Tag: Carlos Quentin

carlos quentin getty

Carlos Quentin designated for assignment by the Braves


Carlos Quentin was acquired by the Braves in Sunday’s trade with the Padres for Craig Kimbrel, but he’s never going to actually play for Atlanta.

Quentin has been designated for assignment and dropped from the 40-man roster, meaning the Braves will likely be looking to trade him and whatever chunk of his $8 million salary they can get another team to take on.

Quentin was basically just included in the trade to balance the salaries and because the Padres had too many outfielders. If healthy he’s capable of being a middle-of-the-order bat, but “if healthy” is always just a theory with Quentin and his poor outfield defense makes him a better fit in the AL.

The Padres just didn’t need Craig Kimbrel

Craig Kimbrel

The 2014 Padres were 63-1 when leading after eight innings.

That’s not the amazing stat, though. The truly incredible one is that they were 60-1 when leading after six innings. The 2014 Padres obviously had difficulties generating leads, but once they got them, they were untouchable.

Still, this was hardly a unique feature of the 2014 Padres. In 2013, the team was 63-3 when leading after eight innings. In 2012, it was 68-2. In 2011, it was 62-3.

It’s hardly any kind of secret that Padres usually feature great pens. Last year, they were second in MLB in bullpen ERA at 2.73. The since departed Huston Street helped them along for four months, but they still had the following returning for 2015:

Joaquin Benoit: 1.49 ERA in 54 1/3 IP in 2014
Dale Thayer: 2.34 ERA in 65 1/3 IP
Kevin Quackenbush: 2.48 ERA in 54 1/3 IP
Nick Vincent: 3.60 ERA in 55 IP

Plus, they had added two fine arms in Brandon Maurer and Shawn Kelley. Maurer, picked up from the Mariners for Seth Smith, showed a high-90s fastball to go along with an excellent slider after shifting to the pen last year, amassing a 2.17 ERA and a 38/5 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings. I projected him as one of the NL’s very best relievers for 2015. Kelley had a 4.53 ERA for the Yankees, but it came with 67 strikeouts in 51 2/3 innings. An extreme flyball pitcher, he’s well suited for Petco and should be an asset in a setup role.

All of this is a roundabout way of saying that the Padres had no need at all to trade for a closer, even if that closer was Craig Kimbrel. Kimbrel is awesome. He’s quite possibly the best in baseball at what he does, and since he’s 26 and on a reasonable contract for the next three years, he’s no rental. He was a major trade asset. And the Padres should have left him alone.

Because to get Kimbrel, the Padres had to take on the $46.35 million that Melvin Upton Jr. is due the next three years. They also had to give up their top pitching prospect in Matthew Wisler, the No. 41 pick in the 2015 draft (which was tradeable because it was a competitive balance pick) and a decent outfield prospect in Jordan Paroubeck (the team’s second-round pick in 2013). And now that they have Kimbrel, they’ve sent two perfectly fine setup man, Maurer and Quackenbush, to Triple-A to twiddle their thumbs until there’s a need in the pen.

The Padres did get to dump the $16 million owed to Cameron Maybin and $8 million due to Carlos Quentin. But factoring in Kimbrel’s $34 million commitment, they took on $56 million to get someone who isn’t truly going to be a difference maker, at least not from April until September. Maybe it’ll pay off during a postseason run at some point within these next three years, but there had to be ways to use that money that would have better increased their chances of going to the postseason.

For all of new GM A.J. Preller’s maneuvering, the Padres still have perhaps the NL’s worst defensive outfield and its worst offensive infield. Meanwhile, they’ve subtracted their No. 1 (Wisler), No. 2 (Trea Turner), No. 4 (Joe Ross), No. 6 (Max Fried), No. 9 (Zach Eflin), No. 10 (Jace Peterson) and No. 11 (R.J. Alvarez) prospects, according to Baseball America’s rankings. That list doesn’t include Jesse Hahn, the quality young starter sent to the A’s in the Derek Norris trade.

Preller has remade the Padres as an extremely interesting team, and he’s certainly gained the attention of the fanbase, which should pay off in increased revenues. But it’s still a flawed group, one with a couple of very questionable long-term commitments, and the farm system has been decimated along the way. Even so, Preller’s grand experiment seemed worthwhile for the most part. He merely needed to know when to stop.

Braves likely to designate Carlos Quentin for assignment

Carlos Quentin

Outfielder Carlos Quentin was one of several players the Braves acquired in Friday evening’s surprise trade with the Padres involving Craig Kimbrel and Melvin Upton, Jr. Quentin, however, isn’t likely to hang around for long. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports says the Braves are likely to designate the oft-injured veteran for assignment.

Quentin, 32, will earn $8 million for the 2015 season before becoming eligible for free agency. Heyman notes that Quentin was only included in the trade to balance out the money involved.

Quentin has only played in 132 games over the last two seasons due to recurring problems with both knees. He had surgery in September 2013 to remove loose bodies in his right knee, but it was his left knee which ended his season in late July last year. When he’s healthy, he hits well — he has a career .831 OPS — but he’s played in 100-plus games only three times in his nine-year career.

Braves trade Craig Kimbrel and Melvin Upton, Jr. to the Padres

Craig Kimbrel

Happy Opening Day, everyone. To celebrate, the Padres have made another gigantic trade. Kiley McDaniels of FanGraphs was the first to report that the Braves have traded closer Craig Kimbrel and outfielder Melvin Upton, Jr. to the Padres in exchange for pitching prospect Matt Wisler, minor league outfielder Jordan Paroubeck (link), outfielders Cameron Maybin and Carlos Quentin, and the 41st overall pick (per ESPN’s Keith Law).

The Padres were the only team yet to submit a 25-man roster and this is why. They had a glut of outfielders and cleared it up with this trade to the Braves. The Padres also reunite the Upton brothers.

Kimbrel had signed a four-year, $42 million extension last February but the Braves are going deeper into a rebuilding mode. Given the fickle nature of relievers, Kimbrel’s price tag, and the Braves’ unlikelihood of being competitive for a little while, it does make sense for them to deal the fireballer. Since debuting in 2010, Kimbrel has a career 1.43 ERA with 186 saves and a 476/108 K/BB ratio in 289 innings.

Upton had $46.35 million and three years remaining on a five-year, $75.25 million deal signed with the Braves in November 2012. In two seasons with the Braves, the 30-year-old ranked among baseball’s least productive players with a .593 OPS and -1.6 Wins Above Replacement, per Baseball Reference.

Both Maybin (28) and Quentin (32) had been pushed out of the picture as the Padres completely revamped their outfield with the off-season trades to acquire Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, and Wil Myers. Maybin has $16 million over two years remaining on his contract. Quentin has $8 million remaining just for the 2015 season before becoming eligible for free agency. [Update: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports says the Braves plan to designate Quentin for assignment. They acquired him simply to balance out the money involved.]

Wisler, 22, reached Triple-A for the first time last season, finishing with a 5.01 ERA and a 101/36 K/BB ratio over 116 2/3 innings in El Paso. MLB.com rated him the organization’s top pitching prospect, fourth overall in the system, and 70th among baseball’s top 100 prospects.

Paroubeck, 20, played his first professional season last year after being taken by the Padres in the second round of the 2013 draft. In 157 plate appearances, the outfielder batted .286/.346/.457.

2015 Preview: San Diego Padres

A J Preller, Bud Black, Justin Upton, Derek Norris, Will Middlebrooks, Wil Myers

Between now and Opening Day, HardballTalk will take a look at each of baseball’s 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2015 season. Next up: The San Diego Padres.

The Big Question: Who are these guys and what have they done with the Padres?

A.J. Preller was hired as the Padres general manager last August and he went into the offseason with a plan. Prior to the winter meetings, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that the Padres were “aggressively looking for hitters who can help them contend for (the) NL West title immediately.” The report drew some laughs, as it seemed incredibly ambitious and even unrealistic for a team which ranked last in pretty much every major offensive category last season while finishing under .500 for the fourth straight year. We quickly learned that he wasn’t messing around.

The biggest changes came in the outfield, with trades for Justin Upton (from the Braves), Matt Kemp (from the division rival Dodgers), and Wil Myers (in a three-team deal with the Rays and Nationals), but Preller also acquired 2014 All-Star catcher Derek Norris from the Athletics. There’s something to be said for not being loyal to the players you inherit from a previous regime. As a new GM, Preller was uniquely positioned for this rapid and unexpected overhaul. The cherry on top of their offseason was signing James Shields to a four-year, $75 million contract in early February. Joaquin Benoit’s $15.5 million deal was the franchise’s previous record guarantee to a free agent, so this is some uncharted territory we’re dealing with here. The Padres also threw money at some low-risk, high-reward types for their rotation with Josh Johnson and Brandon Morrow. Despite all the activity, the Padres’ payroll isn’t going to be much higher than what it was last year. It helps that the Dodgers are paying nearly all of Kemp’s salary for this season.

Pitching was already a strength for the Padres, partially due to their home ballpark, but the addition of Shields makes them even better. He can now slot into the No. 1 spot while Ian Kennedy, Andrew Cashner, and Tyson Ross all move down a peg. Odrisamer Despaigne held his own during his first season in the majors last year and should do fine as a fifth starter if Morrow and/or Johnson don’t pan out. Outfield defense is a concern, particularly in center field with Myers, but the Padres are hoping that what the trio does on offense offsets the deficiencies in the field.

Who knows if this is going to work out. Kemp is an injury risk and maybe all those innings finally catch up to Shields. Maybe Myers doesn’t bounce back and Upton (an impending free agent) becomes a trade candidate by midseason. But the Padres are trying something here and that’s pretty exciting. It’s always fun to be in San Diego, but even more so right now.

What else is going on?

  • It’s pretty remarkable that the Padres were able to make all of these moves and still managed to keep arguably three of their best prospects, right-hander Matt Wisler, outfielder Hunter Renfroe, and catcher Austin Hedges. I guess you could throw Rymer Liriano into that mix, as well. So they didn’t completely sell out their future this winter. You could also say that they still have the flexibility to make another big move if they really want to go for broke. Cole Hamels, perhaps?
  • My goodness, something has to give with these extra outfielders. The Padres dealt Seth Smith to the Mariners over the winter, but they still have basically their projected starting outfield from a couple of years ago — Cameron Maybin, Will Venable, and Carlos Quentin — under contract. Liriano also saw time at the major league level last year. Quentin could get hurt by the time I finish writing this sentence, but one would think we’ll see a trade soon to clear this logjam.
  • While right-handed sluggers Upton, Kemp, and Myers could put up big numbers in that outfield, the infield is another matter altogether. It’s a glaring weakness. Jedd Gyorko showed some potential during his rookie season in 2013, but he’s coming off a down year and he’s surrounded by the likes of Yonder Alonso, Alexi Amarista, Will Middlebrooks, Yangervis Solarte, Tommy Medica, and Clint Barmes. Not the most inspiring group. Perhaps Alonso or Middlebrooks can surprise, but that would require a leap of faith. This infield would be more interesting if they managed to outbid the Dodgers for Hector Olivera, but that ship has sailed.
  • With the additions of Upton, Kemp, Myers, Shields, and Norris, it’s easy to overlook the work that Preller did with his bullpen. Brandon Maurer came over in the Smith deal with the Mariners while Shawn Kelley was acquired from the Yankees for minor league right-hander Johnny Barbato. Both are intriguing potential late-inning arms. Padres manager Bud Black has a handful of interesting alternatives for the closer role if Benoit goes down at some point. I wouldn’t rule that possibility out, as Benoit will be 38 later this year and dealt with some shoulder issues down the stretch last year.
  • Saying “if he can stay healthy” should be obvious with any pitcher, but that’s especially the case with Cashner. The 28-year-old has flashed frontline potential at times, with a 2.96 ERA across 51 career starts, but he was limited to just 19 starts last season with elbow and shoulder issues and has never thrown more than 175 innings in a season before. This rotation has some questions — even Ross was shut down after a career-high 195 2/3 innings last year due to muscle soreness in his right forearm — but if things break right, they could be one of the best groups in the National League.

Prediction: I think it’s going to be close with the Giants, but what the heck, I’ll drink the offseason Kool-Aid. Second place, NL West and the second Wild Card spot.