Analyzing the Quentin Addition, Part I: The Trade
It’s probably a bit early to objectively assess the performance of Friars GM Josh Byrnes to this point in his tenure. After all, he didn’t join the franchise until December of 2010 and wasn’t named the club’s GM until nearly a year afterwards. To be fair Byrnes probably deserves another year or two before he can be judged. That being said, it’s not too early to grade one of his first significant transactions; the trade for and subsequent re-signing of OF Carlos Quentin.
My original intent was to do this in one post. However, when I began closing in on 1,700 words I realized I needed to either split it up or risk writing something so unwieldy no one would enjoy it. So we’re going to analyze the Quentin transactions in two pieces; the first will solely be about the trade and the second analyzing the ROI the Padres are likely to receive from Quentin through the expiration of his three-year extension.
Looking to add a power-hitting OF to an offense lacking punch, Byrnes was able to pry Quentin from the Chicago White Sox back in December of 2011 for two pitching prospects: RHP Simon Castro and LHP Pedro Hernandez. Looking to shed salary obligations, the Sox were more than happy to move Quentin, who was set for one more round of arbitration before hitting unrestricted free agency following the 2012 season, in exchange for two young pitchers.
Quentin had a solid track record in the bigs, hitting as many as 36 HR in 2008 with Chicago, and followed that up with three consecutive 20+ dinger campaigns before the trade to San Diego. On the downside the slugging OF was never particularly good in the field and was prone to missing action with injuries. In fact, Quentin had never played more than 131 games in any season after six years in the majors. That’s despite spending four seasons in the AL and having the luxury of being able to use the DH to get some AB’s for big bat/light glove guys like Quentin.
Of course, Quentin’s regular season debut with the Friars was postponed due to lingering knee issues during the spring of 2012. After missing much of the season’s first two months, Quentin finally entered the Padres lineup on May 28th and came out swinging….. literally. After just 39 games, 7 HR, 22 RBI and a .389/.525/.914 triple-slash Byrnes had seen enough to bestow a three-year, $27MM extension on Quentin with a fourth year option containing a $3MM buyout. That’s $30MM guaranteed, folks. That’s some serious cheddar for a smaller market club like San Diego.
First off, you can’t argue with the trade. The Padres got good production, albeit in an injury-shortened season, from Quentin in 2012. He followed up a season in which he posted a solid 0.877 OPS and wRC+ of 146 with a showing of 0.855 and 142 respectively. As long as you can live with having a productive bat in the lineup for only about 120 games out of the year then you’ll be pleased with Quentin.
As for the two prospects sacrificed to get Quentin from Chicago, Castro, already 25, ranks as the 20th best prospect in the White Sox system by MLB.com; a system which is considered to be among the worst minor league organizations in baseball. He currently boasts an ERA nearing six in 23 appearances for Chicago’s AAA affiliate in Charlotte. He has made four appearances for the White Sox with a 2.70 ERA and an 0 – 1 record in 6.2 innings pitched.
Hernandez, since dealt to Minnesota in the Francisco Liriano trade last year, is not ranked among the Twins top 20 prospects by MLB.com. He’s appeared in nine games for Minnesota, making seven starts, and has posted a 3 – 1 W/L record with an ERA of 5.54.
Quentin, as long as he is in the lineup, has provided some much-needed thump to the Padres lineup. It’s hard to argue with the actual trade for Quentin as it has paid off fairly well and his production plus his current asset value is well worth two marginal pitching prospects. The real question will be whether the Padres will receive good value on Quentin’s extension and we explore that question tomorrow.