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January 2, 2012

Transaction Analysis

A Petco Precursor?

by R.J. Anderson

SAN DIEGO PADRES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

            Acquired OF-R Carlos Quentin from the White Sox for RHP Simon Castro and LHP Pedro Hernandez. [12/31]

Back in December 2007, then-Arizona general manager Josh Byrnes traded Quentin to the White Sox for Chris Carter. Now serving as the Padres’ main man, Byrnes has attempted to quench his lineup’s thirst for power by acquiring Quentin in a surprising deal.

There are no questions about it. Quentin brings power and hit-by-pitches by the truckload. His 71 home runs over the last three seasons are the 31st-most in the game, and more than glamorous free-agent outfielder signings Josh Willingham and Michael Cuddyer. Meanwhile, no batter is more accustomed to being struck by pitches over that duration than Quentin. Only Chase Utley, with two fewer beanings in nearly 250 more plate appearances, is within 15 plunkings of Quentin. Everyone else may as well be playing a different game.

Those home runs and hit-by-pitches have fueled Quentin’s .245/.336/.479 line over the last three seasons. That is an above-average line, no doubt, but one that falls shy of Quentin’s 2008. Back then, Quentin hit 36 home runs, drove in 100 runs, and hit .288/.394/.571, all the while looking like a golden feather in Kenny Williams' hat. Alas, failure to meet unrealistic expectations is not the only black mark on Quentin’s record.

Defense and durability are the other weaknesses in Quentin’s game. Unfortunate, since the National League’s rules could further expose Quentin. Defensive metrics go haywire in analyzing Quentin’s 2011 performance, but the long-term consensus is that he is below average. Embarrassment is the least of the Padres’ fears when it comes to Quentin’s defense, as the potential for injury is more worrisome. The injury-prone label is cruel—but appropriate—when a player misses at least three weeks in four of the past five seasons like Quentin has.

Should Quentin succumb to injury—or heck, a late-inning defensive replacement—the Padres can choose his successor from a number of options. Assuming Yonder Alonso opens the season as the club’s first baseman, then that leaves no fewer than seven other corner-outfield options near the top of the Padres’ depth chart. Some of those options are uninspiring, but they are options nonetheless, and that is a good thing. Quentin is eligible for free agency at season’s end, and that, along with the Padres’ unlikely playoff aspirations, means he could be on the move by the trade deadline.

Calling the Padres’ acquisition of Quentin a precursor to another move—either now or later—is a safe bet. But the real action is on how many times Quentin causes Arizona fans to curse him and Byrnes’s name in the interim. – R.J. Anderson


  

 

R.J. Anderson is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see R.J.'s other articles. You can contact R.J. by clicking here

20 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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Richard Bergstrom

Missing half the write-up?

Dec 31, 2011 14:23 PM
rating: 3
 
juiced

Just a head scratcher. Makes little sense

Dec 31, 2011 15:32 PM
rating: 1
 
JoeSky60

Probably waiting for KG to write up the minor-leaguers, but he's too busy trying to get Kanye West to DJ for him tonight, and responding to moronic tweets.

Dec 31, 2011 15:53 PM
rating: -2
 
Richard Bergstrom

Well, we got this new transaction tool, which ties into these analyses, so I was just curious if this was it or not.. because if it is, it'd be problematic to link it to the White Sox.

The Marshall trade never got finished up either.

Dec 31, 2011 16:03 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Dave Pease
BP staff
(2)

our hard-working writers are going to take the rest of 2011 off... I'm expecting we'll have something to say about the relief pitching prospects the White Sox got in 2012, but for now--they're relief pitching prospects!

Have a happy and safe New Year, everyone.

Dec 31, 2011 20:35 PM
 
Richard Bergstrom

Someone was busy... WARP and VORP added a decimal place.

Jan 01, 2012 21:46 PM
rating: 0
 
chuckmotl

"more than glamorous free-agent outfielder signings Josh Willingham and Michael Cuddyer"

Am I the only one that doesn't see those two as glamorous?

Dec 31, 2011 15:58 PM
rating: 1
 
Richard Bergstrom

The Twins and Rockies found them glamorous.

Dec 31, 2011 16:01 PM
rating: 3
 
silviomossa

I don't think he meant the "glamorous" comment literally. Anyway, this trade makes little sense for either team. I'm sure we'll hear more about it after the holidays.

Dec 31, 2011 17:36 PM
rating: 1
 
ScottyB

"Glamorous" in the sense of one man's trash is another man's treasure, I guess.

I don't understand the Willingham, Cuddyer or Quentin acquisitions at all- overpaying for utterly replaceable talent

Jan 01, 2012 09:03 AM
rating: 0
 
Ogremace

Overpaying, sure, but I'm not sure Willingham is "utterly replaceable". Do the Twins have someone in the minors who can hit 30 home runs and OBP .350?

Jan 01, 2012 11:25 AM
rating: 2
 
jtwalsh

Another unimpressive haul for the White Sox. Not impressed with the "rebuilding" project so far. I would have kept Quentin and taken the draft pick in 2013 after he leaves after 2012. I would think that Quentin could have gathered a better prospect.

Dec 31, 2011 16:13 PM
rating: 1
 
Randy Brown
(189)

Will Quentin yield a draft pick in 2013? He's only had one season better than 2 wins, and that was 4 years ago. And now he is going to play the 2012 season at Death to Flying Things Park. With the new CBA in place next offseason, it seems unlikely that he'll get an offer that would place him in the top 125 paid players.

Dec 31, 2011 21:40 PM
rating: 2
 
Ogremace

They can't even commit to rebuilding properly, much less actually accomplish it.

Jan 01, 2012 11:26 AM
rating: 1
 
mcbellows

Considering Castro was rated as the 20th best prospect and Hernandez was not on KG's list I would say the haul is not impressive.

Dec 31, 2011 21:50 PM
rating: 0
 
Scott
(296)

I don't find this to be a bad article by any stretch - yet I find myself wondering if it is quite fair to Quentin. No, he is not a particularly good defensive outfielder on a consistent basis. Yet it seems to be a surprise to a lot of folks to see him making good and even a few great plays on balls that most "comparable" OF's would be playing into doubles. When I have seen him play RF, I have felt that he might be better off in LF or 1B - but I never had the impression that he was an error waiting to happen, either - and there are plenty of those guys who manage to carve out a career. A move to LF in Petco would seem to be in order, with Maybin to help cover some of his ground when necessary in CF.
Sending a power hitter to Petco is a bit like sending Superman to the green Kryptonite waiting room. OTOH, he will play 81 games outside Petco as well (or 50 or so, if you seem him as a trade-deadline escapee), and will have an opportunity to rake there.

Jan 01, 2012 11:00 AM
rating: 0
 
ofMontreal

I agree with you on all points. Unfortunately the Padres seem to have a lot of redundancy at first & left. But maybe they are building the position depth before Rizzo & Blanks get shipped to Chicago the NL?

Jan 01, 2012 12:06 PM
rating: 0
 
floydwicker

Dead link to depth chart

Jan 01, 2012 19:21 PM
rating: 0
 
RedsManRick

Looks like a value buy to me. Quentin will fetch more than that at some point in the next 6 months.

Jan 01, 2012 20:41 PM
rating: 0
 
Robotey

Ironically Padres will get more out of flipping Quentin than the White Sox will get trading him now. Chisox blew it by not dealing him at last year's break, surely he would have fetched a more impressive package then.

Jan 02, 2012 08:16 AM
rating: 1
 
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