MLB: Spring Training-Oakland Athletics at Chicago White Sox

Everybody knows what an ace looks like. Big numbers, big arm, big paycheck. There are more teams than aces as true number ones are few and far between.

The Chicago White Sox have one of those guys in Chris Sale. He’s big, weird, and really, really good. Their number two starter? Something of an unknown commodity in Jose Quintana. Unknown as he once was, Quintana is now rich as the ChiSox and the left-handed starter agreed to a five-year deal (with options) that could be worth $26 million.

The team posted the contract details to their facebook page (!):

If Quintana, 25, is eligible for arbitration following the 2014 season, the total guaranteed dollars would be $26.5 million. He would receive $850,000 in 2014, $3.4 million in 2015, $5.4 million in 2016, $7 million in 2017 and $8.85 million in 2018. The White Sox would hold options for 2019 at $10.5 million and for 2020 at $11.5 million. If either option is declined, Quintana would receive a $1.0-million buyout.

If Quintana is not eligible for arbitration after the 2014 season, the total guaranteed dollars would be $21.0 million. He would receive $850,000 in 2014, $1.0 million in 2015, $3.8 million in 2016, $6.0 million in 2017 and $8.35 million in 2018. The Sox would hold options for 2019 at $10.5 million and for 2020 at $11.5 million with a $1.0-million buyout.

Number two starters are a little bit different. They come in all sizes and shapes and go about their business in a variety of ways. Jose Quintana is a durable starter that the White Sox astutely snapped up as a minor league free agent. The company he keeps is pretty telling, making his deal look quite nice at the moment.

Number Two Starters – WAR Since 2012

Rk Player WAR Age IP ERA ERA+
1 Mat Latos 8.1 24-25 420.0 3.32 119
2 Gio Gonzalez 7.9 26-27 395.0 3.12 125
3 R.A. Dickey 7.8 37-38 458.1 3.46 114
4 Jose Quintana 7.8 23-24 336.1 3.61 118
5 Kris Medlen 7.8 26-27 335.0 2.47 158
6 Jhoulys Chacin 7.7 24-25 266.1 3.72 120
7 Bartolo Colon 7.7 39-40 342.2 2.99 127
8 Jered Weaver 7.7 29-30 343.0 3.02 126
9 Kyle Lohse 7.6 33-34 409.2 3.10 125
10 Zack Greinke 7.4 28-29 390.0 3.09 123
11 Doug Fister 7.4 28-29 370.1 3.57 118
12 Johnny Cueto 7.3 26-27 277.2 2.79 145
13 Adam Wainwright 7.3 30-31 440.1 3.39 109
14 Matt Harvey 6.9 23-24 237.2 2.39 152
15 James Shields 6.8 30-31 456.1 3.33 120
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 3/24/2014.

In his two seasons as a big league starter, Quintana shows a knack for pitching deep into games for a pretty bad club. He averaged more than six innings per start over 33 outings last year, posting a 3.51 ERA in a very cozy ballpark. He keeps the ball in the park by mixing in a good fastball, curve, cutter, and change to both righties and lefties.

All the White Sox need is for Quintana to keep plugging away. Six innings at a time. give them a chance to win every night. After three and four years, that sort of value really starts piling up, leaving the White Sox with a very nice deal for a guy who missed a year for failing a drug test and had to wonder where his career was headed after the 2011 season.