Carlos Quentin has been on and off the disabled list while playing just 50 games this season due to a spring training knee injury and Padres manager Bud Black no longer expects to him to return to the lineup this year.
Black told Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union Tribune “it’s looking more and more that his season might be over” even though the team believes he’ll be able to avoid a fourth knee surgery since they acquired Quentin in 2012.
That means he’ll have played 86, 82, and 50 games in three seasons with San Diego, yet the Padres liked Quentin enough midway through that first season to give him a three-year, $27 million contract extension. So they owe him $8 million for 2015 and $10 million or a $3 million buyout for 2016.
Quentin has been injured a lot throughout his career, but prior to this season he’d always maintained strong production whenever he was healthy enough to be in the lineup. That hasn’t been the case this season at age 31, when he’s hit .177 with four homers and a .599 OPS following four straight seasons with an OPS above .800.
The Tampa Bay Rays have signed lefty swingman Ryan Merritt to a minor league contract. Nah, it’s not a big signing but we’ll take anything today.
Merritt, who has spent his entire career in the Indians organization, spent the entire 2018 season at Triple-A Columbus. It wasn’t a bad year for him — he posted a 3.79 ERA and a 52/2 K/BB ratio in 13 starts and two relief appearances covering 71.1 innings — but the Tribe just couldn’t find a role for him at the big league level. He has shown in the past, however, that he can hack it in the bigs, having posted a 1.71 ERA in 31.2 innings with the Indians between 2016-2017.
His thing is that he simply doesn’t strike guys out at anything approaching a typical clip for a big leaguer: 3.7 per nine innings in his small sample of major league outings and 6.3 Ks per nine innings in the minors. Which, while it may not prevent him from having success at the big league level, is likely a reason for the limited number of chances he’s been given.
The Rays are probably the best place he could go, frankly. They’ve shown themselves willing to utilize guys in unique ways and are more likely than most teams to find places to spot a lefty control specialist who has shown he can both start and come out of the pen.