We’re getting deeper into April. Historically, there haven’t been many interesting transactions between this time and July, so I’m going to have to stretch. Hence today’s topic: outfielder Carlos Quentin. The Braves acquired Quentin from the Padres on April 5, 2015 but released him nine days later. It was actually a blockbuster trade: the Braves sent Melvin Upton Jr. and Craig Kimbrel to the Padres in exchange for Quentin, Cameron Maybin, Matt Wisler, and minor leaguer Jordan Paroubeck. The deal didn’t really work out for either side as Kimbrel was only a Padre for one season before being sent to the Red Sox.
Quentin was a first-round pick by the Diamondbacks in 2003. He debuted in 2006 and put up solid numbers in 57 games, but his 2007 was a step back. He suffered a torn labrum in spring training, then put up disappointing numbers upon his return resulting in a demotion to Triple-A. The Diamondbacks traded him to the White Sox in the offseason in exchange for Chris Carter, then a hot prospect.
In 2008, Quentin broke out, becoming an All-Star, earning a Silver Slugger, and finishing fifth in AL MVP voting. He hit .288/.394/.571 with 36 home runs and 100 RBI over 569 plate appearances. He appeared to finally be coming into his own. Sadly, as would become common throughout his career, Quentin succumbed to injury. He battled plantar fasciitis, which caused his production to decline. His .965 OPS in ’08 dropped to .779 in ’09.
In the ensuing years, Quentin was productive when he was actually on the field, posting an adjusted OPS of 119 in 2010, 112 in 2011, 146 in ’12, and 145 in ’13. However, he averaged 417 plate appearances per year in that span of time. Quentin battled a sprained left shoulder and underwent three surgeries on his right knee over those four seasons.
By the time the Braves released Quentin on this day five years ago, Quentin was on his way out of baseball. He signed a minor league deal with the Mariners shortly thereafter, but announced his retirement after only five games at Triple-A Tacoma. Quentin came out of retirement the next year, signing a minor league deal with the Twins. After learning he would not make the big league roster out of camp, he asked for his release. He went to play in the Triple-A Mexican League. In February 2017, Quentin signed a minor league contract with the Red Sox, but again, he did not make the major league roster for the start of the regular season. That summer, Quentin would play in the Mexican Baseball League before ending his playing career.
Quentin’s career is one that makes you wonder what might have been if he had been able to stay healthy. Even with what relatively little playing time he had, he belted 154 home runs in 3,247 plate appearances. The rate of 21 PA per homer matches that of Miguel Cabrera (477 homers in 10,236 PA).