Jul. 3, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA: San Diego Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin in the dugout in the third inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
Just eight days before the trade deadline, the San Diego Padres signed outfielder Carlos Quentin to a guaranteed $27 million contract extension for three years. The deal includes a full no-trade clause with the potential of another $3 million being tacked on if Quentin starts 320 games from 2013 to 2015. Before the deal, Quentin was set to become a free-agent at season's end. Let's take a look at why this deal does (and doesn't) make sense and conclude with a final judgement...
An oft-injured "outfielder" with absolutely no defensive value signing a three-year deal in which he is guaranteed $27M is something Carlos Quentin shouldn't have had to give second thought about. Quentin, who grew up in San Diego, also gets to stay close to home for at least three years while playing (and living) knowing he won't be traded in a week or two. If he is dangled in trade talks, he knows he can block any trade now with his full no-trade clause.
Why it makes sense for the Padres:
While the Padres' first plan may have been to move Quentin at the trade deadline, there are some reasons I can see for keeping him. The first of which is realizing the return isn't what you are hoping for. Could the Padres have received a top- or multiple prospects that project as big league contributors in return for Quentin? I don't think they could have, and a large part of it is because of the limited market. Quentin can't play defense at any position, crossing out just about any NL team looking for hitting. Suddenly, the number of suitors is cut in half.
For the AL teams interested, how many would be comfortable with trading multiple top prospects for a designated hitter set to hit free agency at season's end? I would say none, especially when we look at the way teams are now using their designated hitter slot. Just about every team is avoiding a player that would become a mainstay there, preferring to cycle aging veterans and/or players that can flat out hit (like Quentin) but are cheap and under team control for the long-term.
The last reason I will discuss for why San Diego locked up Quentin could be because of where they play: spacious Petco Park. San Diego is a great place to live, but how about playing there as a hitter? Pitchers are always looking to sign a deal with the Padres, but how many hitters are looking to do the same? It's quite frankly impossible to get hitters capable of what Quentin can do at the plate to come to San Diego, especially because the cash just isn't there. Quentin grew up in the area and can be productive (if healthy) in the park, but...
Why I'm against this contract extension:
While Quentin can hit for tons of power, he's just not able to do it over a full season. While he's just 29 years of age, Quentin has never played in more than 131 games in a season over his seven-year career. In fact, he'll only reach 106 games played this season if he appears in every game for the remainder of the year.
Personally, I'm not a fan of this deal because I'm not sure what it accomplishes. The full no-trade clause allows Quentin to block any deal in the future and the 320 starts for the life of the deal is too light on protection for San Diego. I would be more favorable to this contract with heavier protection at the back-end if Quentin gets hurt, or with a mutual/team option for the third season.