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.
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