New York Mets left-hander José Quintana, who exited his most recent spring training appearance with left-side tightness, has been diagnosed with a lesion on one of his ribs, general manager Billy Eppler told reporters on Tuesday. A biopsy was performed, and the lesion is benign. Quintana will undergo bone-graft surgery and be sidelined until at least July. Quintana's issue initially appeared to be small stress fracture to his fifth rib.
Quintana, 34, signed with the Mets on a two-year agreement over the winter. That contract, and its $26 million guarantee, was his reward for salvaging his career last season with the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals. In 32 starts, he posted a 137 ERA+ and a 2.91 strikeout-to-walk ratio, marks that allowed him to contribute an estimated 3.5 Wins Above Replacement. CBS Sports ranked him at the time as the 39th-best free agent on the market, writing the following:
Quintana's one weird trick for resuscitating his career as a 33-year-old? Surrendering four fewer home runs than he did in 2021 despite throwing 102 additional innings. His game is and has always been based on contact management. He doesn't have loud stuff, but he locates what he has well enough to get by. And get by he has. Quintana has been a competent starter for roughly a decade now, save for the 73 combined innings he threw during the 2020-21 seasons. Because crafty left-handers are essentially interdimensional beings, unbound or ungoverned by the rules of linear time, Quintana should be a decent bet to have at least one more solid year.
Quintana, along with fellow free-agent signings Justin Verlander and Kodai Senga, were supposed to help a Mets rotation that lost Jacob deGrom, Taijuan Walker, and Chris Bassitt to more lucrative pastures. With Quintana forced to miss several months, the Mets will likely turn to a depth option, be it David Peterson, Tylor Megill, Joey Lucchesi, or even Elieser Hernandez.
The Mets are slated to open the regular season on March 30 against the Miami Marlins.