Carlos Quentin Rumors
The Pirates enter the All-Star break atop the Central Division with a 48-37 record and a legitimate opportunity to remain competitive in the second half. Pittsburgh, led by the MVP-esque play of Andrew McCutchen and strong pitching from its starting rotation, plans to be a buyer with the trade deadline quickly approaching.
As mentioned on MLBTR earlier today, the Pirates have expressed interest in Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin and Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton, among others. MLBTR's Zach Links suggests acquiring Quentin would require Pittsburgh to part with a lesser package of prospects whereas adding Upton to its outfield would demand a series of quality prospects given his ability and that he is under team control through 2015.
The question for the Pirates becomes whether they will take a conservative approach at the trade deadline like last season or go all in by making a splash at the end of the month with a star player like Upton.
Padres GM Josh Byrnes made an appearance on XX 1090's Darren Smith Show earlier today. Here's the audio and here's a recap...
- "We've been on the phone a lot," said the GM when asked about ongoing trade talks, "... (but) we don't need to trade anyone."
- Because of the team's ownership situation, Byrnes said he does not have the ability to offer extensions. "Not at this moment," he said, talking specifically about Carlos Quentin and Huston Street. They have not talked dollars with either player yet.
- "All those guys are going to contribute," said Byrnes when asked if he was pleased with the Mat Latos trade. "It's one of those deals where both sides got what they wanted."
- He also spoke about Petco Park, Andrew Cashner and injuries in general, Nick Hundley's demotion, and more during the interview.
- Byrnes told MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez that the team signed Dominican third baseman Carlos Belen for $1MM (Twitter link). The Padres inked Belen earlier this week.
In today's Insider-only blog post, ESPN's Buster Olney compares the current state of the trade market to shopping at an airport, where priced are designed to gouge customers. Buyers want more sellers and sellers want more buyers. Olney also previewed the NL trade market, so let's dive in...
- The Mets are among teams looking for bullpen help and are waiting for the market develop. The division-rival Nationals are also in the market for relief help but do have Drew Storen on the mend. Olney wonders if they'll look for a starter given Stephen Strasburg's inning limit.
- Executives expect the Padres to deal Carlos Quentin and Huston Street, plus they continue to get calls about Chase Headley. Olney speculates that the Reds could be a fit for Quentin.
- The Braves are looking to add a veteran starting pitcher, but Olney says they're unlikely to swing a trade for Zack Greinke without having some kind of long-term contract agreement in place.
- Olney wonders if the Diamondbacks could become surprise buyers for pitching help given Joe Saunders' injury and Trevor Bauer's early struggles. The Cardinals figure to jump into the pitching market given Chris Carpenter's season-ending shoulder surgery.
- The Cubs, Astros, and Rockies are among the clubs in sell mode. The Brewers will wait a little longer before deciding to sell, and while Greinke, Shaun Marcum, and others could be on the block, Corey Hart will not.
- Olney says the Blue Jays actually finished third in the bidding for Yu Darvish behind the Rangers and Cubs. No bid was within $35MM of the $51.7MM Texas submitted.
- The Cubs are shopping starter Ryan Dempster to multiple teams, including the Dodgers. Chicago is willing to include significant amounts of cash in any trade in hopes of landing better prospects. Dempster has 10-and-5 rights, however, and thus can veto any deal, although he's willing to move to a contender.
- The Orioles are pursuing starting pitching and scouted both Dempster and Matt Garza this week, although the Diamondbacks' Joe Saunders may be a better trade fit for Baltimore.
- The Blue Jays are asking around for pitching help, although they may end up sellers before the non-waiver trade deadline.
- The Astros are willing to listen on "virtually all of their players." Younger players like Jed Lowrie and third baseman Chris Johnson are all in play, although it would take a huge offer to pry away second baseman Jose Altuve.
- The Indians are unlikely to make a move for a DH type like Vladimir Guerrero or Manny Ramirez. Their bigger need is a player who can play left field -- perhaps someone like Carlos Quentin -- but they first need to figure out where they stand with Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore, who are both injured.
- The Marlins will have trouble bolstering their weak offense because of a depleted farm system. With Emilio Bonifacio injured, their most obvious need is center field. The Twins' Denard Span and perhaps the Phillies' Shane Victorino are potential targets.
- The Angels no longer have room in the starting lineup for the injured Vernon Wells now that Mark Trumbo and Mike Trout have solidified the outfield, and one rival GM thinks Wells could be released when he's ready to return from the disabled list.
ESPN's Buster Olney shared a number of items (via his Twitter feed) about a variety of hot stove topics and rumors...
- The Red Sox might be forced to deal Kevin Youkilis due to a "roster crunch" at the corner infield positions and players returning from the DL. Rival executives, however, think Youkilis currently has "no trade value" so it doesn't make sense for Boston to move him right now.
- The Angels and Yankees are "still waiting for needs to be defined" before exploring trades, while the Red Sox are only focused on acquiring starting pitching.
- Many baseball executives believe the Padres will trade Carlos Quentin, though Olney reports the Padres "would like to" offer Quentin a long-term extension sometime this summer. Olney's phrasing may relate to the uncertain status of the Padres' ownership situation.
- Teams have checked in on Josh Willingham but have been told that he isn't available. Some believe this could change but others believe Twins GM Terry Ryan "is, generally speaking, conservative with in-season deals" so the Twins could hold onto their slugger.
- The Pirates are looking for hitting but thus far found few sellers willing to deal.
- The Dodgers are asking about first basemen as they look to upgrade from James Loney but have "no reason to go crazy" finding a second base replacement for Mark Ellis, who will return from the DL at some point.
- The Rockies aren't seen as a team with much to trade, as their roster is split between "untouchables" (i.e. Troy Tulowitzki) and "role players" (such as Rafael Betancourt).
- Jim Thome could be a trade target for AL teams but Olney believes Phillies GM Ruben Amaro would first ask Thome if changing teams was something the respected veteran would want.
The Yankees own baseball's all-time best record (164-109) in interleague play, including a 7-2 mark against the National League this year. The Bronx Bombers are riding a six-game winning streak thanks to consecutive sweeps of the Mets and Braves and they'll visit the equally red-hot Nationals in a three-game series this weekend. Here's the latest from Yankee Stadium...
- The Yankees don't consider Carlos Quentin as a fit for their needs, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The Yankees would want to fill left field with someone "speedier" than Quentin, which probably also means someone more defensively capable (Quentin has a career UZR/150 of - 9.1). MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith explored Quentin as a trade candidate in May and the Tigers were linked to Quentin earlier today.
- Chad Jennings of the Lohud Yankees blog looks at how Andre Ethier's recent extension with the Dodgers may impact Nick Swisher's free agent value this winter and Swisher's chances of re-signing with the Yankees.
- MLB.com's Bryan Hoch looks at a few Yankee hot stove topics in a fan mailbag, including the possibility of an Alfonso Soriano trade and how the Yankees could be trying to build Eduardo Nunez's trade value by playing him at several different positions.
The Tigers are interested in trading for Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (Twitter links). Quentin's $7MM salary could be an impediment for the Tigers, Morosi adds.
Quentin figures to be one of the best available hitters this summer. Since returning from arthroscopic knee surgery, the 29-year-old has a .421/.542/.921 batting line with five home runs in 48 plate appearances. However, the Padres could wait to make major trades until they settle their ownership situation.
There's room for improvement on Detroit's offense. Tigers right fielders rank second-last in MLB in OPS (.637) and the team's designated hitters rank last in the American League in OPS (.604). The Tigers could use Quentin as a designated hitter at the expense of Delmon Young or mix him in at the corner outfield positions along with Brennan Boesch and, once he's healthy, Andy Dirks.
The Padres could theoretically obtain compensatory draft picks for Quentin by retaining him and making him a qualifying offer after the season, when his contract expires (it still seems unlikely that they would make such an offer). If Quentin is traded, his new team wouldn't be able to obtain compensation picks under baseball's new collective bargaining agreement.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a new Full Count video up. Let's recap...
- Teams looking for rotation help should call the Diamondbacks about Joe Saunders. Arizona wants to get top prospect Trevor Bauer into their rotation, but right now there's just no room.
- The identity of the Padres' new owner will not be known before August, leaving the front office to make its own call on Carlos Quentin prior to the trade deadline. They could keep him and make him a qualifying offer after the season (entitling them to draft pick compensation), though they'd be gambling on future payroll before knowing the new owner's plans. The safest move could be trading the outfielder.
- The Cardinals will wait to hear more about Chris Carpenter's status before making a move for a veteran starting pitcher in the wake of Jaime Garcia's shoulder injury. St. Louis wanted Jeff Francis badly, but the timing wasn't right; Garcia appeared to be healthy when Francis hit the market.
- The Pirates have inquired about a number of corner infield bats, including Kevin Youkilis, Chase Headley, and Bryan LaHair. Some of those targets are more realistic than others, plus the trade market has yet to really materialize. There are far more buyers than sellers, though Pittsburgh has the pitching depth to swing a deal.
The free agent market will feature an unusually strong class of outfielders this coming offseason, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney writes. Josh Hamilton leads a group that includes Michael Bourn, Andre Ethier, Melky Cabrera, Shane Victorino, B.J. Upton and Carlos Quentin. However, teams are looking to avoid unnecessary long-term commitments, so it may not be possible for all of these players to cash in. Here are more notes from Olney:
- Cole Hamels’ contract talks with the Phillies remain dormant, Olney reports. Hamels is on track for free agency after the season, when he’ll be the top starting pitcher available.
- One general manager suggested the Orioles could become aggressive bidders for Hamilton, who will likely command an annual salary of $20MM-plus. "But [at that price] I don't think he's got a lot of places to go," the GM told Olney.
- Some MLB officials guesstimate Quentin could be in line for a deal in the four-year, $48MM range if he stays healthy and keeps hitting. Four years and $60MM isn’t out of the question, according to those officials.
- Personally I see Quentin signing for two or three years at an average annual value of $6-9MM. He'll turn 30 before the offseason, his defense isn't particularly well-regarded and injury questions persist, so I believe he'd do well to match Josh Willingham's three-year, $21MM deal.
The latest from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com..
- The Padres haven't given up the idea of signing to Carlos Quentin to an extension even though he figures to be the star hitter of the trade market, Heyman writes. However, the club's unsettled ownership situation could hurt the team's chances to retain him if it remains in limbo. Heyman suggests that Michael Cuddyer, who got $31.5MM for three years from the Rockies, and Josh Willingham, who got $21MM for three years from the Twins could be solid comps. Recently, Ben Nicholson-Smith looked at the veteran's stock on the trade market.
- The Rangers expect Josh Hamilton to file for free agency at the end of the year but still may try to sign him before the season is through, according to Heyman. The Rangers are believed to be willing to offer him a big annual salary but do not want to give a long-term deal along the lines of the Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, and Joey Votto. The Rangers have assigned a life coach to chaperone and monitor Hamilton, but people who have spoken to them say it has proven to be a very demanding job.