3 Teams That Should Consider Adding Carlos Quentin
Carlos Quentin's stay in Atlanta didn't last very long.
On Sunday, the outfielder was dealt from the Padres to the Braves in the “Craig Kimbrel trade”, and on Monday, the 32-year-old was designated for assignment.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the Braves will attempt to deal him to an American League club and will release him if a trade cannot be worked out.
Given his subpar 2014 season, it isn’t hard to see why Atlanta has yet to find a willing trade partner. Quentin set career lows in batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging, with a slash line of .177/.284/.315 (76 wRC+) and was sub-replacement level at -0.9 fWAR in 155 plate appearances. His BABIP was .199, but with a 12.9% line drive rate and 14.0% infield fly rate, we probably shouldn’t be blaming bad luck.
Chronically bad knees may have been the culprit, as he has made only 111 starts over the past two seasons. Injury woes are nothing new for Quentin, though, who has only averaged 99 games played per season since 2008.
Still, Quentin (who is also a liability in the field) may still have some value to a few American League clubs as a designated hitter if he can return to some semblance of his old (and healthy) self. He is just one season removed from a .275/.363/.493 (144 wRC+) campaign in 320 plate appearances, and for his career, he has slashed .252/.347/.484 (122 wRC+), with a healthy 9.2% walk rate, 15.9% strikeout rate and .232 isolated slugging.
We project a .248/.333/.412 line, and while that's not great for someone who offers nothing defensively, the .745 OPS is still above what the average American League DH produced last year (.733). FanGraphs projects Quentin to hit .238/.327/.420, good for a 116 wRC+.
With that in mind, here are some teams that Quentin could help.
No team in the majors is projected to get less value from its designated hitters than the Rangers, according to FanGraphs...and yes, that includes the 15 teams in the National League.
Led by Mitch Moreland, who FanGraphs projects to have 412 replacement-level plate appearances at the position, Texas’ DHs are projected to be worth 0.3 WAR.
Our numbers project a .239/.308/.412 (.311 wOBA) slash line in 407 plate appearances for Moreland this year, which is in line with what some other projections see for the lefty. Steamer projects a .244/.306/.413 (.316 wOBA, 97 wRC+), while ZiPS has Moreland at .248/.304/.409 (.313 wOBA, 94 wRC+).
For his career, Moreland has been about average against righties (104 wRC+) but awful against lefties (69), and the righty-lefty split was even more dramatic last year.
Against righties in 2014, his wRC+ was 89, and while he only had 30 plate appearances against same-sided pitching, it was probably for the best, given he posted a wRC+ of 4 versus southpaws (yes, four, and yes, wRC+ is scaled so that 100 is average).
The right-handed hitting Quentin has shown no discernible platoon split for his career as a whole, with a 122 wRC+ against righties and a 120 wRC+ against lefties.
His righty-lefty wRC+ split dropped to 82/67 last year, but provided he’s healthy, Quentin should be able to outhit Moreland from both sides of the plate, so Texas seems like the best fit for him.
Tampa Bay Rays
Tampa Bay is another team that could use some help at designated hitter. Former Athletic John Jaso was the team’s opening day DH, but he hurt his wrist in the opener, and The Tampa Tribune reports he could be headed for the DL.
The lefty-hitting Jaso has a sizable career platoon split (wRC+ of 127 against righties and 53 against lefties), and would have made a good partner for David DeJesus at DH (DeJesus has hit 17% better than league average against lefties but 22% worse against righties).
Brandon Guyer is another option on Tampa Bay's bench, but he has a career 87 wRC+ against righties, so he probably isn’t the answer.
Given Quentin had an 82 wRC+ against righties last year in a campaign in which everything conceivable went wrong for him, some positive regression towards his career average could make him a viable option to split time with DeJesus at DH.
The A’s already have a DH in Billy Butler, but with Josh Reddick and Coco Crisp on the disabled list, they could use some outfield depth. Quentin has been a brutal defender in his career (-46.9 UZR, -53 DRS), but if his knees hold up and his offense returns, he could be more valuable than some of the club’s current outfielders (granted, those are big ifs).
Oakland recently signed Cody Ross, but we project him to post a .690 OPS, after slashing .252/.306/.322 in 219 plate appearances with the Diamondbacks last year.
Even if his knees preclude him from playing the outfield, he could make a solid platoon partner for Butler.
The right-handed hitting Butler has not hit poorly against same-sided pitching, posting a 109 career wRC+ against righties (which still pales in comparison to his 142 career wRC+ against lefties).
Quentin, though has hit better against righties than Butler in his career, and the two hit comparably against same-sided pitching last year (84 wRC+ for Butler, 82 wRC+ for Quentin).
His injury history makes him about the furthest thing from a sure thing, but given his track record when healthy and the fact that he will probably cost almost nothing, acquiring Quentin seems like a risk worth taking for all three clubs listed above.