Like the five-year, potentially $26.5 million deal Jose Quintana agreed to Monday, Santos' deal was littered with club options and was viewed to be an exceedingly team-friendly deal for an exciting young talent.This is the same headline I used way back when Sergio Santos signed his contract extension right after the end of the 2011 season.
But while analysis tends to focus on what a bargain a nine-figure organization got on a young player seemingly destined to be worth more, both of these cases involved a player experiencing a rapid, startling and entirely unanticipated rise to prominence. Like Sergio Santos when he was frantically switching positions in order to find a way to stick, Jose Quintana likely wasn't spending a lot of time mulling over his free agency strategy three years ago as much as he was looking for the next organization that would give him a chance.
$26.5 million, or even $21.5 million if he does not become a Super-Two, represents an unthinkable level of financial security for a player who's stared too long into the abyss to possibly be accused of caving in easy.
Which is good, because the sense that the White Sox are whistling to themselves at the ATM otherwise permeates the story. At an average annual value of $5.3 million, the Sox are paying Quintana back-end starter money, and a total sum he could claim to have earned by the 2015 All-Star Break.
By buying out Quintana's arbitration years, the Sox are taking the risk of being out of some money if he completely flames out. With the rate they're paying him and the reasonable club options they hold for 2019 ($10.5 million) and 2020 ($11.5 million), they are in a position to get a steal if Quintana stays any good at all.
In theory, the White Sox have the two hardest parts of a pitching staff locked away for the rest of the decade, which is the kind of imposing stability that perennial playoff contenders flex. From a liability perspective, neither Sale nor Quintana blowing up have the potential to be even as disastrous as a single Adam Dunn, not that any of us are up for re-living that.
Not that it should matter, but it seems all the more remarkable that this shrewd deal came forward after a winter of talk of Quintana being curiously untouchable, praise for his make-up and the usual outward signifiers of a team making their own valuation of a player removed from the actual indications of the market. Despite this, Quintana emerges from his extension more valuable than ever.
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