Cubs Exercise 2019 Option on Jose Quintana, Luxury Tax Projections Officially Above Penalty

The Cubs announced Wednesday that they had exercised their $10.5 million club option for Jose Quintana in 2019, which comes as no surprise to even the lefty’s harshest critics.

Quintana finished 2018 with a 4.03 ERA, 4.43 FIP, and 1.4 fWAR in 174 innings. In other words, he was an average MLB starting pitcher. His option pays him as such, too, but the Cubs are hoping Q can be more than just league-average in 2019 and emulate many of his pre-Cubs seasons.

All of Quintana’s salary will count toward the 2019 luxury tax, though there should be some credit from the buyout money they’ve already paid. As it stands now, the Cubs are projected to open the 2019 season with a $207.5 million payroll, just over the $206 million threshold. And the front office has yet to even sign or trade for players outside the organization. Barring a shocking choice to remain totally inactive, expect the Cubs to blow further past the limit.

An additional note: The Cubs also claimed 26-year-old lefty Jerry Vasto off waivers from the Royals. Drafted by the Rockies before being picked up by the Royals last season, Vasto has only pitched 4.1 innings in an MLB uniform. His AAA numbers, however, suggest he can induce whiffs (10.70 K/9 in 37 relief innings last season).

These moves officially put the Cubs’ 40-man roster at 35.

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