The Chicago White Sox have been one of the more disappointing teams in the MLB this season. They were widely expected to run away with the American League Central division, but that just hasn't been the case.

Despite that, the White Sox are still in the thick of the AL playoff picture. They sit just three games behind the Minnesota Twins a top the AL Central, and three games behind the Seattle Mariners for the final wild card spot. Chicago has been very inconsistent this season, but their playoff hopes are still very much alive.

Of course, they could have helped themselves out a bit by swinging some deals at the 2022 MLB trade deadline, but they mostly stood pat. They added relief pitcher Jake Diekman in exchange for catcher Reese McGuire, but that was just about all the White Sox did. There were a few moves that the Sox could have made to improve their playoff chances, but the move they should have made, but didn't, could end up ending Chicago's season earlier than expected.

The 1 move the Chicago White Sox should have made the 2022 MLB trade deadline

Trade for Jose Quintana

A big reason for Chicago's struggles this season has been their starting rotation. Two of their best pitchers in Lucas Giolito and Lance Lynn have struggled mightily, and both spot ERAs above five right now. Dylan Cease has emerged as the team's new ace, and he's been spectacular with a 1.98 ERA. Michael Kopech and Johnny Cueto have been solid behind Cease, but without Giolito or Lynn pitching like they have throughout their careers, it hasn't really mattered.

Adding another starting pitcher would have given the Sox the ability to have some leeway when it came to filling in their starting rotation. Among the starting pitchers that made the most sense as a trade target was Pittsburgh Pirates veteran starter (and former White Sox ace) Jose Quintana. Quintana would have balanced out a righty-dominated rotation, and provided some support as Giolito and Lynn continue to struggle.

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Quintana isn't the flashiest pitcher to set foot on the mound, but his numbers this season (3-5, 3.39 ERA, 96 K, 1.23 WHIP) would be a pretty drastic improvement over what Giolito or Lynn have offered this season. He's also familiar with the White Sox, having started his career there, making it reasonable to think a reunion would be in both parties interest.

Instead, the St. Louis Cardinals did what the White Sox should have done, and snagged Quintana up in a fairly cheap trade with the Pirates. This was the type of move Chicago should have been looking to make, but instead, they stood pat and watched other teams with playoff aspirations make their moves for them.

Quintana wouldn't have immediately turned Chicago's fortunes around, but it would have allowed manager Tony La Russa to send Lynn to the bullpen to figure things out. La Russa doesn't have that option now. He's practically forced to keep trotting out Lynn every fifth day because the White Sox don't have another option to replace him right now. And unfortunately, Lynn isn't really giving his team the best shot to win when he pitches.

Quintana also would have balanced out Chicago's righty-dominated rotation. The only lefty they have had start games for them this season was Dallas Keuchel, who posted a 7.88 ERA in his eight starts and was promptly designated for assignment.

When Chicago encounters a team that has a lot of left-handed hitters they can rely on, they are at an immediate disadvantage because they don't really have any left handed pitchers they can count on. Acquiring Diekman may have been an attempt to help the bullpen in that regard, but he was pretty bad for Boston this season, which is why they traded him despite signing him as a free agent just last offseason.

Picking up Quintana would have helped the White Sox sort out their rotation, and salvage something in what has been a massively disappointing season so far. Instead, they made virtually no moves at all, and seem resigned to the fact they are going to come up well short of the expectations they had for themselves entering the season.

Quintana would have been the perfect option to help shore up Chicago's rotation given he has experience playing for the White Sox, and would balance out their rotation, and to a lesser extent their pitching staff as a whole. But Chicago doesn't really seem to know what the direction of their franchise is as they labor through the 2022 season. Their inability to establish themselves as a playoff contender by pulling off a trade for Jose Quintana could lead to a bumpy offseason if they end up missing the playoffs.