In a bit of news that pretty much shocked the hell out of me, Jon Heyman of CBS floated out a tidbit that the San Diego Padres aren't going to look to trade Carlos Quentin and Huston Street at the deadline....but in fact, sign the duo to long-term deals.
Quentin is one of the more attractive corner outfield bats on the market, and Street is one of the best relievers. Both have missed substantial time this yeat, but have been great while healthy. So....why in the name of god would the Padres want to bring either player back instead of trading them?
Injuries have absolutely destroyed Quentin's career. He's played in just 38 games this year after being dealt from the White Sox to the Padres, but has eight homers an an .886 OPS this year. He'll turn 30 at the end of August, but has dealt with injuries over his entire career, missing at least 30 games in each of his four full seasons in the majors. Because of his age and fragility, he's not really a great long-term extension option, especially for a Padres team that is years away from contending.
The same thing goes for Street, a reliever. Relievers are an especially fringy commodity in the game, and with this morning's deal of both Francisco Cordero and Brandon Lyon, the market just got a little thinner a week and a half before the deadline. The Padres screwed up last year by hanging on to Heath Bell and not trading him, only to see him sign with the Marlins as a free agent. The soon to be 29 year-old Street has missed time in each of the last three seasons. A team like the Padres doesn't need to devote millions to a closer, and Street could command an eight figure yearly salary. Considering that the Padres have a younger, cheap, potentially dominant closer in Luke Gregerson currently in their pen, an extension for Street would be foolish for this team, at this point.
I really won't know what to make of the Padres if they don't trade Quentin and/or street and continue negotiations on long-term deals for both players. This is a team whose best starter pitcher this year is a guy in Edinson Volquez that is walking five batters per nine innings. They have so many holes especially on the mound, that paying millions for a closer and a corner outfielder that could at least get them a decent enought on the trade market makes absolutely no sense for them.
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Joe, the Padres paid two pitching prospect to GET Quentin, and that's all they get if they trade him. The got him because they're a weak hitting team that needs a home run threat in the middle of the lineup. The proof is in the performance: In 56 games without Quentin they've averaged 3.1 runs/game. With him playing, they've averaged 4.2 runs/game. For a light hitting team that extra run/game is huge.
Then there's Street, the anchor of the bullpen. The Padres have had impressive closers and impressive bullpens - the two are related. The Padres manager, Bud Black, said when you have a closer as an anchor, the other relievers fall into their roles. There's also the strategy of having a reliable closer who can succeed over 90% of the time, like Trevor Hoffman, Heath Bell, and Street. You force the other team to play an eight inning game - that's a huge tactical advantage, and that's why Street was acquired.
I know most observers keep saying, they're rebuilding - get some prospects. You can't keep doing that or the rebuilding never ends. The Padres have done it four years on a shoestring budget and the farm is stacked. With new owners coming in, looking to make a splash, it's time for that team to hold onto its players and build up the major league team by raising its near-the-bottom payroll, and drawing more fans to the ballpark. At some point, you have to hold onto good players and add to them to get a winning team, and the Padres have reached that point.
@gloccamorra I wouldn't have a problem with keeping either player...if they were younger. Quentin is always hurt, and he's not exactly a young building block like someone like Alonso, Grandal, or hell, even Headley (who's older than either of those two, but plays a premium position). As for Street, he's a closer. Why would a small market, low budget team like the Padres want to spend 15-20% of their payroll on a closer? It's a luxury purchase. A lot of the closers in the league have been picked off of the scrap heap (or are young), and not being paid a ton of money. Of the 11 closers in the league with at least 20 saves, the only two who were coveted free agents are Jonathan Papelbon and Rafael Soriano. Guys like Fernando Rodney and Jonathan Broxton are having pretty damn good years, and they were signed for peanuts.
@joelucia @gloccamorra Joe, I think you're misreading the current position of the Padres. It's a small media market, but a midsize market overall, and the payroll is and has been abnormally low due to Jeff Moorad's desire to pay down debt. The market can handle $75-$80 million with their new TV contract, so Street's $9 million option, what they offered Heath Bell, is reasonable. It's impossible to find good power hitters to play in Petco, so they had to trade for one who is FROM San Diego and wants to stay. Josh Byrnes will take 120 games with that middle of the order bat for a couple years, while he sees what moving in the fences will do. It's not about building around these guys, but keeping them for a couple years for their on and off the field influence. They're just now getting over the Orlando Hudson effect that poisoned the clubhouse.
@gloccamorra Fair enough....looks like the extension is just about done, 3/27-30. Not terrible. Thanks for the intelligent, spirited discourse! Much-needed around these parts.