The Twins have agreed to a minor league contract with outfielder Carlos Quentin, according to Jon Heyman (Twitter links). He’ll receive an invitation to MLB camp, per Heyman, and would earn $750K if he makes the MLB roster, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweets. Quentin also picks up a June 1 opt-out opportunity if he hasn’t been added to the roster, per Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (via Twitter).
It had appeared that the veteran was headed toward retirement, though more recent indications were that he would pursue a return to the majors. His representatives have suggested he could factor in at first base or DH in addition to his usual corner outfield role.
Quentin, 33, was released last winter after he was shipped from the Padres to the Braves as part of the contract balancing equation in the (first) Craig Kimbrel trade. He caught on with the Mariners on a minor league deal, but appeared only briefly at Triple-A Tacoma before calling off his attempt to work back.
We last saw Quentin in the majors in 2014, when he scuffled to a .177/.284/.315 batting line while dealing with a steady progression of injuries. Of course, he’s done much more previously. Over the 2009 through 2013 campaigns, Quentin posted a strong .252/.346/.485 slash. While he’s never rated well as a defender, that robust production shows that the bat has never been much of an issue.
Minnesota certainly has little to lose by giving Quentin a shot at a return, but it’s not immediately clear how he’d fit in the club’s plans. The organization made a fairly significant investment in Byung-ho Park, who also profiles as a defensively-limited, right-handed slugger. And the club seemingly has the corner outfield covered with Miguel Sano (who’ll convert from third base), Eddie Rosario, prospect Max Kepler, and the still-youthful Oswaldo Arcia. First base remains occupied by Joe Mauer, with Park factoring as a part-time stand-in.
There’s always the possibility that Quentin could squeeze onto the roster as a veteran bench piece. But players such as Eduardo Nunez and Danny Santana look to be favorites to grab 25-man spots, given their youth and defensive flexibility for a club that has some questions in center and at short. Both Nunez and Santana are out of options, as is the left-handed-hitting Arcia, who may be facing his final shot in Minnesota.
For what it’s worth, though he hits from the right side, Quentin has actually been somewhat better against opposing righties over his career. If nothing else, he’ll provide a veteran option and some competition for the less-established players currently on hand.