Why the Padres should trade for Carlos Quentin


Carlos Quentin would fill a need with the San Diego Padres. (Robert Beck/Sports Illustrated)

Let’s get right to it: Why should the Padres trade for Carlos Quentin? Well, for starters Quentin is under team control for another year for a reasonable price. He also has ties to former partial owner Jeff Moorad of the Diamondbacks, now Padres (CEO), from Quentin’s days in Arizona. We already saw another former client of Moorad reportedly sign this week, Mark Kotsay.

The Padres need to emphasize right-handed pull hitters in PETCO Park, while cutting down on strikeouts. Well, Quentin fits both bills. While he’s not an ideal defender in right field, let’s be realistic, there’s only so many trade partner matches. Is it realistic to find an elite prospect who should bode well in PETCO and is also young, cheap and possessing all the major criteria (right-handed pull power, speed, defense and low K ratio)? How many of those prospects are around or available? Not many. Two teams have to match up well, and I think the Padres and White Sox fit well given the state of each team’s direction.

The Padres now have one of the better farm systems in baseball. I’m not sure exactly what the White Sox would be asking for, (they have many holes) but the Padres should easily be able to present a player or prospect package for consideration. Quentin, who is third-time arbitration eligible, made $5.05 million last year. So, even with Quentin due for another raise, he should be a nice fit considering the Padres payroll should start at $54M according to Moorad. I realize that’s nowhere near ideal, even in small-market San Diego. However, the Padres are slowly climbing up from last year’s overall payroll of $45.9 million and could have much more flexibility if Heath Bell tests the free-agent market, which looks very likely at this point.

If you look at Quentin’s spray chart, not many balls are hit to right-center field, where PETCO Park swallows fly balls. He’s a dead pull-hitter, which should profile well in PETCO, where the ball carries better to left field. Today on MLBTraderumors.com, we heard White Sox GM Kenny Williams received at least one surprising trade proposal while in Milwaukee at the winter meetings. Now, that doesn’t by any means link Quentin to the Padres, and it’s a very vague statement. Having said that, I would think it would strike many in the industry as surprising and fitting.

The Padres currently have Will Venable set to be the starting right fielder come 2012 barring any significant signings or trades. The Padres also have Jesus Guzman who has been playing left field and first base in the Venezuelan League. However, we should keep in mind that Guzman’s bat is what keeps him in the lineup. He is nowhere ideal for PETCO Park playing defense, especially in the outfield. In fact, he’s destined to be an AL DH.

The Padres also have internal-prospect options such as, James Darnell, Blake Tekotte and, down the road, Jaff Decker, who is a bit farther away and continuing his seasoning. Darnell, could be another option. He’s shown to be a natural third baseman during his pro career, yet he was getting playing time in the minors last year in the outfield for the first time. He also missed playing in the Arizona Fall League due to dislocating his non-throwing shoulder during a diving attempt, hindering any chance of further seasoning in the outfield before the 2012 season.

Tekotte also made his debut last year among a slew of other young Padres because of myriad injuries. It remains to be seen if Tekotte is looked at as an internal upgrade now or for the future. He has some pop and could develop into a nice number-one or two hitter. Some scouts believe he is destined as a fourth outfielder. Decker had a roller-coaster season last year and is at least a year away from making his debut. He needs to remain healthy and produce.

It would make sense for the Padres to go after a player who is under contract for one year, giving the internal-option players time to develop. This allows management time to assess player progress as well as the market. Quentin also has had health issues over the years, which could give the never-gun-shy Williams even more incentive to move him, given the state of the team and Quentin’s raise in 2012.

Quentin had a .254/.340/.499 slash line, hit 31 doubles, 24 homers and 77 RBI while striking out only 84 times in 421 AB. Almost identical to his career line of 252/.346/.490. Quentin is also a very productive hitter with men on base. He’s a career .284/.372/.538 with runners on base, and even more impressive with runners in scoring position, batting a cool .286/.383/.528. He also destroys the ball with the bases loaded, with an impressive .309/.369/.709 career line.

If he can stay healthy, he could be a very nice fit in San Diego. A Bellflower, CA, native, Quentin is hitting his prime and, once again, has ties to the current front office who picked him (although not under Moorad personally) at Arizona in the first round (29th overall) of the 2003 amateur draft. Could this be the first major move the new Padres GM Josh Byrnes makes? It would be ironic given Byrnes is the one who dealt him when he was in Arizona. Tell me what you think.

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  1. Headley + would be too much. Also, don’t forget Jedd Gyorko. He looks to be on the fast track in the organization and will probably be Headley’s successor. Rincon, in my opinion will be moved to a corner outfield spot. Darnell still could be destined for a corner outfield spot as well, but only time/seasoning and production will dictate where he ends up.

    Point is, these teams could match up well. Padres farm is stocked. The Padres also have a few players who may not fit in their future plans. 

  2. Venable and/or Headley could be in a deal along with a pitcher, I’d assume. Pads are getting deeper at 3b – forsythe, darnell and rincon are all options.

  3. Venable and/or Headley could be in a deal along with a pitcher, I’d assume. Pads are getting deeper at 3b – forsythe, darnell and rincon are all options.

  4. What’s a “Hefty price tag” for you or I, might differ for the Sox or Padres, either from a talent perspective (value), or players who fit in their future philosophy. The fact that Quentin is injury prone doesn’t exactly raise his value either. 

  5. “The Padres just can’t afford to give up a prospect like Jaff Decker or Robbie Erlin for a year of Carlos Quentin.”
    In regards to Decker specifically, they can if they (the new regime) do not view him as a player who can fit the FO philosophy of trying to “play Petco into an advantage”.

    The Padres are paying on their debt, and will continue to raise payroll.

  6. The consensus around Baseball, by the “experts” is the Padres have one of the better systems in baseball. Do they have many top high ceiling players? No. 

    Here is a Q & A with Jim Callis of Baseball America regarding the Padres farm system and his response.

    Q: The Padres farm system seems to be improving every year. How many of their top prospects will be considered for Baseball America’s next Top 100 Prospects list? Where does San Diego stack up in terms of its farm system? Will the Padres improve from last year’s No. 8 ranking?

    A: The Padres system definitely is looking up. Many of their top prospects coming into the season had terrific years in the minors, including first baseman Anthony Rizzo, third baseman Jedd Gyorko and third baseman/outfielder James Darnell. Others took big steps forward, most notably outfielder Rymer Liriano and righthander Keyvious Sampson. San Diego also has added plenty of talent via the draft (starting with first-rounders Cory Spangenberg and Joe Ross), trades (getting lefty Robbie Erlin and righty Joe Wieland from the Rangers for Mike Adams) and the international market ($1.1 million for Venezuelan catcher Jose Ruiz).

    The Padres have one of the better farm systems in baseball, and I expect their ranking to move up from No. 8. They had 18 different players make our various minor league Top 20 Prospects lists, tying the Rays for the most of any organization.

    When we unveil our 2012 Top 100 Prospects next spring, I anticipate that the list will include Rizzo, Gyorko, Liriano and Erlin for sure, with several other San Diego farmhands having a shot. Other candidates include Darnell, righthander Casey Kelly, Ross, Sampson, Spangenberg and Wieland.

    Could easily be top 5 in all of Baseball.

    You are suggesting it would add to a crowded outfield. However, it remains to be seen how the new regime views their internal options. Is Darnell looked at as a legit prospect for the OF? Denorfia is a 4th OF, so is Cunningham. They have many of those. I like Tekotte, but being a left handed hitter in Petco they could easily move him. Also, some view him as a 4th OF. So, it remains to be seen if the Padres have a “crowded outfield”. Does the new regime view Blanks as a OF or 1B?

  7. The Padres just can’t afford to give up a prospect like Jaff Decker or Robbie Erlin for a year of Carlos Quentin. The White Sox can afford to extend him if they wish so there is no reason for them to give Quentin away for anything less than a top 5 player in the Padres system plus another top 20 player. This would be silly for the Padres to trade 6 years of Decker, Erlin, or another top prospect for a year of an injury prone corner outfielder.

  8. Richard and Darnell? Seriously? I think you are underestimating their value. I mean, maybe the Sox do not value those players, but value wise, that’s actually very fair, if not too much. Richard’s home/away disparities are not ideal by any means, but adding a viable lefty and a top prospect like Darnell who’s bat should translate anywhere on the diamond would be a very nice haul for Quentin.

    The problem is again,. it’s hard to say what the Sox value vs what you are I do.

    As for Rizzo or Kelly, the blame would be Hoyer and Byrnes would have an easier way to justify any deal. Especially for a player they thought might fit the profile more ideally. Brett Jackson say?

    Why not do both? Trade for Quentin, give up Blanks, Rizzo, Headley or pitching to bring in Brett Jackson, move Quentin to LF and have an OF of Maybin, Quentin and Jackson. If they have reservations on their internal options fitting for Petco park. Which, I am not so sure they do.

  9. I can see the Padres moving Darnell, Denorfia or Cunningham in some kind of a deal and maybe a pitcher like Richard. But that’s not enough to get Quentin. It would make the front office look foolish to trade Rizzo or Kelly, unless the blame is put on Hoyer.

    The Padres don’t have a lot of clout to negotiate a significant trade. I believe Byrnes should continue to pursue lower level free agents for one year deals, try to stay competitive next season, and buy some time to see which kids are really good enough to stick around. Then you make some decisions.

  10. I totally agree. The Padres farm is not “one of the better in baseball”, as the article claims. Improved, yes,  but more development is needed to fully recover from the Towers years. Dealing for Carlos would only add to a crowded outfield, and now they just signed Kotsay.The  Padres need to get stronger behind the plate and up the middle. They should have grabbed Doumit, but now he’s gone.

  11. Unfortunately, this makes little sense for the Padres. The White Sox will not give CQ away without a hefty price tag. The Padres can’t afford to cut into their farm system where they are finally starting to build depth. The Padres do need to find a player they can lockup long term, but Quentin is one of the most injury prone players in the game, making this a bad idea for SD on many fronts. Sorry.

  12. He might not fit the puzzle now. However, its hard to say how the new regime feels internally about guys like Blanks, Darnell or Rizzo. 

    As for him being a waste on a one-year contract, it depends on what the Padres do the rest of the off-season, it’s still very early. As I mentioned below, they would have to put together a supporting cast. Given the internal recourses, I think they can do so. As for extending him, why not? He’s coming into his prime, and if one of the internal options comes up, you can always move him to LF where defensively he would fair better. The payroll is suppose to continuously go up. 

  13. The Padres now have one of the better farms in baseball. They could package a regular player in hopes he fairs better in Chicago, such as Venable or maybe a prospect like Darnell who may not be the right fit? The point is, there are many prospects that are attractive. Also, the depth of pitching is deep. While I wouldn’t want to give up one of the higher touted pitching prospects for him, we have several. They might now all be projected Ace’s, but are pitchers who will make an impact very soon. The Padres need to put an emphasis on offensive production.

  14. Great thought process Mickey…..What do you see the Pads having to give up for him?  Not sure you start dipping into the arms in the minors yet, but you do have the glut of corner guys that in a package may work?

  15. Actually, Mickey, Carlos was a high school star in San Diego. So, yes, signing him might make the fans a bit less bitter about Adrian Gonzalez. But he’s been dogged by injuries, as was mentioned, and doesn’t really fit the San Diego puzzle. The Petco outfield is crowded, unless you trade  Venable and Tekotte, which would negate the speed factor. I’ve been critical of Blanks, but he’s a great athlete and still very young. Guzman and Rizzo make the perfect platoon at first base. Quentin is a class act and a great role model, like Adrian. But signing him to a one year contract would be a waste because the Padres aren’t going to win next season anyway. And a long-term deal would be financially prohibitive. Sorry, but I don’t buy it.

  16. Have to disagree with you regarding Ceiling and Guzman. He’s not really a prospect. And older player who stuck in the minors because of his poor glove. Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Blanks have the potential to both be stars and both much younger, especially Rizzo. While Guzman’s story is nice, he is a pure hitter, he is still destined for an AL team as a DH. He can barely get by at 1B. As they say, he can “hide” out at first. 

    I also don’t believe if they acquired Jackson they would stand pat. Like I implied before, I think they could go after another hitter with one of the internal prospects.

    We saw something similar to what you are alluding to with Ryan Ludwick. However, Ryan Ludwick is a K machine. I also could see bounce back years from the top of the order in Bartlett and Hudson. I don’t really disagree with any of your points, but believe the Padres could easily build a supporting cast around him. 

  17. Only problem is, those players you mentioned are not proven consistent players or young players that are prone to cold streaks. Quentin needs a solid consistent supporting cast around him … if those other guys are struggling, which they will as they are young (Guzman did extremely well and I think he has the highest ceiling out of them) then I think Pitchers just wont pitch to Quentin. He will end up not playing his game and swinging at pitches that shouldn’t be swung at. 

    If they get Quentin, they will need someone else hitting in front or behind him that is consistently an on base threat. 

  18. “He’s the type of player that will need protection though, if he’s the only star, I don’t think he will excel or produce well.”
    I agree. However, I think with the emergence of Cameron Maybin, a healthy Kyle Blanks and Jesus Gusman at first with top prospect Anthony Rizzo, they will have a balanced lineup with solid protection. Also, when Nick Hundley was healthy, he looked like he was a middle of the order hitter. 

    I don’t think it would even take one of the Padres key top prospects in return that are on their future plans.

    I’m really looking forward to watching a full season with Kyle Blanks in LF. I believe he can be a special player. My only concern, his big body holding up in the outfield. 

    I could also see the Padres trading Blanks (unfortunately) to bring back another outfielder they may feel can profile better in Petco park. Cubs comes to mind. Rizzo would I could also see being in the Cubs/hoyer’s radar. 

  19. Quentin is a good player. The Braves were targeting him last year at the trade deadline for some pop in the middle of the lineup. He is a presence in the lineup and strikes fear in pitchers. In a stacked lineup, you can’t pitch around him, which makes him even more dangerous. He’s the type of player that will need protection though, if he’s the only star, I don’t think he will excel or produce well.

    Quentin is a great player for a one year deal. Having Quentin locked down for many years would make most GM’s a little worried as he’s injury prone and his stats have somewhat declined in recent years. 

    If the Pads can get him without giving up a top prospect, I say go for him. I’m sure the Sox will throw in some cash as well to offset it. 

  20. Why is the contract no good? He will be more affordable than some FA right fielder, or at least comparable. It’s hard to attract anyone ti sign a FA contract in Petco. One year deal would let the Padres evaluate their internal options while deciding if they wanted to extend Quentin. Also, they could always trade for another Cameron Maybin like player (like last year) and move Quentin to LF to better suit Petco park. Of course that would mean possibly moving Blanks. 

  21. I am not sure this is a good fit. Stats yes but contract situation is no good. Pads need to get out of the 1 year deal notion and sign or bring up talent in the minors. All that will happen here is we trade a prospect or 2 and have a rental player. I don’t see that as an advantage. If Quentin signs a deal then cool but not with 1 year deal.

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