Beginning of End or New Beginning

Posted by on February 25th, 2015  •  0 Comments  • 

It might be a new story, or it might be a bad ending.  It all begins this morning, at the Padres camp in the Cactus League.
While all the focus, the spotlight, has been on the job new GM AJ Preller did in ripping apart the foundation of the sad sack franchise, and rebuilding with new players, the status of the crumbling outfielder with the big contract remains unresolved.
Carlos Quentin has broken down.  It has been three years of injuries, tons of missed games, trips to the DL, and patient waiting to see if he can ever be what he used to be, a feared power hitter, than what he is now, a broken down wreck.
Since coming from the Chicago White Sox three years back, Quentin has endured 3-knee scopes in one knee and has had to fight his way through a deep knee bruise in the other leg.
This is the final year of his mega contract, one that paid him 9M last season, 8M the year before, and another $9M this season including a likely buyout.
The cost of the contract, and the lack of production, is probably what got GM Josh Byrnes fired last summer. 
In three seasons, the once power hitting Diamondback and Chisox flychaser has hit in the .250s, and has just 33-home runs in that span. 
The Padres have played 486-games in that span, and Quentin has played just 218, missing 268.  
His passion runs high; he runs into walls, pounds on the bases, falls down in the outfield trying to make the tough catch, and he  always gets hurt.  
You don’t see him much in the clubhouse, recluse that he is.  If you were allowed entrance, you’d find him in the trainers rooms, more than in the lineup.  

The overhaul of the Padres outfielder, the huge acquisition of three starters, is an upgrade, but also likely a true message, they don’t believe he can play in the garden any longer.

A year ago this week Quentin said it was the healthiest his knees ever felt, and then promptly was limited in games, and then went down again, with a deep knee bruise.  The season became a total washout.

He has returned to Peoria, echoing the same sentiments, feeling good, hoping to stay healthy, but there is a new development, he will attempt to become a part time first baseman.

Quentin won’t have to cover lots of ground but will have to learn a new role.  It might allow the team to keep his bat, but it might allow them to showcase him to an American League team, where his role as a DH might better allow him to compete.

The veteran knows the writing is on the wall; no place to play in San Diego, no DH in the National League, and the only hope is to waive a no trade clause to head to the other league.  

The Padres might have to eat a large chunk of the contract, might not get much in return, but will then have a roster spot. Or maybe he can handle the role, stay healthy, hit some home runs with a better lineup, and be a part-time force off the bench.

It’s easy to criticize him for all the failings since coming home in the Sox deal, but maybe it is unfair.  He got hurt wearing your colors.  

Heart is willing, body hasn’t.  Maybe Quentin deserves this one final chance.  Maybe the Padres owe him that; maybe he owes them production


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