Cards add SP depth with deal for Quintana

August 2nd, 2022

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals fortified their starting rotation with a much-needed left-hander on Monday night, finalizing a trade with the Pirates for 33-year-old southpaw José Quintana and righty reliever Chris Stratton.

Quintana, an 11-year MLB veteran, was 3-5 with a 3.50 ERA in 20 starts for the Pirates this season. In 103 innings, he struck out 89 batters and walked 31. Throughout his well-traveled career, Quintana has pitched for the White Sox, Cubs, Angels, Giants and Pirates.

To get Quintana, the Cardinals surrendered a pair of Cuba natives in 6-foot-5 right-handed pitcher Johan Oviedo and 21-year-old third base/first base prospect Malcom Nuñez, who is ranked as the No. 10 prospect in the Cardinals’ system by MLB Pipeline and has hit .255 with 17 home runs and 66 RBI this season at Double-A Springfield. Oviedo, who captured his first MLB win this season after making 19 straight starts with either a loss or a no-decision over the previous three years, had been used out of the bullpen in recent weeks by the Cardinals. The Cards designated catcher Austin Romine for assignment in a corresponding move.

Quintana will slot into the Cardinals’ rotation in place of left-handed starter Steven Matz, who isn’t expected to pitch again this season after tearing the medial collateral ligament in his left knee on July 23 in Cincinnati. The Cardinals signed Matz to a four-year, $44 million free-agent deal in the offseason in an attempt to bring some balance to their righty-heavy starting staff.

Quintana, a free agent at season’s end, has generated a 45 percent ground-ball rate this season -- something the Cardinals covet with five 2021 Gold Glove defenders on their roster. The Cardinals rank first in the Majors in double plays.

Without Jack Flaherty and Matz for much of the season, the Cardinals have been using a four-man rotation since the All-Star break, and were able to do so because of two off-days on the schedule. However, with the Cubs and Yankees set to visit St. Louis the next six nights for two three-game series, the Cardinals need to add depth to their starting staff prior to Tuesday’s 5 p.m. CT Trade Deadline.

Stratton, 31, has posted a 4.61 ERA over seven Major League seasons and is under club control through 2023.

The Cardinals are still in the market for starting-pitching depth and have been heavily rumored to be contemplating a blockbuster trade for Nationals superstar outfielder Juan Soto. The Cardinals have one of baseball’s most star-studded farm systems, headlined by the Majors' No. 6 prospect, Jordan Walker, per MLB Pipeline.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Walker hit four home runs in a three-day stretch this past weekend at Double-A, and in 80 games, he’s slashed .305/.390/.514 while racking up 24 doubles, 12 home runs and 44 RBIs. Over his last 162 Minor League games at Palm Beach, Peoria and Springfield, Walker has 49 doubles, 26 home runs and 84 RBIs.