Jul 1, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres left fielder Carlos Quentin (18) follows through during the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
The Seattle Mariners recently acquired slugger Carlos Quentin after he was released by the Atlanta Braves. The Mariners really can thank the San Diego Padres for Quentin, as they traded him to Atlanta for closer Craig Kimbrel.
I grew up and spent the better part of 20 years in San Diego. I am a lifelong Padres fan, I am sure you have not met many of those. I have been able to watch Quentin very closely.
So you are probably asking yourself, what are the Mariners getting by signing this aging outfielder in Carlos Quentin? For starters, Quentin is no slouch at the plate. In his 9 seasons in the big leagues, he has accumulated 154 home runs, 491 RBI and a .484 career slugging percentage.
Obviously, he has had injury concerns. Padres fans are well aware of that. He is almost 33 years old. What could he possibly contribute to the Mariners success this season? The Mariners acquired the mighty Nelson Cruz to fill the void of the right-handed power bat that the Mariners lacked a season ago.
Over the majority of the 3 seasons he played for the Padres, most of the fans talked about how Quentin was best suited for the American League. He didn’t fit as well in the Padres system of speedy, multi-tool outfielders they have had the last few years.
“He would fit perfectly as a DH.” That phrase was said numerous times by numerous people watching Quentin “patrol” the outfield in San Diego.
When Quentin last played in the American League, with the Chicago White Sox, he was a feared slugger. In 2008, he was an All-Star as he hit 36 home runs and collected 100 RBI. He ended up having four consecutive 20+ home run seasons that ended when he switched to the Senior Circuit.
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Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon has hinted that we will likely see Nelson Cruz in the outfield occasionally. That would open the door to give Quentin a look at DH. Now, I know he signed a minor league deal. This means he needs to prove himself first. If he does, he can contribute to the Mariners’ mission to end their playoff drought.
In his career, he has 13 home runs as a designated hitter and 5 more as a pinch hitter. That was the main role he had in San Diego, off the bench as a late power bat. Last season, he was used almost exclusively as a bench player. In 2014 he hit .364 with 2 home runs as a pinch hitter.
He can find his niche with the Mariners if he is healthy. He has just needed a chance with an AL club. He is well liked by Padres fans but we all knew he needed an AL system to truly thrive.
Will it work out? I don’t know. He could get hurt or just not hit. Time and at-bats will tell. But he could be an underrated pick-up if he gets in a groove. The dude can still mash.