HomeTeamsMetsMets Officially Tab Quintana to Start Opening Day

Mets Officially Tab Quintana to Start Opening Day

On Wednesday, Mets Manager Carlos Mendoza announced that lefty starter, Jose Quintana, would be the team’s starting pitched against the Brewers on Opening Day. While this decision was expected, Mendoza’s proclamation made it official. Before Spring Training started, Kodai Senga was considered to be the ace of the rotation. After Senga’ early spring injury, Quintana has always seemed like the next obvious choice.

Even though the meaning of the Opening Day starter role has diminished somewhat this century, it is still considered an honor. While it’s not the first time that Quintana will have started the season for his team (he was the White Sox 2017 Opening Day starter), it is the first time he’ll have done it for the Mets.

Quintana signed with the Mets in December 2022, and was expected to step in nicely as a solid and dependable #4 man in their 2023 rotation. Unfortunately, he suffered a stress fracture in his ribs during Spring Training and didn’t start his first game for the Mets until July 20th. Despite the variety of turmoil, the Mets faced in the second half of last season, Quintana fulfilled his promise as a dependable starter in the back half of the rotation.

The main starting pitching prizes of last year’s Mets offseason were Justin Verlander and Kodai Senga. So, not too much of a to-do was made about Quintana’s signing. Similarly, shortly after Quintana debuted for the Mets, they traded away some of their top players, essentially sticking a fork in their season. So, again, Jose Quintana’s steadiness, while appreciated, was only appreciated by the few who continued to follow the Mets after the trade deadline. So, it would be understandable if fans aren’t too familiar with Quintana, even though it is unsurprising that he’ll be starting on Opening Day.

In case you’re curious, here is a brief history of Jose Quintana…

Originally drafted by the Mets in 2006, Quintana played in the Rookie-level Venezuelan Summer League that year and was suspended for all of 2007 for violating Minor League Baseball’s drug policy. He then moved to the Yankees organization where, after a couple seasons he graduated from Rookie ball to Class A. The Chicago White Sox then signed Quintana prior to the 2012 season. In May he got his first taste of the majors, and by the end of the season he had started 22 games, relieved in 3 games, and finished his rookie year with a 6-6 record, and a 3.74 ERA.

Over the next four seasons, Quintana was a model of consistency, with an ERA that never went above 3.51 or below 3.20. He remained with the club until 2017 when, in the middle of July, he was traded across town to the Cubs (in a deal that included Dylan Cease and Eloy Jimenez). Despite some struggles in August, he pitched well for the Cubs that year, helping them to first place finish in the NL Central for the second straight season. His next two seasons with the Cubs strayed a bit from the formula as his ERA climbed above 4. A thumb injury reduced the already COVID-shortened 2020 season, as Quintana only appeared in four games (one start).

In 2021, Quintana pitched for two west coast teams, the Los Angeles Angels and San Francisco Giants, and had lackluster results for both of them. He then signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates prior to the 2022 season, where he returned to his earlier-career form. Things really changed for Quintana when he was traded to the Cardinals in August of 2022. He closed out the year with St. Louis with the lowest ERA and lowest WHIP of his career.

As mentioned earlier, Quintana’s 2023 season, his first year with the Mets was abbreviated and appreciated even though it was relatively unremarkable, as he finished with a 3-6 record in 13 starts, with a 3.57 ERA and 1.308 WHIP.

While it would be easy to look at Quintana’s 2024 Opening Day start as a symbol of the low expectations for the Mets starting pitching, and as a reminder of the Kodai Senga injury, the Mets are hoping that this somewhat new role for him will serve as an opportunity for Jose Quintana to stand out.

Shai Kushner
Shai Kushnerhttps://mlbreport.com/
Shai Kushner, is a seasoned sports journalist and versatile professional deeply embedded in the world of baseball. Since 2014, Shai has been a trusted voice covering the New York Mets for BaseballDigest.com and GothamBaseball.com. Before his journalism career, he served as a video engineer for the Mets Baseball Operations department.


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