The White Sox announced that they've managed to lock up yet another young arm, signing lefty Jose Quintana to a five-year extension. It's a deal with a few different looks, as the total value depends on whether Quintana is eligible for arbitration or not by the end of the 2014 campaign, but if things go his way and the White Sox end up picking up both club options tacked on to the end of the five-year pact, Quintana's take home would be $48.5 million.
In short, the value of 2015 through 2018 pays Quintana the difference of a few million dollars depending on his arbitration status following this season. So long as he isn't sent down to the minors because his career started going in the wrong direction, he'll be arbitration-eligible for 2015, netting him the guaranteed $26.5 million instead of the non-arb-eligible $21 million payout. With either setup, the option years for 2019 and 2020 are valued at $10.5 million and $11.5 million, with $1 million buyouts for each. With both options picked up, we're talking either $43 million or $48.5 million over seven years for Quintana, with an average annual value for the guaranteed years of either $4.2 million on the low end and $5.3 million on the high end.
That's an outright steal for a pitcher with Quintana's numbers during his first two years in the majors, in which he produced a 118 ERA+ overall while reaching the 200-inning threshold last season. He came basically out of nowhere following releases from both the Mets and Yankees before he was even 22 years old to fill a gaping hole in the White Sox rotation, and showed he was more than a one-year wonder by upping his strikeout rate, increasing his per-start workload, and finishing as one of just 36 starters (out of 296 to start a game) to register at least 200 innings in 2014.
Given his abilities, that's a low cost for the White Sox to pay, yet it's also a whole lot of money for Quintana, who now doesn't need to worry about dealing with arbitration and can instead start to see some guaranteed funds roll in even if he ends up hurt or less effective. The thing is, this isn't an isolated event for the White Sox: they locked up another lefty, Chris Sale, just last year, and did so for a similarly total that was friendly to both player and team.
Sale's deal is for five years and $32.5 million guaranteed, with a pair of options for the 2018 and 2019 seasons totaling another $26 million with room for multi-million dollar boosts for 2019's depending on how the preceding years pan out. If Sale, one of the game's best pitchers, and Quintana, who very well could be a productive number two starter given his production and durability thus far, are both on the club in 2018, it will cost the White Sox just $21.35 million total. That's excellent considering it should have been a free agent year for both arms. The story is much the same for the 2019 season, when Sale could be paid up to $16 million, while Quintana would make $10.5 million if his option is also picked up. When you consider that the pitching market continues to explode for free agents to the point that Tim Lincecum signed a two-year, $35 million deal after being horrible at his job for two seasons, the value of Sale's and Quintana's deals shines through even more.
The White Sox aren't quite ready to compete just yet, but moves like these only serve to bring them closer.