Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Trade Target - Carlos Quentin

As we sit at the All-Star Break, the Pirates are surprisingly in first place.  Even more stunning is the fact that they are 11 games over .500 at 48-37.  The dynamics of this season have shifted dramatically from not only the start of the season, but even in the last 3 weeks.  Now it's not just that this team could eke out enough wins to break the 81 win mark, but (to the dismay of Jim Mora) there is legitimate talk of making the playoffs.

To that end, there have been some strong rumors in recent days about players the Pirates are sniffing around.  One of which is Padres outfielder, Carlos Quentin.  Quentin would not be my first choice for slugging outfielder, as I have stated in the past that would be Josh Willingham.  But the Padres seem motivated to sell and the Pirates are motivated to buy, so here we are.

Quentin is a slugger.  Pure and simple.  Not stolen base quota from him.  Not a lot of average and just an average amount of walks.  And certainly no defensive ability.  But he does hit dingerz and chicks do dig the long ball.

Quentin was hurt at the start of the season, but in the 33 games he has played he has hit like a ball of fire.  His line on the season to date is .268/.406/.518 (924 OPS, 1.7 WAR).  His career line is .253/.349/.491 (840 OPS), so there may be some regression to the mean in store.  Quentin's career WAR total is skewed by the utter disdain that defensive metrics (and the eye test) hold for his defensive disabilities.  However, his career wOBA is a nice .364, so he would be here for his stick and not his glove.

The 29 year old San Diego native is being paid $7.025M this season and he is a free agent at the end of the year.  If you assume 1.7 WAR for the remainder of the season (to allow for some regression), that's a WAR value of $8.5M.  Subtracting 3/8 of his salary, to account for the remaining games after a July 31st trade, he would have a trade surplus number of $5.87M.  That's roughly a grade B hitter on John Sickel's list (think Robbie Grossman) or a slight overpay would be a grade B pitcher (think Nick Kingham).

Quentin would replace Garret Jones in RF, with Jones moving into a strict 1B platoon with McGehee.  Both Jones and Quentin have roughly the same isolated powers this year (.250 to .239), but Quentin has more on-base ability and is not a platoon player.  Quentin would slide nicely into the cleanup spot and give protection for Andrew McCutchen, while also allowing Pedro Alvarez to hit in the 5 hole potentially.

The Pirates are on the verge of something special and the addition of Quentin, coupled with the promotion of Starling Marte, could give them an exciting outfield and batting order.  My favorite sports saying is "Flags Fly Forever" meaning if you have a shot to win, you take it when it is presented to you.  Trading one B-level prospect will be worth it if they make the playoffs because of Quentin.


  1. See, now you're talking sense instead of some gooey man-love for the overrated Josh Willingham. :)

    Quentin is THE guy for them to go get, in my mind. He's a statue on defense, certainly, but in RF at PNC you're really just a field ornament anyway. His power is legit and he isn't the unmitigated hack that many of our current "power guys" are. Even if he regresses some the threat of his power protects McCutchen, while his decent-ish OBA would still allow him to work counts and get on base in from of the streaky Alvarez. Plus, I don't think it'd be a given he regressed that much. His home/road splits are, unsurprisingly, tilted toward the road. Petco is killing him, as it does to most of their hitters. The "rental aspect" with him actually should keep his asking price reasonable too, so it doesn't bother me as much as it may in a lot of scenarios.

    Everything I'm reading, however, is that the Padres are after pitching....Brad Lincoln's name has been mentioned consistently in every Padres/Pirates rumor I've read thus far. I wouldn't shed a tear losing Kingham, or Grossman really, but Lincoln may give me at least a moment of pause.

    That said, I think if they're sitting at near 10 games over .500 in another week/10 days then it may be worth considering. Lincoln's been nails in the pen, but this offense is almost certainly not going to continue at its current levels relying on the likes of Drew Sutton to hit nearly .400 for a month. Or if it does, I will be completely and utterly floored. Cutch can't hit .500 for two weeks of every month either(or....maybe he can. He's looking like he could walk on freaking water at this point).

    I think they'll need two hitters added to the lineup to make a serious push towards post-season relevance. One of them can certainly be internal(Marte, or even Tabata if he got his head out of his ass...unlikely, but possible), but the other is going to have to come from an external source. Quentin fits the bill the best when you weigh the total picture(cost, need, fit, etc). Allegedly, the top 3 teams that are currently hounding for him are Cincy, the Indians and Pittsburgh. Will not be happy to see him facing them as a Red, that is for sure.

    While I'm on a roll, as much as I loved the Bedard signing they may need to consider taknig a shot at a SP too. I still think Bedard's hurt/favoring something because of the back spasms from a month and a half ago. Won't surprise me at all if he jacked up his shoulder by compensating for the back. If he can somehow rebound though, that'd be huge. If he can't in the next few weeks....a replacement may be needed if they don't think the Lockes/Wilsons/et al are ready to roll.

    If the Twins weren't such dicks to deal with Liriano would be on my wish list. He's looked very solid again since getting out of the bullpen. Hell, he's a guy I'd be more than cool with them pursuing as a FA next offseason too.

  2. Yeah, Quentin for 2 months would be better OVERALL than Willingham for 3 years when you factor in the prospect cost.

    I've really talked myself into Quentin, as his defense is going to be cringe-worthy, I presume. I would not blink giving up 1 B-grade prospect for him.

    Lincoln is the true fireman of the bullpen and I would be hesitant to trade him, too, but...Flags Fly Forever. Lincoln has a ton of trade surplus with his 5 years of control. Even if he has a 1 WAR/year, that's around $20M of trade surplus -- too much for Quentin.

  3. That's my biggest rub with moving Lincoln....he's under control for a while, he's veerrry effective in his role, and he's cheap. Hanrahan making $9 million is something this team doesn't need to even entertain, IMO. Keep Lincoln as the 7-8 guy and find some failed starter that can throw one and a half pitches for strikes, boom he's your new closer. Start racking up meaningless saves with him and flip him in a couple years. Profit. Rinse. Repeat.

    Quentin is completely a field ornament on defense. You won't hear an argument from me to the contrary....but so is your man-lust-crush, Josh Willingham, so I have no idea why you wouldn't take Quentin 100 times out of a 100 over him, and twice on Sundays. :) Even if costs were equal.

    If a B-grade prospect lands Quentin they need to get that done post-haste. I assume some other team is going to panic though and offer more than they should, expecting that they can sign him to a longer deal. He's a SD native though, so I would expect he's going to be going back there as a FA one way or another. If some other team wants to offer multiple guys for him, even a B and a C....good luck with that.

    If they demanded Lincoln for him I'd probably hold my nose, ask for a mid level prospect to be added to the deal to make up for the years of control I'd be losing, and pull the trigger. I just don't think they can get to the post-season with McGehee/Jones being relied upon as primary run producers the rest of the way. Quentin may tank, but it's probably a risk that has to be taken.

    If finding a power stick fails, what do you think about the idea of just going after a guy who gets on base a bunch to put in front of Andrew? I'm seeing some folks opine that Juan Pierre could be a target in that regard. His D is also not very good, and his decent AVG/good OBA would be the emptiest of the empty....but the guy still gets on base and can score from first on any double. He's old as hell and on a minor league, so should cost pocket lint to acquire. I'm not really advocating it, but I can't say it would bother me either. He/Andrew/Marte in the OF by the end of the year sure could cover a lot of ground(of course, Pierre would just get to the ball fast to misplay it, but nobody's perfect).