Saturday, December 31, 2011

Carlos Quentin Shipped To San Diego

Farewell, angry one
It was a move that I think we all knew was coming, even if the timing of the trade came when we least expected it. With only a few hours remaining in 2011 the White Sox announced that they had traded Carlos Quentin to the San Diego Padres for minor leaguer pitchers Simon Castro and Pedro Hernandez.

On the surface it's a trade that doesn't exactly blow you away, and, judging by reactions I've seen on Twitter, leaves more than a few White Sox fans with a bad taste in their mouths. Although considering the situation, I'm not sure what else the Sox really could have gotten for Quentin.

Yes, Quentin was the second biggest bat in a lineup that was full of disappointment last season, but being the second best hitter on a bad offense isn't really something to be proud of. He was fantastic in 2008, as he made his run at the AL MVP, but 2008 also provided us a glimpse at what Quentin is and always will be.

A guy that can literally carry a team when he's right, but also a guy that will inevitably break your heart. He can't stay healthy. Yes, he had an OPS+ of 124 in his four seasons on the south side, but he also never managed to play in more than 131 games in any given season.

In 2009 and 2011 he played in 217 of a possible 324 games.

Then you have to factor in Dayan Viciedo. Do we know for certain that Viciedo will be able to make up for the production that Carlos had when he's asked to do it every day and has to make adjustments? No, we don't.

But we do know that the White Sox gave him $10 million before the 2009 season, and sooner or later you have to find out for sure what he's going to be. Quentin will be a free agent after the 2012 season, and odds are he wouldn't be coming back, so now is the perfect time to find out what Viciedo really is and get something for Quentin while you can.

As for how Carlos will do in San Diego, well, I'm not all that optimistic. He goes from a park that is very friendly to right-handed hitters to one that downright hates them. Plus, the idea of Quentin having to play right field everyday in Petco Park is not the most promising.

When it comes to what the White Sox got in return, you may hate the prospects, you may love them. Odds are you've never seen either of them and have no idea what the team is getting. What you should know, though, is that two pitching prospects -- one of whom was considered the best pitcher in San Diego's system in 2009 -- for an oft-injured outfielder who was gone in a year is about as good a haul as you are going to get these days.

From what I've read on Simon Castro since the deal was announced, he could be an impact guy in the White Sox rotation. He was just as highly touted as Mat Latos a few years ago in the Padres system, and immediately becomes one of the best players in the White Sox system. According to John Sickels, Castro is a righty that has a fastball that averages between 90-93 MPH but can top out at 96 with movement.

He was also on the fast track until stalling at AAA last year, and Kenny Williams says the Sox believe it was a mechanical issue they think can be fixed to solve the problem. Unfortunately, Williams also said Castro dealt with a back injury in 2011 and when I hear the words "back injury," I'm never all that optimistic.

With Hernandez, you get a lefty that pitches to contact and has three pitches he can throw for strikes. Much like Castro, he leveled off at AAA last season as well.

Most reports say that Castro is the player with the most upside, as he could develop into a mid-rotation starter. Hernandez's ceiling is probably a #5 at best, but more likely to be a long-man out of the bullpen.

So this isn't a great trade. But it's not a terrible trade either. It's just a trade. One that needed to be made to free up playing time for Viciedo and Alejandro De Aza, and also accomplish a salary dump that the White Sox have been intent on making since the season ended.

If either Castro or Hernandez are able to crack the White Sox roster and contribute, then the deal is likely worth it. If not, well, then let's hope that Dayan Viciedo pans out.

Now, as for the irony of this deal, here's one thing to remember. When Kenny got Quentin from the Diamondbacks in 2008, Josh Byrnes was Arizona's general manager. The general manager that just traded for Carlos Quentin? Josh Byrnes.

Guess he missed him. Hopefully we won't.

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