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MINNESOTA TWINS
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OF-R Carlos Quentin rejected assignment to Triple-A Rochester and elected free agency. [3/29]

Incurably blunt to the end, Carlos Quentin has made his feelings on the idea of a Triple-A assignment very clear. Twins general manger Terry Ryan said Quentin intends to end his comeback bid and return to retirement if he does not get a major-league opportunity.

Quentin, just 33 years old, came to Twins camp after announcing his retirement early into the 2015 season, citing nagging injuries for why he left the Mariners' Triple-A affiliate after just five lackluster games. He had himself a fine Spring all things considered (.250/.333/.500 with two home runs in 15 games) but not enough to turn the Twins away from encouraging signs from 24-year-old Oswaldo Arcia.

A healthy Carlos Quentin has never not mashed (.287 career TAv), but such a sight hasn't been seen since 2013, and even in his heyday, Quentin never so much as collected 600 plate appearances in a single season. Playing in the field is out of the question for Quentin, so it would take an AL team desperate for power on call and ready to take a big risk to cancel the retirement party. —James Fegan

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
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Released RHP Tim Stauffer. [3/29]

Brilliance obscures our sense of average. We forget that a man who can make 31 starts in the major leagues, and allow just 81 runs doing it, is not average. He is exceptional. It is only the blinding brilliance of his peers that makes his numbers seem anywhere near middle-of-the-road. Not everyone can do what he can. Most can’t. Most don’t come close.

His 3.97 career ERA doesn’t jump off the page. Neither does his 6.9 K/9 or his 3.1 BB/9. But one number does: 595 â…”. That’s the number of major-league innings Tim Stauffer has pitched to date, and it’s probably the number he’ll end up having pitched over his entire career, if things proceed as we expect them to. That’s a lot, in a world in which most people pitch no major-league innings at all. It’s too little, one imagines, if you’re Tim Stauffer. The Diamondbacks released Stauffer on Monday, making them the fourth team in 24 months to give up on his future.

The Padres drafted Stauffer with the fourth overall pick in the 2003—ahead of Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, and Andre Ethier—and saw the Saratoga Springs native throw 575 innings across nine seasons in Friars uniform. It could have been more. Maybe it should have been more. During his bonus negotiations, Stauffer and his agent proactively disclosed shoulder discomfort that had been bothering the right-hander since the end of the college season, thus leading to a significantly lower signing bonus ($750,000) than the Padres had initially offered ($2.6 million). "Their honesty and integrity is second to none,” said then-Padres scouting director Bill Gayton. “They didn't have to do that.”

But they did, and they should have. It was a torn labrum in his shoulder that cost Stauffer the entirety of the 2008 season, and (probably) kept him from living fully up to his exceptional potential. Last year, Stauffer struck out eight in 5 â…” innings for the NL Champion Mets! As it is, unless some non-contending team takes a flier on him, this is the end of Stauffer’s big-league career. Ten seasons. Nearly six hundred innings. A great deal of frustration. And brilliance beyond brilliance—but not brilliance enough. —Rian Watt

ATLANTA BRAVES
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Selected the contract of OF-R Jeff Francoeur [3/29]

The Braves are probably going to be very bad. They’ve shipped out almost every single trinket in their cupboard in an effort to rebuild their system and put a better team on the field when they open their new ballpark in 2017. In the meantime, however, things will be ugly in Atlanta.

That’s how Jeff Francoeur makes a team. The man formerly known as “The Natural” provided his first dose of positive value since 2011 by gracing the lowly Phillies with a whopping 0.1 WARP in 118 games. Though his .253 TAv was nothing to write an SI cover story about, he did manage to launch 13 home runs and still has a cannon to discourage baserunners and liven up the late innings of a blowout. Now, he’ll return home to the organization that he debuted with to so much fanfare.
It would make for a nice story if Frenchy suddenly did his best Roy Hobbs impersonation. However, Braves fans should probably set their expectations for somewhere around, well, Jeff Francoeur. —Nick Stellini

Released OF-S Nick Swisher. Swisher is still owed $7,500,000 each from Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians for the 2016 season. [3/28]

In the opening week of 2008, Ozzie Guillen, tasked with trying to fit the promising young Carlos Quentin into a lineup already heavy on clay-footed sluggers, looked around the room and settled his eyes on a newly acquired switch-hitter he thought could offer an unusual solution. With that, the concept of Nick Swisher, leadoff man and starting center fielder was born.

It did not last very long, and Swisher's tumultuous single year in Chicago for a long time served as the nadir of his career, but it's reflective of the kind of multi-dimensional talent Swisher was during his very long run as one of the top corner outfielders in the game. From 2005 to 2013, Swisher tallied a little over 3.0 WARP per year, hit 20 or more home runs each season, and reached base at a .358 clip.

Swisher was so steady PECOTA still likes the 35-year-old for a mild 1.3 WARP, .261 TAv bounce-back in 2016, even after two-straight negative-WARP campaigns troubled by surgeries on both knees, and the evaporation of his once metronome-like power (.122 ISO). The Braves are eating their half of Swisher's $15 million salary to release him, but in a rebuilding season, had little use for a Swisher revival in the last year of his deal even if it seemed more likely.

10 years from now, Swisher will still probably be able to roll out of bed and take a walk, but without power production and a defensive skill set better suit for first base at this point in his career, whether he keeps playing could rest on whether he wants to accept a Triple-A assignment, at 35 years of age and with over $75 million earned over his career. —James Fegan