BALTIMORE — The Mets traded nearly everything of value on their roster at last week’s deadline — except for Jose Quintana.
After watching the left-hander deliver another strong performance, even Buck Showalter seemed surprised the quality starter, who has another year on his contract, is still on the roster.
Quintana gave up two runs in six-plus innings against the Orioles in his fourth start since returning from a fractured rib that sidelined him in the spring, another example of what the Mets expected.
“We knew that’s what he could do,’’ Showalter said after a 2-0 loss at Camden Yards. “That’s why we signed him. I was afraid we might lose him [at the deadline]. He’s a fresh arm. I’m glad he’s ours.”
And he figures to be in 2024, as well, when the games at least might have more importance than the one he lost on Sunday.
“Everyone is getting a glimpse of what he can do for us the rest of this year and next year,’’ Showalter said. “He’s as advertised.”
He commanded his pitches well and pitched ahead of hitters, as Quintana said he wanted to take advantage of Baltimore’s aggressive style at the plate.
The damage done by the Orioles against Quintana came with some help from the Mets’ unimpressive defense, as a Rafael Ortega misplay led to a triple by Jorge Mateo in the fifth. Mateo scored when the next batter, Adley Rutchsman, grounded to third and Mark Vientos didn’t handle it cleanly.
Certainly, if the rib injury didn’t keep Quintana out of the Mets’ rotation until late July, he might have been able to put them in a better position.
“Who knows?” Quintana said. “It’s not in my control. It was one of the hard times of my career, to see how the team started so slow. But we’ll keep competing.’’
Showalter couldn’t help but wonder what a healthy Quintana would have meant to the season.
“I’m a human being, too, so of course [I wonder],’’ Showalter said. “He knows who he is. You can see why the guy is an inning-eater. He doesn’t implode and he’s very competitive. He’s a professional pitcher and fun to watch.”
The outing extended his streak dating to last year of not allowing more than three runs in an outing to 18. That’s the longest such stretch of Quintana’s career and the longest current streak in the majors.
“It’s a reminder of what we missed with him for most of the season,’’ Showalter said. “It’s good to see him start to feel himself and show everybody why we wanted him. We’re gonna need him.”