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Should the Cardinals Sign Jose Quintana?

Jose Quintana photo credit: Jeff Curry/USA Today Sports

There have been some reports that the St. Louis Cardinals have interest in re-signing LHP Jose Quintana this offseason. And while the lefty veteran was a quality pickup for Cardinals at the trade deadline last season, I’m skeptical that bringing him back should be a priority but am open to it.

Don’t get me wrong, in 62.2 innings (12 starts) for the Cardinals, Quintana went 3-2 with a 2.01 ERA with 48 strikeouts & 16 walks while solidifying the rotation. Last season John Mozeliak & company acquired Quintana and relief pitcher Chris Stratton from the Pittsburgh Pirates and sent SP Johan Oviedo & INF Malcolm Nunez in return.

The Cardinals also landed LHP Jordan Montgomery at the deadline in a deal with the New York Yankees for OF Harrison Bader.

All three pitchers were impactful for St. Louis and did their part in helping the Cardinals win the National League Central Division. But looking at the team’s rotation heading into 2023, I question whether there’s a true fit for Quintana.

Miles Mikolas photo credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Mozeliak has stated that the team already has six starters figuring to be in the mix with Miles Mikolas, Jack Flaherty, Adam Wainwright, Jordan Montgomery, Steven Matz & Dakota Hudson. I fully expect Matz to get the fifth spot in the rotation and Hudson moved to a long relief role in the bullpen (at least to start the season).

However, there is the concern that entering 2023, Miles Mikolas is in the last year of his contract, both Jack Flaherty & Jordan Montgomery are in their final year of arbitration and Adam Wainwright is set to retire at the end of the season. But that looks to be a concern more heading into next season than this one.

Andre Pallante photo credit: John Fisher/Getty Images

Where I get even more conflicted though, is not only do the Cardinals have those options at starter this season, but also young pitchers like Andre Pallante, Zack Thompson & Matthew Liberatore who could slot into the rotation. Jordan Hicks got a few starts in place of Jack Flaherty last season, and (while not ideal options) both Packy Naughton & Drew VerHagen are still with the club.

Looking at the current number of potential starters to go along with the locks, make a reunion with Quintana seem even less likely to me. Granted, there’s not necessarily a bonafide ace at the top of the rotation, but is Jose Quintana that guy? No. Could he lengthen the rotation & lighten the workload? I think so.

Jose Quintana photo credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Quintana is entering his age 34 season, and while last season he combined for a 6-7 record, 2.93 ERA with 137 strikeouts in 165.2 innings between Pittsburgh & St. Louis, there’s the chance he regresses more to his 2021 season totals where in just 29 games (10 starts) he went 0-3 with a 6.43 ERA in 63 innings.

If the Cardinals did sign Quintana, they could have that extra arm heading into the season, in case injuries happen. And looking at the last few seasons, the injury bug is almost expected. If all arms on board would be healthy, you could see one of either Matz or Quintana joining Hudson in the bullpen, and really giving the relief core a boost.

Jose Quintana photo via

I’ve seen some places projecting Quintana to get a 2-year deal in the range of $12M-$15M AAV, and while that wouldn’t exactly break the bank for St. Louis, it could get in the way of spending for upgrades on offense.

But, then I go over what the offensive upgrades would be. And unless the Cardinals are more interested in the top four available shortstops on the market than they are leading on, then the only targets I see them in on are the free agent catchers.

If that’s Christian Vasquez or Omar Narvaez, then I see the Cardinals having no problem taking a 2-year flier for Quintana at the projected contract.

Willson Contreras & Jose Quintana photo via NBC

If that’s Willson Contreras and his expected AAV of $18.75M - $20M in a 4 or 5 year deal, then (on paper) I would have doubts on the Cardinals pursuing both. That being said, Quintana & Contreras were former teammates with the Chicago Cubs, and apparently Contreras had reached out to him about what playing in St. Louis was like. Quintana gave some positive feedback about his time with the Cardinals.

The connection between the two, might be reason to consider bringing Quintana into the fold if the Cardinals do sign Contreras. But again when looking at dollar amount, those would likely be the only two moves made and be more salary than St. Louis is expected to take on this season.

Jose Quintana photo credit: Jeff Curry/USA Today Sports

Regardless, in looking at the market and the value that teams are putting on pitching, it might not hurt for the Cardinals to entertain signing Quintana. It may seem like a “better safe than sorry” type of move, but if the current rotation doesn’t hold up, they’d have an arm in-house without seeking a bandaid during the next trade deadline.

What say you, Cardinals Nation? Would you open to the front office bringing Jose Quintana back on a 2-year deal? Let us know in the comments and as always, thanks for reading.

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