José Quintana signs 2-year deal with Mets

December 9th, 2022

The Mets announced Friday night that they have signed José Quintana to a two-year contract, and a source with knowledge of the deal said it's worth $26 million.

The deal gives the Mets a starting five of Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Quintana, Carlos Carrasco and either David Peterson or Tylor Megill. And the team may not be done shopping in that department. The Mets have been heavily linked to Japanese starter Kodai Senga, who would slot after Scherzer and Verlander if New York is able to sign him, potentially giving the club a trove of rotation depth.

“Over the last decade, José has been one of the most dependable starting pitchers in the majors,” Mets general manager Billy Eppler said. “Adding another left-handed option to our rotation, especially one with his durability, experience, and moxie, will give our starting staff quality depth.”

Quintana is coming off a resurgent 2022 season, going from a $2 million deal with the Pirates in November ’21 to starting Game 1 of the National League Wild Card Series for the Cardinals 11 months later. In between, the veteran left-hander recorded a 2.93 ERA with 137 strikeouts over 165 2/3 innings, including a 2.01 ERA in 12 starts after Pittsburgh sent him to St. Louis in a four-player Trade Deadline deal. It was a strong bounce-back for a pitcher who recorded a 5.13 ERA in 244 innings from 2019-21 with the Cubs, Angels and Giants.

A native of Arjona, Colombia, Quintana earned his lone All-Star selection with the White Sox in 2016, the last in a streak of four straight 200-inning seasons. He produced a 3.35 ERA over that span. More than anything, Quintana offers a consistent source of innings for a club badly in need of them. In addition to his run of 200-inning seasons, Quintana has mustered at least 165 innings eight times in the past 10 years.

The most pressing issue surrounding Quintana is his age, particularly within the context of the Mets’ rotation. Quintana will be 34 on Opening Day. Verlander will be 40, Scherzer will be 38 and Carrasco will be 36. No team since 1900 has received more than 115 starts from starting pitchers aged 34 or older. (The last team to receive even 105 starts from pitchers that old was the 2006 Mets, featuring Tom Glavine, Steve Trachsel, Orlando Hernández and Pedro Martínez.)

Much like that group, these are no ordinary pitchers. Scherzer, Verlander and Quintana each started Game 1 of his respective team’s playoff run last season, making the Mets the first team to collect three such starters on the same roster.

It’s one of many factors giving the Mets confidence that their elder statesmen can continue to produce. Beyond them, Peterson and Megill represent younger rotation options, as do 20-somethings Elieser Hernández and Joey Lucchesi. And New York could still supplement the rotation with additional depth, including Senga as one prominent possibility.

“I feel pretty good about where it is right now, but still open to adding more,” Eppler said before leaving the Winter Meetings. “I want to be opportunistic. If we can continue to add impact wherever it is -- whether it’s on the mound or whether it’s in the field -- we want to stay open to that.”