Cardinals Acquire Pitchers Quintana and Stratton from Bucs

photo: Jose Quintana (Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports)

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals announced tonight (Monday, August 1) that they have acquired veteran left-handed pitcher José Quintana and right-handed reliever Chris Stratton from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for right-handed pitcher Johan Oviedo and minor league infielder Malcom Nuñez.

José Quintana

Quintana, 33, is a veteran of 11 Major League seasons, appearing with the White Sox (2012-17), Cubs (2017-20), Angels (2021), Giants (2021) and Pirates (2022).

The 6-1, 220-pound Colombia native owns a career mark of 86-85, 3.81 ERA in 303 games (277 starts) since debuting in 2012.

Quintana is 3-5 with a 3.50 ERA in his 20 starts for the Pirates this season, and ranks among N.L. pitching leaders in groundball pct. (45.6), WHIP (1.27) and fewest HR/9 IP (0.61).  His 103.0 innings pitched currently rank 10th among N.L. lefties.

Quintana’s 2016 season led to an American League All-Star selection and 10th place finish in A.L. Cy Young voting after going 13-12 with a 3.20 ERA for the White Sox.

Chris Stratton

Stratton, 31, has appeared in 40 games for the Pirates this season, going 5-4 in his 40.2 innings or work with two saves.  The 6-2, 200-pound Mississippi native has pitched in seven seasons with San Francisco (2016-18), Los Angeles Angels (2019) and Pirates (2020-22).

Stratton has a career mark of 30-23 with a 4.61 ERA and 11 saves in 218 games (42 starts).

Austin Romine

The Cardinals also announced that they have designated catcher Austin Romine for assignment and will announce additional moves tomorrow.

Brian Walton’s take

Though this is an interdivision trade, the last-place rebuilding Pirates and the contending Cardinals have been in very different places in recent years.

The Cardinals are trading futures for proven MLB arms who can contribute immediately. Immediate impact will be important as Quintana will be a free agent following the season. Stratton will have his final arbitration year in 2023 before reaching free agency.

While Oviedo and Nuñez are good players, they are not expected to be future MLB stars. Interestingly, both are natives of Cuba.

Quintana is well known to the Cardinals given his four years in the Cubs rotation and his ground ball tendencies match his new team’s focus. While he isn’t a Cy Young Award candidate, the lefty is having a nice bounce-back season for the Pirates and has traditionally been successful against St. Louis’ top rival, the Milwaukee Brewers (career 9-4, 2.95).

With the health of the only lefty in the rotation, Steven Matz, in question for the remainder of 2022, the dependable Quintana should step into his vacated starting spot.

Johan Oviedo

Stratton is a useful bullpen piece, but Oviedo has evolved into that role as well.

Nuñez is just 21 years of age and made improvements in his second shot at Double-A, including an exceptional June after which he was the consensus Player of the Month across the system with a 1.180 OPS.

However, during the two months prior and the one month since, the first baseman was not exceptional at the plate for Springfield. His OPS in April and May were .678 and .636, respectively, and it dropped back down to .724 in July.

Speaking of first base, Nuñez had been a third baseman, but was moved off the hot corner this season. To have an MLB future at either corner spot will require Nuñez to find more consistent power than he has displayed to date. He was most recently The Cardinal Nation’s 23rd-ranked prospect, after sliding out of the Top 20 in 2022.

Malcom Nuñez

With Nunez’ departure, Chandler Redmond will likely take over his former duties at first base for Springfield.

The need for the veteran Romine with St. Louis has expired with Tuesday’s return of Yadier Molina from the 10-day injured list. The move to remove Romine was necessary on Monday since both new acquisitions are 40-man roster players but of the two heading in the other direction, only Oviedo was on the 40-man. The catcher will either return to Memphis or opt for free agency.

26-man active roster changes are coming on Tuesday, too, but given that it is the trade deadline, much could change before the day is done.

For more

To see all players in the system by level and position plus every transaction all year ‘round, check out the always free Roster Matrix here at The Cardinal Nation, refreshed today. The Matrix also includes which 2022 draftees have signed and their team assignments when disclosed.

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