The Cubs announced Wednesday that they’ve exercised their $10.5MM club option over left-hander Jose Quintana and claimed left-handed reliever Jerry Vasto off waivers from the Royals organization. It’s the first of two options that the Cubs hold on Quintana, who’ll turn 30 in January. Chicago also has an $11.5MM option on the lefty for the 2020 season.
While Quintana may not have performed at quite the level the Cubs had hoped, picking up his option was a flat no-brainer, as even in a “down” season (by his standards), he turned in 174 1/3 innings of 4.03 ERA ball with 8.2 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and 1.29 HR/9 with a 43.2 percent ground-ball rate. Durable and largely consistent year over year, Quintana took the ball on 32 occasion for the Cubs, marking his sixth consecutive season with 32 or more games started. Even if he doesn’t return to the peak form he showed with the White Sox, having Quintana on a one-year deal with an affordable club option for the 2020 season is still quite a nice value for the Cubs.
Vasto, 26, made his MLB debut with the Rockies in 2018 but appeared in just one game and tossed only two-thirds of an inning before being traded to Kansas City in exchange for backup catcher Drew Butera. Vasto was hit hard in his first season of Triple-A duty in 2017 but has turned in considerably more promising results with Colorado’s top affiliate in 2018: a 3.16 ERA, 10.7 K/9, 4.4 BB/9, 0.73 HR/9 and a 43.5 percent ground-ball rate in 37 innings. The southpaw tossed just one scoreless inning with Kansas City’s Triple-A club before joining the Major League bullpen, where he allowed one earned run with three strikeouts and one walk in 3 2/3 innings of work.