So much for the big trade. Carlos Quentin was thought to be the best available hitter on the trade market,
but he’s no longer available. The San Diego Padres and Carlos Quentin have reached a three-year extension with a mutual option for a fourth year. The San Diego kid will be staying in San Diego.
Josh Byrnes, San Diego’s general manager, first met Carlos Quentin when he came to Arizona in 2005. He had left Boston to take over the GM duties for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Carlos Quentin was still playing at the Triple-A level at the time, but Byrnes knew he had something special in the DBacks farm system. In 2006, Byrnes and the Diamondbacks called up Quentin, and he instantly showed his talent. He posted a 115 OPS+ in 57 games during the 2006 season.
Quentin spent two years with the Diamondbacks before Byrnes pulled the trigger on a trade that would send him to the Chicago White Sox. It was in Chicago that Quentin would develop into a perennial power-hitter and two-time All-Star.
Byrnes had always regretted that trade. Now, he’s making up for it in San Diego. “Quentin, without a doubt, changes our team,” Byrnes said after announcing the extension. “He’s a proven middle-of-the-order bat, which we need, he brings an intensity, an edge, a swagger to our team which we need. It’s a risk, but we feel it’s a risk we have to take.”
Quentin is hitting .273/.389/.525 with 9 home runs in 40 games. He spent a large chunk of the season on the disabled list recovering from arthroscopic left knee surgery. Once he returned from the DL, Quentin went on a tear that quickly shot him to the top of everyone’s trade target list, but Quentin is happy to be staying in San Diego.
“This is where I was raised and it’s an amazing opportunity for me to stay in the city I grew up in,” he said. “I believe in this organization. My family is very excited.”
The deal works out to three-years, $27 million with a mutual option for the 2016 season worth $10 million. Regardless of whether the 2016 option is picked up, Quentin can earn a $3 million bonus payable in 2016 if he plays in 320 games over the next three seasons.
According to CBS Sports, Quentin will make $9.5 million next season, $9.5 million in 2014, and $8 million in 2015. He will be the highest paid Padres player on the roster for the next three seasons and is already the highest paid player this season.
The extension sends a clear message to the league and to the city of San Diego. The Padres intend to compete in the near-future. The commitment to a power-hitter in the lineup has been something the team has been missing. Now, they will have that threat for at least the next three seasons. As part of the contract, Quentin has full no-trade rights.
Quentin may have earned more on the free agent market, but he wanted to stay in San Diego. He made that clear from the time he was first traded to the Padres from Chicago. He went to University High School in San Diego and loves the city. His propensity for injuries may have ben a concern when hammering out a free agent contract, but his flashes of greatness would have netted him a similar contract to San Diego’s – maybe slightly more.
In 2008, Quentin’s best year, he hit .288/.394/.571 with 36 home runs. He was worth 5.1 bWAR. Then, last year Quentin hit .254/.340/.499 and was worth 2.3 bWAR. However, he has had some bad years thanks to injuries. The Padres are willing to take the risk though.
“This is not a roster we want to tear down,” Byrnes said. “It’s a roster we want to build.”
They have proven that with Quentin’s extension. Even with his relatively low home split this season (Petco Park is notoriously pitcher-friendly), Quentin is still posting a .719 OPS with 3 home runs in 18 games.
Since Quentin’s return from the DL, the Padres have played exactly .500 baseball. They are 24-24 over that stretch. Prior to his arrival, they were 17-32. If he can sustain this success and help the Padres turn thing around throughout the rest of the season and into next, his contract is worth every penny to a team and a city aching for another shot at the postseason.
For more on the Padres, be sure to check out Chicken Friars.