Carlos Quentin Rumors
If Carlos Quentin keeps hitting and the 17-35 Padres continue struggling, contending teams figure to call about the left fielder this summer. In a trade market that seemingly features little power, Quentin’s right-handed bat will have considerable value.
The 29-year-old recently returned to the Padres’ lineup after missing nearly two months to recover from arthroscopic knee surgery. So far, the results have been remarkable. He has seven hits, including three home runs, in 12 trips to the plate. It’s a small sample, of course, but in more than 2400 career plate appearances the two-time All-Star has a .254/.347/.496 batting line. In other words, Quentin offers an attractive combination of on-base skills and power as a hitter. On defense, he’s sure-handed and has decent range with a below-average throwing arm, according to The Fielding Bible Volume III.
Quentin will earn $7.03MM this season before hitting free agency. Similar players -- think Josh Willingham, Jason Kubel and Luke Scott -- are worth $6-8MM on the free agent market, which means a qualifying offer in the $12-3MM range seems highly unlikely. The Padres won’t be getting draft picks for Quentin, so a trade appears to be the only way for the team to obtain a long-term asset for the left fielder.
When GM Josh Byrnes acquired Quentin last December, he sent minor league left-hander Pedro Hernandez and right-hander Simon Castro, a former top-100 prospect, to the White Sox. The Padres may be able to acquire better prospects if Quentin’s knee holds up and his bat returns to form. As I mentioned before, there doesn’t seem to be much power on the trade market (Alfonso Soriano could probably be had, but he earns $18MM in 2013 and 2014, which makes things messy). And it could take a while for bats to become available because more teams than ever are within striking distance of a playoff berth.
Once Quentin plays enough to show he is healthy, Byrnes could make him available and wait for other teams to start making offers. The Indians, Orioles and Dodgers are among the teams that might have interest in adding a right-handed hitting outfielder with power in the next eight weeks. If Quentin is healthy the Padres may come out ahead this summer and trade him for better prospects than the ones they surrendered to acquire him.
Photo courtesy of US Presswire. I discussed Quentin and the Padres yesterday on XTRA Sports 1360 in San Diego.
The Cubs are trying to break an 11-game losing streak, their longest in 15 years, as they take on the Pirates this afternoon at PNC Park. Manager Dale Sveum has changed closers, according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. Sveum didn't reveal who would replace Rafael Dolis if a save opportunity presents itself, but Sullivan writes he did mention James Russell and Casey Coleman.
Here are some more links on this Sunday before Memorial Day.
- MLB.com's Mark Bowman tweets the Braves may be looking for starting pitching because of the struggles of Mike Minor and Jair Jurrjens. Bowman cautions money will be an issue.
- Manager Bud Black told reporters including Bill Center of the San Diego Union Tribune that Carlos Quentin could make his Padres debut this week when the team travels to Chicago. Quentin has yet to play this season because of knee surgery performed in March.
- Chase Utley also hasn't seen action in 2012 because of a knee injury. Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com writes Utley is feeling better but there is still no timetable for his minor league rehab. Salisbury points out Utley has been working in left field to ease the strain on his knees and to work on his agility.
- Kevin Mulvey has retired, reports ESPN New York's Adam Rubin. Mulvey had been pitching in relief with the Mets' Double-A affiliate. Mulvey was part of the Johan Santana trade and rejoined the Mets late in spring training after being released by the Diamondbacks.
Roy Halladay is pitching differently this year, according to pitch f/x data and team officials who spoke to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Though Halladay remains effective, he’s relying on different weapons than the ones he used in the past. Here are Rosenthal’s latest rumors:
- The Royals have lost ten consecutive games, but GM Dayton Moore says it’s not always bad to scuffle. “I’m not shocked that we’re struggling out of the gate,” Moore told Rosenthal. “Although you expect good things to happen, we’re very young.” Rosenthal cites a scout who was “decidedly unimpressed” by the Royals’ play this weekend.
- Rosenthal suggests the Padres might be inclined to trade Carlos Quentin if he hits well once he returns from knee surgery in May. Rosenthal wonders if the Padres might look to sign Quentin to a two-year deal in the $18-20MM range if he has a decent season.
- Many teams are intimidated by Wandy Rodriguez’s contract, Rosenthal reports. The left-hander earns $10MM in 2012 and $13MM in 2013. The Astros hold a $13MM club option for 2014, but it becomes a player option if they trade him.
- Some executives were surprised the Reds committed $72.5MM to Brandon Phillips when some of their best prospects (Billy Hamilton and Didi Gregorius) are middle infielders.
- Adam Dunn looks more comfortable at the plate this year, one scout says.
A few items to pass along out of MLB's west divisions ...
- The stalled sale of the Padres leaves the team's ownership situation a mess, writes Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune, who adds that the prolonged uncertainty hampers the odds of signing outfielder Carlos Quentin to a long-term extension, which was the objective when he was acquired from the White Sox.
- Mariners outfielder Trayvon Robinson told Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times that he was confused and disappointed by last season's three-way trade that sent him from his hometown Dodgers to the Mariners via the Red Sox. Robinson said he was first told he was going to Boston while he was reading on Twitter that he was in fact going to Seattle.
- The Dodgers hosted Steve Cohen at their Spring Training complex on Saturday, writes Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. Cohen is considered by some to be the favorite to win the bidding for the franchise, according to Gurnick. Outgoing owner Frank McCourt was also in attendance.
- Yoenis Cespedes still remains something of a mystery to even the Athletics, the team that invested $36MM in the Cuban outfielder, explains Richard Justice of MLB.com. "We know less about this guy than anybody in camp," A's manager Bob Melvin said Saturday. "It's a huge question." Cespedes went 2-for-2 with a homer and two RBIs in his Spring Training debut on Saturday.
Here's the latest out of San Diego...
- Cameron Maybin has switched agents and is now once again represented by Brian Goldberg, reports MLB.com's Corey Brock (Twitter link). Maybin was previously represented by Robert Baratta. Goldberg was Maybin's original agent when he first entered the Major Leagues.
- Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune thinks the Padres will revisit extension talks with Maybin during Spring Training. MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith examined Maybin as an extension candidate last month. Center also thinks the Padres will wait to see how Carlos Quentin performs before exploring a multiyear deal with him.
- Also as part of Center's weekly chat with fans, he discusses Micah Owings' role with the team and why owner Jeffrey Moorad "forbids" incentive-laden contracts.
- Owings' contract with the Padres is a split deal that will pay the right-hander a minor league salary if he's optioned down, tweets Dan Hayes of the North County Times. The contract doesn't include an opt-out clause if Owings is not on the Major League roster by a certain date.
Dozens of arbitration eligible players have agreed to deals with their respective teams today and we've been tracking all of the developments right here. Several teams, including the Rays, Nationals, Marlins, White Sox, Blue Jays, Braves, and perhaps Astros, are known for committing to going to hearings if they get to the point of filing. Keep track of all the madness with MLBTR's arbitration tracker, which shows settlement amounts, filing figures, and midpoints. Today's players to avoid arbitration on deals worth less than $4MM:
- The Cardinals avoided arbitration with pitcher Kyle McClellan, tweets B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest. Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (on Twitter) that the one-year deal is worth $2.5MM with incentives based on starts. MLBTR projected a $2.7MM for the Steve Comte client.
- MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith reports (on Twitter) that the Padres and Chase Headley agreed to a one-year deal worth $3.475MM, avoiding arbitration. Earlier this evening, the Padres announced that they avoided arbitration with Luke Gregerson, Edinson Volquez, Carlos Quentin and Will Venable. They also avoided arbitration with lefty reliever Joe Thatcher on a deal worth $700K, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. CAA announced catcher John Baker has signed for $750K. Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune first reported that the Padres reached agreements with Hundley, Chase Headley, and Tim Stauffer. Hundley will earn $2MM in 2012, MLB.com's Corey Brock tweets. Dan Hayes of the North County Times tweets the salaries for Volquez ($2.2375MM), Venable ($1.475MM), Gregerson ($1.55MM)
- The Rangers avoided arbitration with Matt Harrison, tweets Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News. The ACES client gets $2.95MM on a one-year deal. MLBTR had projected a $2.9MM salary.
- The Cubs announced that they have avoided arbitration with Jeff Baker ($1.375MM), Blake DeWitt ($1.1MM), Ian Stewart ($2.237MM) Chris Volstad ($2.655MM), and Randy Wells ($2.705MM). MLB.com's Carrie Muskat tweeted the salary figures.
The Padres announced that they avoided arbitration with outfielder Carlos Quentin and Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets that the sides agreed to a $7.025MM salary for 2012. MLBTR had projected a $6.6MM salary for the CAA client.
The Padres have already pulled off two major offseason trades under GM Josh Byrnes, sending Mat Latos to Cincinnati and obtaining Carlos Quentin from the White Sox. “We’re not in total go-for-it mode, but we can make some choices,” Byrnes said, according to Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Here are details from Center’s recent look ahead to the rest of the San Diego’s offseason:
- The Padres acquired Quentin from the White Sox with the notion that they could extend him, Byrnes said.
- The Padres have already discussed signing Cameron Maybin to a deal that would buy out one or two of his free agent years, according to Center. We heard late in December that the Padres were set to re-start contract talks with the center fielder, who’s on track to hit free agency after 2015.
- No payroll model would have allowed the Padres to re-sign Adrian Gonzalez for $20-25MM per season, according to Byrnes. Former Padres GM Jed Hoyer dealt Gonzalez to Boston for prospects Casey Kelly, Reymond Fuentes and Anthony Rizzo last offseason.
- The Padres were reluctant to offer Heath Bell a third year this offseason, Center writes.
- The Padres could sign a pitcher or two before Spring Training and San Diego native Joel Zumaya is high on Byrnes’ wish list, Center notes.
- Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner would like to see the Mariners pursue Will Venable, "probably one of the more underrated players in the sport."
- The Padres figured prominently on Tim Dierkes' list of the offseason's most surprising trades so far.
Here's a look at some Red Sox items courtesy of WEEI.com's Rob Bradford..
- Prior to him being traded to the Padres earlier today, the Red Sox weren't engaged in talks for Carlos Quentin, a major league source tells Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. One of the major concerns from Boston's perspective, according to the source, was the 29-year-old’s ability to play right field in Fenway Park.
- The Red Sox never got the sense that Ryan Madson's price would drop enough to make him a viable option. Multiple big league execs surmise that Madson’s agent, Scott Boras, is looking for a deal similar to the one he landed for Yankees set-up man Rafael Soriano. Boras managed to get Soriano a three-year, $35MM deal last offseason after the market for closers appeared to have dried up.
- Boston could stand pat and take care of their right field situation with in-house solutions. The newly-acquired Ryan Sweeney could split time Darnell McDonald and converted infielder Mike Aviles could also factor in. Ryan Kalish should be in the mix too upon recovering from shoulder surgery.
The Padres have acquired Carlos Quentin from the White Sox for pitching prospects Simon Castro and Pedro Hernandez, the teams announced. It's the second time Padres GM Josh Byrnes and White Sox GM Kenny Williams have gotten together for a trade involving Quentin; Byrnes was the Diamondbacks GM when the outfielder was traded from Arizona to the ChiSox in 2007.
Quentin, 29, grew up in San Diego and will instantly add some power to the offensively challenged Padres' lineup. The right-hander hitter produced a .254/.340/.499 batting line with 24 homers in 2011, and he's hit .257/.352/.505 with at least 21 homers per year from '08-'11.
During his time in Chicago, the outfielder has battled shoulder, foot, hamstring, and wrist problems, requiring four separate stints on the disabled list. We project him to earn $7.5MM his third time through arbitration in 2012 before becoming a free agent after the season. On the surface, the deal appears to be a cost-cutting measure for the White Sox.
Castro, a 23-year-old right-hander, was ranked as the Padres third best prospect at this time last year by Baseball America but was left off of this year's top ten list. In 2009, Castro was tabbed as the best pitcher in the Padres system after turning in a 3.33 ERA with 10.1 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 for the club's Single-A affiliate. The 6-foot-5 hurler started off 2011 with Double-A San Antonio before being promoted to Triple-A Tucson. Combined, Castro posted a 5.63 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 2011.
Hernandez, 22, was also left off of Baseball America's top ten list of Padres prospects in 2011. The left-hander worked his way up from Class-A+ Lake Elsinore to San Antonio and finished the year in Tuscon. In total, Hernandez turned in 116 innings of work with a 3.49 ERA, 7.3 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9.
Neither prospect was ranked among the top 25 in San Diego's system by John Sickels of Minor League Ball while Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus had Castro tabbed at No. 20. Goldstein writes that Castro has "gone backwards from [his] big prospect days" and cites the fastball as his only dependable pitch.
Zach Links contributed to this post.