Huh, and you probably thought New Years Eve day was going to be pretty boring for baseball news. Not so.
The Padres just announced that they have acquired outfielder Carlos Quentin from the White Sox for prospect right-hander Simon Castro and prospect left-hander Pedro Hernandez.
Quentin, a San Diego native, will be reunited with Josh Byrnes, who traded him to the White Sox for Chris Carter in December of 2007 when he was general manager of the Diamondbacks.
Quentin, 29, earned $5.05 million this season while batting .254/.340/.499 with 24 home runs, 77 RBI and an .838 OPS over 483 plate appearances. He is arbitration-eligible for the final time this winter. While he’ll give a boost to the punchless Padres’ lineup, he’s leaving behind the best ballpark for right-handed power for one that’s in the middle of the pack. He’s also a liability defensively in a pretty big outfield.
As for the White Sox, I guess we can say the rebuilding effort is back on. Castro, 23, was hyped as a top prospect in the Padres’ organization last winter, but posted a disappointing 5.63 ERA and 94/34 K/BB ratio over 115 innings this past season between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A Tucson. Hernandez, 22, posted a 3.49 ERA and a quality 94/22 K/BB ratio over 116 innings in 2011 between High-A Lake Elsinore, Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A Tucson. For what it’s worth, Baseball America did not include either of them among the Padres’ top 10 prospects earlier this month. That being said, they should rank much higher in the depleted White Sox system. And with Quentin gone, Dayan Viciedo should finally get a chance to play everyday.
It’s sort of a head-scratcher for the Padres in that they aren’t expected to contend this season, but they had the excess pitching depth in the minors to make this deal without hurting them in the long-term. Of course, there’s always the chance they can use Quentin as a trade chip around the deadline.
Twins’ right-hander Nick Burdi is set to undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, the team announced on Friday. Burdi made 14 appearances for Double-A Chattanooga before succumbing to a torn ulnar collateral ligament and is not expected to make his major league debut until mid-2018 at the earliest. A UCL tear doesn’t always require Tommy John surgery — less severe cases can be treated with platelet-rich plasma injections, for example — but Twins’ chief baseball officer Derek Falvey told the press that surgery was unavoidable as Burdi had sustained a “full thickness tear” in his elbow.
Entering the 2016 season, Burdi was widely considered a top ten prospect in the Twins’ system. His exceptional velocity and potent fastball-slider combo made him a fearsome relief option as he came off of his first season in Double-A Chattanooga in 2015. During the 2016 season, however, the 24-year-old experienced a significant setback after a bone bruise cut his season short in late July. Prior to Friday’s diagnosis, he appeared to be staging an impressive comeback with the Chattanooga Lookouts this spring, decorating his efforts with a sparkling 0.53 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 10.6 SO/9 over 17 innings.
It’s a tough break for the Twins, whose farm system was ranked 21st in the league by Baseball America. “Obviously he’s proven when he’s healthy he’s an absolute premium prospect, and the Twins are treating him that way,” Burdi’s agent, Matt Sosnick, told Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press. “We just want to make sure everything we do ultimately leads to the goal of getting him back on the field as quickly as he can.”
Things have gone from bad to worse for Red Sox’ outfielder Brock Holt, who was shut down “for the foreseeable future” on Friday after meeting with head trauma specialist Michael Collins. The Red Sox placed Holt on the 10-day disabled list in April after he began experiencing vertigo, the latest in a series of head injuries he’s sustained since last spring.
According to the Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato, the outfielder was initially advised to attempt playing through his symptoms, but it quickly became apparent that the strategy wasn’t going to work. Now, the plan is to shut him down from any game activity in the hopes that he’ll be able to recover from all lingering symptoms before returning to the roster. Club manager John Farrell told reporters that the 28-year-old is still cleared to take batting practice and work on his defense, but won’t continue his rehab starts in Triple-A Pawtucket for the time being.
Holt had been making regular appearances for the Pawtucket Red Sox and was batting .209/.292/.372 with two home runs through 14 games this spring. This season marks his fifth run within the Red Sox’ organization. He experienced a bit of a slump at the plate in 2016 and slashed .255/.322/.383 after breaking out during his first All-Star year in 2015.
Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe suggests that the team’s concern for Holt extends past his setbacks at the plate. It’s still a long road to a full recovery, and while Farrell told reporters he believes the outfielder is on track to make a return sometime in 2017, he’ll need to make sure that Holt is both physically and mentally prepared to do so.