenez -- Chicago is set to be more powerful than ever before.
With the Cubs' young stars still fresh off a World Series title and the White Sox collecting top prospects like baseball cards, the two clubs look set to have a stranglehold over the rest of the league for the next decade.
But which would you prefer to have if you were a GM starting a team: The bolstered Cubs rotation or the White Sox dream cache of youth? Let's break it down.
Yes, the team has struggled this year, with its starters' ERA of 4.66 down from last year's 2.96 mark that was best in baseball, but who knows? Maybe they were tired from the World Series. Maybe the first half was just practice. After all, just look at the pedigree of the pitchers in the rotation:
Jake Arrieta: Won the NL Cy Young in 2015 and led the Majors in hits per nine last year.
Kyle Hendricks: Led the Majors with a 2.13 ERA in 2016.
Jon Lester: Went 19-5 with a 2.44 ERA last year, and he can even pick off runners now.
John Lackey: His 181 career victories are third among active starters, and his 3.03 ERA from 2015-16 ranked 11th -- .01 points behind Hendricks' mark of 3.02 in that time frame.
With ZiPS projecting every Cubs starter, including Quintana, to perform closer to their established norms, this is the kind of rotation that can match up with any in baseball -- including the Clayton Kershaw-led Dodgers and Corey Kluber-fronted Indians.
They practically own the Minor Leagues. Before the trade, they had MLB Pipeline's top prospect in the game with Yoan Moncada. They also had the 11th, 23rd, 28th, 36th, 59th and 68th ranked prospects (pitcher Michael Kopech, outfielder Luis Robert, pitcher Lucas Giolito, pitcher Reynaldo Lopez, pitcher Carson Fulmer and catcher Zack Collins, respectively).
That's the kind of system that has fans dreaming of a string of pennants hanging around the outfield. Now the team has added Jimenez. Not only is he ranked as the No. 8 prospect in baseball, but he regularly treats stadium lights as his personal destruction projects:
The White Sox also acquired the No. 63 prospect in starter Dylan Cease -- and all he's done is strike out over 12 batters per nine with a 2.54 ERA in three Minor League stops. Additionally, they've added two other Cubs prospects. That's a system not just filled with prospects, but overstuffed like Joey Chestnut after an eating contest.
Obviously, not every prospect reaches his ceiling. But some do.
It's hard to see Jimenez not at least crushing dingers at the big league level and Cease giving the White Sox a three-headed monster of future rotation stalwarts. With nine players in the Top 100 rankings, the White Sox could whiff on half of these players and still have the makings of a competitive ballclub.
Now then, it's up to you decide. If you were a GM starting a team today, would you want to start with the win-now rotation of the Cubs or bank on the future of the White Sox farm system?