Pirates Get Decent Return In Trade of José Quintana, Chris Stratton

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The Pittsburgh Pirates traded José Quintana and Chris Stratton to the St. Louis Cardinals.  They received Johan Oviedo and Malcom Nunez in return.

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The Pittsburgh Pirates traded left-handed starter Jose Quintana and reliever Chris Stratton to the St. Louis Cardinals last night.  In return, the Pirates received right-handed pitcher Johan Oviedo and 1B/3B prospect, Malcom Nunez.  

To preface evaluating the return from the Cardinals, the following needs to be stated.  Quintana was on an expiring contract, is 33-years-old, and hasn't had a great full season of baseball since 2016.  Despite many thinking he'd be highly coveted, players with those characteristics are only going to receive so much in return.  Plus, the leverage lies outside of the organization since teams know the Pirates need to move him or risk losing Quintana to free agency in the offseason.  

Also, Chris Stratton being part of this deal is not something to get upset about.  Stratton, who will be 32-years-old by the end of 2022, has not been good all season.  He has a 5.09 ERA and is giving up a ton of hits.  Right-handed relievers of Stratton's calibers are legitimately a dime a dozen.  Don't get caught up in him being a sweetener to make this trade happen.

With all of that being said, I like the return the Pirates received from the Cardinals.  Even at just 24 years of age, Oviedo has major league experience and is having a good year.  His ERA sits at 3.20, and his xERA is even better at 3.07.  xERA attempts to credit the pitcher for the moment of contact, not for what might happen to that contact thanks to other factors like ballpark, weather, or defense.  I don't get too into advanced analytics, but it's worth noting that Oviedo isn't just getting lucky.

This is what we wanted Pirate fans.  Major league ready pitching for a bullpen that desperately needs it.  Oviedo provides that, and could even potentially be a back-end of the rotation starting pitcher in the future.  It's a great pick up, especially considering Oviedo has much more team control than Quintana.

I also like the addition of Malcom Nunez.  The Pirates first basemen cupboard continues to be bare, especially with prospect Mason Martin having a horrible 2022 season.  He is graded as a power bat, comparable to a young Daniel Vogelbach.  In AA this season, he's mashed 17 homeruns and collected 66 RBI with an .823 OPS.  Nunez instantly becomes the Pirates highest rated corner infield prospect at No. 11 according to Baseball America and MLB.com.  He is also just 21-years-old.  

Nunez reportedly does not play the field very well, and I hate sliding guys into the DH spot without giving them a real chance in the field, but the DH does exist now in the NL and we have to embrace that.  Also, we thought Oneil Cruz would be moved to the outfield or the DH role by now, but he has surprised us all by being an asset in the field at shortstop.  Nunez could do the same.

Despite many thinking there would be a bidding war for Quintana, this is a good return for the aging starter on an expiring contract.  And despite those wanting to poo-poo the trade because Stratton was also thrown in, let's be real.  We've wanted Stratton out of the bullpen since April.  Just because he was used in the trade doesn't mean the return should be evaluated any differently.  This was a good trade for both the Pirates and the Cardinals.  Don't let anyone tell you differently.