“The Seattle Mariners don’t have enough aging DH/corner types,” said no one ever. Except, that is, the Seattle Mariners, who said “we don’t have enough aging DH/corner types,” and then went out and signed Carlos Quentin to a minor league deal.
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You remember Quentin, right? He had a star-level 2008 with the Chicago White Sox before slumping to consecutive seasons below replacement. He was most recently recognized as the token good San Diego Padre on some terrible San Diego Padres teams. Last year, for the first time since 2007, his wRC+ slipped under 100, and this Spring he was shipped out as a salary dump.
Maybe it seems unfair, the way Quentin was shuttled out of San Diego. He was absolutely beyond miserable last year, sure, coming in at nearly a full win below replacement. But the year before that he had a 144 wRC+. That’s phenomenal. Forced to play defense in Petco Park, he was a two-win player and a legitimately excellent hitter.
Quentin lost his spot and then some over the offseason, as A.J. Preller traded for a whole new outfield while seemingly forgetting to do anything with his old one. Then came the last-minute Craig Kimbrel trade, and Quentin was off to the Atlanta Braves, salary and all. The Braves, now on the hook for paying Quentin, opted to just release him instead. Which explains how the Mariners now find themselves with a free Carlos Quentin.
So what does Quentin bring to the Mariners? Nothing, in the literal, immediate sense, since he’s going to start out with the Tacoma Rainiers. He’s not going to play the outfield anymore – good news, since he has never been so much as decent out there. He’ll be a first baseman, but only when he’s not DHing. Sounds about right – the Mariners are just testing Quentin out to see if he can still hit at all.
Word is he might not be down for long. The Mariners see him as a potential platoon partner for Logan Morrison at first base, and – surprise! – they really like what he brings to the table as a right-handed power hitter. This was an easy transaction to see coming. The Mariners are in love with this type of player.
Quentin’s 32 years old and will have to compete with the red-hot Jesus Montero at AAA in order to earn himself a spot on the big league bench. But it’s hard to ignore the fact that outside of one terrible, injury-plagued season last year, the guy’s basically never not been a good hitter. Stick him in a platoon and take him out of the outfield and you’ve got a potentially useful player.
We’ve seen the M’s do this before, and now they’re doing it again: stash potential big-league talent at AAA and let the logjam sort itself out. Carlos Quentin could help the Seattle Mariners. If he doesn’t, that’s fine, he was free. If he does, cool, free wins! Welcome to Seattle/Tacoma, Carlos. Rake!