David DeJesus #9 of the Chicago Cubs watches a two-run homer off the bat of Carlos Quentin #18 of the San Diego Padres in the fifth inning at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
Just off the DL, Carlos Quentin is off to a roaring start with the last-place Padres, which means contenders are keeping an exceptionally close eye on him.
I'm writing this during the late innings of Wednesday's late-afternoon game between the San Francisco Giants and the San Diego Padres; in California, they call this the All-Saints Series, and it just gets more exciting every year.
Anyway, San Diego's Carlos Quentin hasn't hit a home run yet, but it's really just a matter of time. Or if not a home run, then at least a double. In Quentin's first six games since joining the Padres after a long stint on the Disabled List, he hit five home runs and four doubles, setting some sort of freak record that nobody can figure out how to confirm.
Considering the Padres have the worst record in Major League Baseball, you'll understand if the hyenas and the leeches and all the other parasites who feed on the corpses of last-place teams are casting their covetous eyes or antennae toward Quentin, who seems to be the Padres' most interesting hitter. For the moment, anyway.
To wit, Jon Heyman:
Carlos Quentin could be the star hitter of a trade market this July considering his brilliant beginning with the Padres combined with a lack of big-time bats expected to be available. However, the Padres haven't entirely given up the idea of signing to an extension the San Diego product who has finally come home to play and is obviously already thriving.
In the meantime, a trade remains possible. Teams that could seek another righthanded bat include the Phillies, Rangers (though they probably would be satisfied with a platoon type), Tigers and several others.
But there's another team that could use Quentin, as well, and that is the Padres.
It's possible that I'm missing something, but I believe Carlos Quentin will be eligible for free agency after this season. So while the Padres could certainly "use" Quentin, it's not apparent that they'll have that opportunity beyond this fall. Unless he really wants to play for the Padres and they can get him signed soon, they simply have to not only consider, but solicit attractive trade offers between now and the end of July.
And the sooner the better, probably. Because Quentin, while he's got great numbers this season in seven games, probably is not a great hitter. His career OPS+ is 119, which puts him squarely in the "good" column ... but he's also in the "injury-prone" column, having averaged 120 games per season over the last four seasons. He's probably going to either find his level or get hurt, and you'd like to turn him into prospects before that happens.
Who could use him? It's a bit premature to start throwing teams out there, since practically everyone's still contending and practically every contender might need a hitter, given the vagaries of a physically demanding activity like big-time baseball.
But when we get some rumors with some meat, we'll let you know.