One in a series of posts previewing the upcoming trade deadline. Previous entries:
The Indians are a flawed team, but they're in contention, four games out of first place in the AL Central, and a game behind both Wild Card spots. That should mean the Indians will be active on the trade market leading up the July 31st deadline, and with that in mind, we'll be highlighting over the next couple weeks some players you'll be hearing in conjunction with the Indians.
First up: Carlos Quentin, a right-handed power hitter, something the Indians have been looking for since last winter.
Quentin should be familiar to Tribe fans, as he's played a big portion of his career with the Chicago White Sox. After being dumped by Arizona after the 2007 season, he became a reliable source of power for Chicago, hitting 36 home runs in his first year on the South Side and good for at least 20 homers in his next three seasons. Chicago traded him to the Padres last winter, and thanks to arthroscopic knee surgery in March, he didn't play a game with the Padres until the end of May. Quentin came off the DL on fire, hitting five home runs in his first six games, but he's cooled off considerably since then, hitting .176/.309/.279 over the past 28 days.
Quentin's value is entirely wrapped up in his bat. He's marginal defensively on either corner, and that was before his knee surgery.
Contract Status/Service Time
Quentin is signed to a 1-year contract worth $7.025M, signed last winter to avoid arbitration. He started the season with 5.065 years of service time, which means he'll be eligible for free agency at the end of the season. With the new compensation rules, the Padres aren't going to get a draft pick by hanging onto him and letting him walk after the season. With the Padres well out of the race, and with Quentin likely to be playing somewhere else next season, it seems almost a guarantee that he'll be dealt before the deadline.
Quentin, if acquired, would be the everyday left fielder. He'd take either Johnny Damon's or Shelley Duncan's roster spot, and relegate the survivor to a bench role. A month ago, I wouldn't hesitate to say that Quentin would be a significant improvement over Damon/Duncan, but over the past 28 days, a lot has changed. Both Duncan (.351/.432/.865) and Damon (.313/.340/.521) have started to hit as Manny Acta has turned left field into a shared position between the two. Meanwhile Quentin has cooled off considerably, as mentioned above.
RHP Jeanmar Gomez OR Zach McAllister
The Indians wouldn't be the only club interested in Quentin, so the price to land him should be fairly steep, even though he'd just be a rental. The Indians probably couldn't swing a deal with just one prospect (unless they would deal Lindor, which I don't see happening for a player like Quentin), so it would have have to be a multiple prospect deal.
The Padres are going to want MLB-ready starting pitching, but the Indians don't have that much depth to trade, at least depth that the Padres would look to get back in a trade. Unless the Indians deal for a starter before negotiating for Quentin, I don't think they would deal either Jeanmar Gomez or Zach McAllister, the two best "young starters" in the organization, as both may be on the 25-man roster down the stretch. Perhaps Scott Barnes would be of interest, especially if the Padres think he can start.
The second prospect would have to be either one of the high-level bullpen guys (Cody Allen, Bryce Stowell) or a lower-level high-ceiling prospect, such as Ronny Rodriguez.
I'm going to guess that the Padres are asking for Gomez or McAllister, who have decent to good track records at the major-league level, and the Indians are trying to counter with a package deal.