Mets Monday Morning GM: Jose Quintana is key to knowing what the 2024 plans are

What the Mets do with Jose Quintana this offseason is a signal of what's next for the ball club.
Aug 12, 2023; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jose Quintana (62)
Aug 12, 2023; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jose Quintana (62) / John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Jose Quintana signed with the New York Mets last offseason planning to help the team compete for the 2023 World Series. It’s why everyone was there in St. Lucie back in March. The highest payroll in MLB history had the goal of bringing a parade to Queens.

An injury here. An underwhelming season there. A trade deadline sell-off to secure the team’s fate. Quintana has, instead, landed on the roster of a ball club whose next step either has them hopping onto an elevator moving upward or it’s off a cliff.

Ever since Max Scherzer explained his reasoning for waiving the no-trade clause in his contract, Mets fans have been hesitant about getting too excited for next season. How could we? Steve Cohen and the front office have even admitted this plan isn’t necessarily to go star-hunting in the offseason. And what the team does with Quintana can be a hint as to how interested they are in even trying at all.

What the NY Mets do with Jose Quintana can confirm their plans

A November trade of Quintana assures us the plans are to take a step backward. Quintana isn’t a star, but he’s definitely a player who could be useful for the Mets next year at a reasonable price. Are the Mets going to simply try to compete with less “big pieces” than they had at the start of the 2023 season or are they going to tear things down further?

There isn’t any emotional attachment to Quintana like there is with a player such as Pete Alonso. He can leave. We’ll thank him for his services if it does happen, which it likely will after the 2024 season in a best-case scenario for anyone hopeful for brighter days next year.

Building a rotation around Quintana, Kodai Senga, and at least one longer-term rotation option brought in this offseason isn’t such a bad plan. Fill in another slot with a shorter rental. Use the fifth starter spot for a guy like Joey Lucchesi or David Peterson to figure it out. You don’t need a rotation with two aces at the top. Plenty of competitive ball clubs in 2023 are in the playoff hunt right now with pitchers on the same level as Quintana, Senga, and one other.

Chances are the Mets won’t trade away Quintana too quickly in the offseason. November tends to be more about cleaning up what you already have. Non-tender decisions and other internal affairs are usually addressed. It’s not until the December Winter Meetings when most of the action truly begins.

Quintana is one of those players the Mets have full control over and a reason to keep around and yet every reason to swap him for younger players. It’s all a matter of how much of a chance the front office wants to give this team. Keep Quintana to start the year and you might be able to pull something off with some trade deadline additions. Sell him in the winter and you’re signaling to the fans you’re probably ready to clean out even more pieces.