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The White Sox wanted Astros’ top prospects for Jose Quintana

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The Astros, Braves and Nationals came sniffing around White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana during the Winter Meetings, but each appeared to find the Sox’ asking price well beyond what they were willing to give up for the starter. On Saturday, Peter Gammons revealed that the White Sox had floated Francis Martes, Kyle Tucker and Joe Musgrove as a possible return for Quintana.

It’s a strategy that worked well for Chicago in the past, most recently when they dealt Chris Sale to the Red Sox for Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, among others, and flipped Adam Eaton to the Nationals for a trio of pitching prospects. Astros’ GM Jeff Luhnow didn’t appear eager to sacrifice some of his core talent to net a high-end starter, however, and told the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan as much on Wednesday:

We’re prepared to trade players to improve our club right now. […] We’re just not prepared to trade away players that are core to our production in 2017, and those are sometimes the players that are required to get these deals done.

While Lunhow was speaking specifically to the inclusion of third baseman Alex Bregman in future deals, it’s not unrealistic to think that top prospects Francis Martes and Kyle Tucker would also be considered instrumental to the Astros’ plans for the next few seasons.

Martes, 21, currently sits atop the team’s top prospect list on MLB.com. The right-hander blazed through his first full season in Double-A Corpus Christi, posting a 3.30 ERA and career-best 9.4 K/9 over 125 1/3 innings in 2016. Tucker, meanwhile, profiles as the Astros’ second-best prospect and made a successful jump to High-A Lancaster last season, slashing .339/.435/.661 in 69 PA. Rookie right-hander Joe Musgrove is the only player left off the top prospect list, but he got off to a decent start with the club in 2016 as well, going 4-4 with a 4.06 ERA and 3.44 K/BB rate in 62 innings during his first major league season.

Mets sign Vance Worley and Scott Copeland

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The Mets have signed pitchers Vance Worley and Scott Copeland minor league deals.

Worley had signed with the Reds in January but was cut by Cincinnati after failing to impress in spring training. That comes on the heels of a disastrous 2017 in which he pitched in 24 games for the Marlins, 12 as a starter, and posted an ugly 6.91 ERA, giving up 99 hits in 71.2 innings. He was much better in 2016 with the Orioles, in which he had a 3.53 ERA with a much lower hit rate in 31 relief appearances and four starts. As is so often the case, when a guy has some good year, as Worley has, he’ll get two or three or sometimes more chances to show he’s truly cooked. Worley will now try to make the most of it, most likely at Los Vegas.

Copeland with the Marlins last year too, though he spent all year at Triple-A. Copeland hasn’t appeared in a major league game since 2015, when he posted a 6.46 ERA in 15.1 innings with the Blue Jays.

Viva organizational depth.