Quintana, Astros a match that makes sense

White Sox hurler would give Houston formidable playoff rotation

Quintana, Astros a match that makes sense

HOUSTON -- White Sox pitcher Jose Quintana makes too much sense for the Astros, which is why we're predicting Houston will be able to pull off a deal for the workhorse pitcher this offseason.

The Astros have said they're unwilling to part with their core of young players, a group that includes Alex Bregman and George Springer, but they have the prospects to pull off a significant trade. Whether the White Sox can be persuaded to trade the 27-year-old pitcher is another story.

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Sure, the Astros could be content rolling into this season with a rotation that includes Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers, Collin McHugh, Mike Fiers, Joe Musgrove and/or Charlie Morton, with hopes Keuchel and McCullers can stay healthy. That's pretty much the same rotation that got them to the postseason in 2015.

On paper, the Red Sox, with former American League Cy Young Award winners Rick Porcello and David Price and perennial contender Chris Sale, and the Indians, led by Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, Josh Tomlin and Trevor Bauer, have deeper starting pitching than the Astros, which is why Houston is working so diligently to add a starter. The Astros beefed up their offense by adding Carlos Beltran, Josh Reddick and Brian McCann, giving them perhaps the best offense in the AL, and adding another impact starting pitcher would boost their pennant chances.

Why Quintana?

The White Sox appear ready to move him. He will be in the third year of a five-year, $26.5-million deal, so it's a friendly contract that includes team options in 2019-20. Quintana has made at least 32 starts for the last four years, throwing 200 innings or more each season. He's 46-46 in his career, but he has a 3.41 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. He has walked 244 batters and struck out 781 in 951 innings.

Quintana to Astros?

If the Astros reach the postseason, a rotation of Keuchel, Quintana, McCullers and McHugh could match up against anyone considering the offense the club will have. The Astros are in win-now mode and know their window to contend is wide open.

After years of agonizing rebuilding, the team is finally spending money and could be just one arm away from having a solid shot at returning to the World Series for the first time in a decade. Quintana could be the pitcher to push the Astros over the top. Who's ready to deal?

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.