Carlos Quentin Rumors

NL West Notes: Quentin, Fried, Belt, Tulo, Owings

Carlos Quentin tells Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune that at one point in the 2013 season, his injuries were nagging him to the point where he weighed retirement. The 31-year-old recalls thinking, "I can’t produce and do well, so I shouldn’t be out here." Quentin admitted to Acee that he wasn't honest last Spring when speaking about how healthy he was, but Acee notes the change in Quentin's demeanor this offseason as he told reporters that he wants to set a new career-high in games played this season.

The latest on the Padres and the rest of the NL West below…

  • Dennis Lin of the Union-Tribune reports that Padres top prospect Max Fried has been shut down for at least two weeks due to soreness in the flexor-mass area of his left (pitching) elbow. GM Josh Byrnes said Fried initially felt the soreness when playing long-toss from 120 feet. "At this stage of his career, this time of year, we’re obviously gonna be careful and make sure he’s symptom-free before he gets going," Byrnes said. "There was still enough soreness in there that we’re gonna be conservative and make sure we knock it out."
  • Giants first baseman Brandon Belt told reporters, including MLB.com's Chris Haft, that receiving the biggest payday of his life — a $2.9MM contract to avoid arbitration two nights ago — was a "magical" moment. Belt added that he would be open to discussing a long-term deal to remain in San Francisco: "I think anybody would be open to a long-term extension, especially with this organization. It's a first-class organization."
  • Troy Tulowitzki knows that rumors will fly over the next year, as talk of the Yankees needing to replace Derek Jeter will likely connect him to the Bronx, writes Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Tulo, who has looked up to Jeter since his youth and wears No. 2 in the Yankee Captain's honor, tells Renck that he's used to trade rumors and will remain focused on helping the Rockies win games.
  • Chris Owings never let the Diamondbacks' acquisition of Didi Gregorius faze him last year, writes MLB.com's Steve Gilbert. Owings was thought of as the club's shortstop of the future when he was drafted in 2009 but looked to have been passed up by Gregorius at the time of last year's trade. Rather than dwell on it, Owings focused on his game and won the Triple-A Pacific Coast League's MVP Award, once again positioning himself a long-term answer for Arizona at short, writes Gilbert.

Orioles Have Internally Discussed Carlos Quentin

3:10pm: MLB.com's Corey Brock noted on Twitter that Quentin has a full no-trade clause as part of the contract extension he signed last July.

12:05pm: The Orioles are giving thought to trading for a bat and one of the players that the club has talked about internally is Carlos Quentin of the Padres, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com.  The slugger is signed through 2015 for roughly $24MM in total.

Last night we learned that the Orioles could have more payroll flexibility than they've been letting on and are considering making a major splash before this week's deadline.  That significant move could be making a play for a top available starter like Jake Peavy or bolstering the offense with someone like Quentin or Justin Morneau.  However, it's not a given that San Diego will part with Quentin as a source told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports last week that they don't plan to trade the veteran. 

Quentin, 31 in August, is hitting .278/.366/.500 with 13 homers through 80 games this season.  For his career, the two-time All-Star owns a .255/.351/.492 slash line across eight seasons with the White Sox, Diamondbacks, and Padres.  


Rosenthal On Cardinals, Athletics, Stanton

Ken Rosenthal's latest column for FOX Sports begins with a look at the Braves' rotation without veteran Tim Hudson, who sustained a season-ending ankle fracture last night.  Rosenthal notes it's a very young group without Hudson, and seems to be lacking a true number one starter.  Such a pitcher is probably not available on the trade market, which I imagine the Braves will be eyeing more keenly.  Elsewhere from Rosenthal's column:

  • The Cardinals are not actively pursuing the Astros' Bud Norris or the Blue Jays' Mark Buehrle.  The Cards didn't push for Matt Garza, but did scout Jake Peavy's last start.  Ervin Santana is available as well, but Rosenthal wonders if "a trade might not be worth the trouble," given the Cardinals' current group of talented young pitchers.
  • The Red Sox never got serious on Garza due to concerns with his injury history.  The Red Sox and Tigers were the other AL clubs in on reliever Francisco Rodriguez, who was recently traded to the Orioles.
  • After making a late run at Garza, the Athletics are interested in Peavy and Santana.  Sometimes it helps to add to a strength, explains Rosenthal.
  • The Rangers ask the Marlins for Giancarlo Stanton "every week," a Major League source tells Rosenthal, and keep hearing "no."  In addition to Alex Rios of the White Sox, the Rangers are considering Justin Ruggiano of the Marlins and Chris Denorfia of the Padres.  However, they have "not mounted a serious push" for Ruggiano, while the Padres don't plan to trade Denorfia or teammate Carlos Quentin.
  • "Some with the Brewers" wonder if the presence of Ryan Braun might make it more difficult to attract free agents.
  • The Phillies are "narrowing their search for a backup center fielder," writes Rosenthal, and the recently-designated Chris Dickerson could be one option.


Padres Notes: Headley, Trades, Upton

The Padres' 6-15 record is the second-worst in baseball and fans are starting to get impatient, judging by the tone of several questions (or just outright rants) posed to Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune during his latest online chat.  Here are a few of the hot stove notes from Center…

  • Some fans are calling for a fire sale but Center points out that such a move wouldn't be prudent given how many Padres are underachieving.  "Even if the Padres started unloading players, what would they get for what they have? Unfortunately, they couldn't sell high in very many areas right now. Honestly, unloading might only make it worse," Center writes.
  • Chase Headley is perhaps the only Padre that would fetch a premium return on the trade market, though Headley himself has struggled (.547 OPS) since returning from the DL.  Center notes that Headley's struggles could actually help the Padres long-term since it would lower Headley's price on a possible extension.
  • Since Headley is under team control through next season, Center doesn't think the Friars need to decide on the third baseman until mid-2014.  That said, losing Headley "might be a major blow to the new owners' already weakening perception among fans."  MLBTR's Tim Dierkes recently looked at a few of the teams who might be interested in acquiring Headley should San Diego put him on the market this summer.
  • Center speculates that Carlos Quentin could be open to waiving his no-trade clause if he was dealt to an AL club where he could serve as a designated hitter. 
  • Josh Byrnes was given permission by team management to pursue a trade for Justin Upton this past winter.  The Diamondbacks wanted a package from the Padres that would've included Headley "and more" Major League talent, not only prospects.  Ultimately the D'Backs had concerns about dealing Upton to a division rival and the talks led nowhere.  Any San Diego/Arizona trade, of course, contains some extra baggage given that Byrnes used to be the Diamondbacks' GM and Kevin Towers is a former Padres general manager.
  • Firing Bud Black may not be the answer, as Center believes Black "has the same ingredients" as former Padres manager Bruce Bochy.  Despite Bochy's four division titles in 12 years as Padres' manager, the club let him go to the Giants, where he has since won two World Series championships.

Quick Hits: 42, Ortiz, Quentin, Cubs

Tomorrow is the 66th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball. Every player, coach, and umpire will honor Robinson by wearing his iconic jersey number 42 and it is a significant ritual appreciated by today's generation of players. "It's definitely one of those things you take a lot of pride in, putting on that jersey," said Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen (as quoted by MLB.com's Tom Singer). "What (Robinson) went through, stepping up and being that guy to take that important step…it's something we need to always remember." This weekend, the nation remembered the Hall of Famer by making the biopic 42 the domestic box office champion with $27.3MM in ticket sales. This is the first time a baseball movie has ever grossed more than $20MM in its opening weekend and is also an opening weekend record for any baseball-themed movie when adjusted for inflation, according to Forbes. Here's the latest news and notes from America's Pastime:

  • David Ortiz was scratched from his Triple-A rehab start today due to illness and it could become a very expensive setback, reports Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. Ortiz's 2014 salary will be cut by $2MM (from $15MM to $13MM), if he spends more than 20 days on the disabled list and day 20 is next Sunday. His next rehab start could come tomorrow.    
  • Carlos Quentin announced he has withdrawn his appeal and will start serving his eight-game suspension today (first reported by the USA Today's Bob Nightengale on Twitter). "I’ve had time to have dialogue with Major League Baseball and a chance for the players association to protect me and my rights as a player,” Quentin told reporters including Chris Jenkins of the San Diego Union-Tribune. “When that time passed, I’ve prepared to serve my suspension." Quentin will miss the Padres' three-game series against the Dodgers, which begins tomorrow in Los Angeles.
  • The Cubs could designate Brent Lillibridge or Alberto Gonzalez for assignment when Darwin Barney is activated from the disabled list on Tuesday, speculates the Daily Herald's Bruce Miles.

NL West Links: Quentin, Weiss, Upton, Giants

Everyone knows Jackie Robinson's story but few remember the name of John Wright, the second African-American player to sign with the Dodgers just weeks after Robinson signed his contract.  Baseball America's Ryan Whirty details the brief career of Wright, a right-hander who struggled in the minors in 1946 and was back pitching in the Negro Leagues by 1947.

Here's the latest from the NL West…

  • Major League Baseball has announced the suspensions of Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin for eight games and Dodgers utilityman Jerry Hairston for one game for their parts in Thursday's brawl between the two teams.  Both men are appealing their suspensions, so both could be able to play when the Padres and Dodgers begin a three-game series on Monday, though Yahoo's Jeff Passan (Twitter link) feels MLB and the MLBPA will arrange for Quentin to miss Monday's game.
  • Zack Greinke, meanwhile, will be out of action for around eight weeks following surgery to fix his broken collarbone.  MLBTR's Steve Adams looked at the implications of Greinke's injury earlier today.
  • Rockies owner Dick Monfort talks to Mark Kiszla over the Denver Post about manager Walt Weiss' unusual one-year contract with the club.  Monfort admits the short-term deal was an "oversight" since he values loyalty in employees and usually operates on handshake agreements, and also said that the Rockies management team hired Weiss without first establishing his salary.
  • Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall told Arizona Sports 620 Radio's Doug & Wolf that he felt the Justin Upton trade has worked out for both the D'Backs and Braves.  "I would agree that ‘would he have had the same success here that he's had [in Atlanta] to start off the season, maybe not' sometimes players need a change of scenery for it to happen," Hall said.  "I mean this was just two different teams that had two different needs and it worked out well for both, not to mention we still have four prospects that we're going to be dealing with in the next few years."
  • Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic doesn't agree with Hall's belief that Upton needed a fresh start.  "But even if [Upton] did need a new environment, what happened to the environment here? What does that say about the environment you’re creating if a 25-year-old with his kind of ability can’t succeed in it anymore?" Piecoro asks.
  • While breaking down Tim Lincecum's struggles, Grantland's Jonah Keri noted that the success of the Giants' starting rotation has obscured the team's lack of pitching depth.  The Giants may need to explore a trade for a new starter later this season if Lincecum can't turn things around.  I tabbed 2013 as a Make Or Break Season for Lincecum since he'll need to regain his old form in order to fetch a nice free agent contract this winter.
  • In other NL West news from earlier today, I compiled a set of Padres notes while Steve Adams reviewed the Giants' offseason moves.

Padres Notes: Quentin, Byrnes, Maybin, Roster

The brawl between the Padres and Dodgers last night left Zack Greinke sidelined for several weeks with a broken collarbone and put Carlos Quentin squarely in the media spotlight for charging the mound.  CBS Sports' Jon Heyman and FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi both feel Major League Baseball should hand Quentin a significant penalty — Heyman suggests a 15-game suspension while Morosi opines that Quentin should be out for at least a month for seeking "vigilante justice" against Greinke.  It may be a while before Quentin misses any action given that the outfielder is likely to appeal any suspension leveled against him by the league.

As the Padres kick off a series against the Rockies at Petco Park tonight, here are some more items out of sunny San Diego… 

  • Padres GM Josh Byrnes seems to have won the favor of the club's new ownership group, Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.  New owners are often apt to bring in their own general managers though in the Padres' case, firing Byrnes would be costly given that he is under contract through the 2017 season.
  • In his weekly chat with fans, Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune notes that Byrnes will likely "blow up the roster" (in the words of one fan) should the Padres fail to match last year's 76-86 record.
  • Also from Center, Cameron Maybin has "no trade value" given his struggles at the plate and the roughly $22.8MM owed to him through the 2016 season.  Maybin signed the five-year, $25MM extension prior to the 2012 campaign but hit just .243/.306/.349 last season and has just two hits in 27 AB to begin this season.
  • From earlier today on MLBTR, the Padres signed first baseman Brandon Allen to a minor league contract.

MLBTR's Steve Adams also contributed to this post


The Implications Of Zack Greinke’s Injury

When the Dodgers spent $147MM on Zack Greinke this offseason, they were expecting 33 starts per season of an ace-caliber pitcher. Instead, Greinke will now find himself on the shelf for a significant portion of time following a brawl in the Dodgers-Padres game that broke out after he hit Carlos Quentin in the shoulder with a pitch.

Two things are clear here. The move has serious financial and roster implications for the Dodgers, and Quentin is a lock to be suspended. What does that mean, specifically, for the involved parties? It depends on how long Greinke is out for, first of all, which has yet to be announced. ESPN's Jayson Stark notes that recent history shows this type of injury has a recovery time of anywhere from one to three months (All Twitter links). Marlins catcher Jeff Mathis broke his collarbone in late February and is hoping to return in early May. Clint Barmes broke his collarbone in 2005 and was on the shelf for three months. The only pitcher Stark could find who suffered the injury was Chris Bosio, who missed a month.

Greinke is earning $17MM in the 2013 season, which is 182 calendar days long. Assuming a timetable of 30 to 90 days (roughly one to three months), the Dodgers figure to be out somewhere between $2.8MM and $8.4MM of this year's investment in Greinke. That's a sizeable chunk of salary, although they could have an insurance policy on the contract that will cover a portion of the injury.

This also means that the Dodgers' former surplus of starting pitching has likely been sorted out for the time being. With Aaron Harang now in Seattle, the Dodgers can place one of Ted Lilly or Chris Capuano in the rotation, with the other serving as a long reliever. It seems likely that it will be Lilly who is placed in the rotation; MLB.com's Ken Gurnick recently noted that he's been building up arm strength to throw 90+ pitches again and the Dodgers are concerned about how frequent warm-ups would affect his "delicate shoulder." Capuano, meanwhile, has already been in the 'pen for the early portion of the season. Both hurlers figure to be firmly off the trade market now.

As far as Quentin goes, the left fielder signed a three-year, $27MM extension with the Padres last year and is slated to make $9.5MM this season. In other words, Quentin is paid just over $52,000 per day during the season. So multiply that number by the amount of days in his eventual unpaid suspension, and it becomes a costly confrontation for him on a personal level as well.

Matt Kemp and Jerry Hairston Jr. also played roles in the altercation. Kemp was particularly vocal during the fray and eventually pursued Quentin after the game, leading to a confrontation that is chronicled here by Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times. Hairston charged toward the Padres' dugout after the field had been cleared, later explaining to reporters that an undisclosed Padres player was mocking Greinke's injury. It's unclear at this time if there will be any punishment handed out for Kemp and Hairston, but presumably they're in line for fines as opposed to suspensions.


Examining The Carlos Quentin Extension

We won’t know the results of Carlos Quentin’s extension with the Padres until after the 2015 season, when the contract expires. But the deal's consequences are already apparent for the 29 other MLB teams: there’s one less bat on the trade market, one less player headed for free agency, and one more clue that teams are hesitant to surrender top prospects for short-term acquisitions.

Carlos Quentin - Padres (PW)

The trade market, light on power bats to begin with, will be affected. There’s now one less option out there for GMs seeking right-handed power, so the few teams that do have a power-hitting trade candidate might now enjoy additional leverage in trade discussions. The Cubs, for example, might have more success peddling Alfonso Soriano to contenders (though they’ll presumably absorb the majority of his contract if they complete a trade). Josh Willingham of the Twins, who’s signed to a reasonable three-year, $21MM contract, could also draw additional interest following the Padres’ deal with Quentin.

The Padres and Quentin agreed to a three-year, $30MM extension that values the right fielder at the level of Michael Cuddyer (three years, $31.5MM) and Edwin Encarnacion (three years, $29MM). Players such as Nick SwisherMelky Cabrera and Cody Ross could benefit this offseason when they hit free agency. Quentin, Encarnacion and Andre Ethier are now unavailable after signing extensions, so the few remaining free agent bats can expect to be pursued aggressively this coming offseason. It sure beats hitting free agency in a market saturated with star-caliber players.

Quentin's extension provides evidence for a widely-held suspicion about the midseason trade market. Teams have seemed hesitant to trade top prospects for players on the brink of free agency now that baseball’s collective bargaining agreement prevents clubs from obtaining draft pick compensation for players acquired midway through the final year of a contract. The recent deal between the Padres and the CAA Sports client appears to be further evidence that teams are unwilling to trade their best prospects for players nearing free agency.

Instead of trading Quentin for a middling prospect or two and, perhaps, some salary relief, general manager Josh Byrnes offered the San Diego native a contract that buys out three free agent years. While some will criticize the decision by a small-market team to commit a significant percentage of payroll to a defensively-limited player with a history of injury issues, there’s no doubt Quentin would have been of interest to contending teams this summer. The Indians, Pirates and Dodgers are among the clubs that could use an offensive upgrade in the outfield. But teams around the league didn’t tempt Padres executives with overwhelming trade offers. Instead, those teams will hold onto their prospects or trade them for players who will remain under team control beyond 2012. It’s possible that Quentin and other players headed for free agency no longer seem valuable enough to justify parting with highly-regarded prospects.

I wonder if the Padres would have made Quentin a qualifying offer following the season had he stayed in San Diego without signing a long-term deal (teams must extend qualifying offers to free agents to be eligible to obtain draft pick compensation). The qualifying offers are expected to fall in the $12.5MM range, and the Padres apparently value Quentin as a $10MM player on a multiyear deal, so $12.5MM for one year doesn’t sound unreasonable given the possibility of draft pick compensation. If nothing else, additional picks provide teams with a larger budget and more flexibility for the draft, which remains the most efficient way for organizations to obtain impact talent. 

Photo courtesy of US Presswire.


West Notes: Rangers, Padres, Giants

The Rangers head into their Sunday night matchup against the Angels with an ailing starting rotation. The Rangers have scratched Roy Oswalt from his start tomorrow and Colby Lewis is scheduled to have his forearm examined tomorrow before he's given the green light to make his scheduled start on Tuesday. The Rangers don't believe Oswalt's injury is serious, but he and Lewis can both wind up on the disabled list, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  Elsewhere from the AL and NL West: