Jose Quintana‘s first impression on the Cubs was an impressive one, as the lefty blanked the Orioles over seven shutout innings on Sunday afternoon in a 8-0 win. He limited the opposition to three hits without issuing a walk and striking out 12 on 100 pitches. Carl Edwards, Jr. relieved him to start the eighth inning. The Cubs’ offense had scored six runs, including two on a home run by Kris Bryant in the fourth inning.
Quintana’s performance on Sunday marked only the fourth time this season a Cubs starter tossed seven or more shutout innings and it’s only the second time it’s been done by a Cub this season with double-digit strikeouts.
Quintana, 28, joined the Cubs on pace to have the worst season of his career. Over 18 starts, he compiled a 4.49 ERA with a 109/40 K/BB ratio in 104 1/3 innings. He hadn’t finished a season with an ERA higher than 3.76 since debuting in 2012.
The Cubs acquired Quintana from the White Sox on Thursday in exchange for four minor leaguers, including Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease. Quintana is under contract for $8.85 million next season and the Cubs have options worth $10.5 million for the ensuing two seasons with $1 million buyouts.
Major League Baseball released a statement about Josh Hader a few minutes ago. Here it is in its entirety:
“During last night’s game we became aware of Mr. Hader’s unacceptable social media comments in years past and have since been in communication with the Brewers regarding our shared concerns. After the game, Mr. Hader took the necessary step of expressing remorse for his highly offensive and hurtful language, which fails to represent the values of our game and our expectations for all those who are a part of it. The Office of the Commissioner will require sensitivity training for Mr. Hader and participation in MLB’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.”
People can parse Hader’s apology if they want to — I wrote about what I feel like Hader needs to say and do to show that his tweets truly are not representative of who he is now — but this is probably about as well as Major League Baseball can do with this. The tweets in question occurred years ago, before Hader was in professional baseball. They even occurred before Major League Baseball had a formal social media policy. MLB attempting some sort of way-after-the-fact punitive action on Hader like a fine or a suspension would (a) be met with some understandable resistance by Hader and the union; and (b) would look more like the league trying to deal with a P.R. crisis more than dealing with the player.
That being said, the sensitivity training and diversity initiative participation makes loads of sense. If, as Hader said last night, he’s a different person now than he was back in 2011-12, he should embrace such activities. They’re positive ones and, hey, who couldn’t use a brush-up? If his claims of being a changed man were merely a reaction to a social media firestorm, well, that’ll be dealt with pretty well in those arenas as well. Either way, this gives Hader an opportunity to put his money where his mouth is.
If you think making Hader do such things is “punishment,” well, that opens up another conversation altogether I suppose.