Arizona has two corner outfielders with no-trade clauses in Luis Gonzalez and Shawn Green, one resurgent corner outfield prospect in Scott Hairston, and one of baseball's best overall prospects shooting through the system in outfielder Carlos Gonzalez. So while 'expendable' might not be a word that you'd like to use with a talent like Carlos Quentin, it certainly wouldn't have depleted the organization to parlay him into some immediate pitching help.
Moving Quentin was attractive on other levels, too. Trading him might have freed up a spot on Arizona's 40-man roster. It would be much better to trade a prospect and get value for a two month stretch than to lose a prospect to the Rule V draft and get nothing in return. Clearly, Luis Gonzalez was threatened by his presence. Trading Quentin therefore might have seemed like the right move in terms of PR and team chemistry.
Fortunately, Quentin played so incredibly well in his first ten games that the notion of trading him became impossible.
At the deadline, Carlos was hitting .350 with four homers and nine RBI in just 20 at bats. His extra-inning home run against the Phillies turned out to be a game-winner. Quentin has proven that he can be an impact player even if he only gets two starts per week. There weren't many players at the deadline who could help the team this year as much as Quentin can, so why not keep the long-term rights to such a promising young player?
Happily, Quentin's presence has also served to raise Luis Gonzalez' level of play instead of disrupting it. Gonzo is currently riding a 12-game hitting streak and now leads all of baseball in doubles. Since Quentin got called up, Gonzalez has hit .435 with a dozen extra base hits, eleven runs scored, and only two strikeouts. Looks like the team chemistry is doing just fine.
As famous as the Karim Garcia-for-Luis Gonzalez trade on December 28, 1998 was, this non-trade of Carlos Quentin could go down in Diamondbacks history as one of the best decisions of the Josh Byrnes era... even though it probably didn't go the way that he had intended it to...
When the Chicago Cubs traded Ivan DeJesus for Larry Bowa in 1982, they thought that throw-in Ryne Sandberg might be a productive utility player someday. When the Oakland A's acquired Dennis Eckersley in 1987, they thought that they were getting a starter who could eat some innings. When the St. Louis Cardinals brought up Albert Pujols in 2001, they thought that he might be able to replace Fernando Tatis' production at third base. When the Arizona Diamondbacks brought up Carlos Quentin in 2006, they thought that he could net them a productive pitcher in a trade.
Sometimes things just don't work out as planned.
Read more from Keith Glab at www.baseballevolution.com