3 Down: Why Carlos Quentin Will Be On The Opening Day Roster

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Recently, Mark Whelan opined about why San Diego Padres‘ outfielder and regular occupant of the disabled list, Carlos Quentin, has to be off the Friars’ 25-man roster by Opening Day. Here’s the thing, he still has value, even at $8 million dollars. Mark explained how if the team could get him some consistent spring at-bats in the DH role, that an American League team in need of power, like the Detroit Tigers or Baltimore Orioles might come calling. Unfortunately, unless the Padres are willing to eat most or all of that $8 million deal, that simply isn’t going to happen. 

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So what do you do with a guy that is so fragile, so brittle, that he could literally pop a hammy walking out of the dugout and onto the field. Well, first and foremost, you have to hope that an entire winter of rest will help heal Quentin’s achy knees. Secondly, you forget about him as a regular contributor, and look to him as nothing more than a right-handed portion of a pinch-hitting platoon, with Wil Venable being the other half of that. I know, carrying six outfields isn’t ideal, but if you’re A.J. Preller, you are not going to just eat $8 million dollars and say “Go away.” While the Padres have been big dealers this winter, they still aren’t the Dodgers or the Yankees, could can afford to absorb a mistake by paying it to go away. Here’s the last option: you throw away the outfielder’s glove, and you start working Quentin out at first base.

I wrote about this very thing a couple months back, and the idea received mixed reviews. I’m sticking with it, because in all likelihood, he’s going to be on the 25-man roster. Bud Black and A.J. Preller’s job is to keep Quentin healthy, and to keep him productive. What hitter can be productive when he doesn’t have his legs under him? Don’t forget, the Padres are also slated to start Yonder Alonso of all people at first base in 2015. How healthy was he again last season? Oh, that’s right, his wrist was an issue. Wrist, hand, and leg issues can linger from season to season. Alonso claims he’s healthy, but that still doesn’t explain why his bat has been flatline since his arrival in the Mat Latos deal a few years ago.

Whether he has his legs or not, Carlos Quentin is an excellent athlete. And regardless of what one reader said in response to my original post about first base being more difficult to play at Petco than left field, I’m going to wholeheartedly disagree, and will state for a fact, that if the Padres are stuck with Quentin, and have any hope whatsoever of his bat coming back to life, then a move to first base not only should be an option, it should become the mandate. There are plenty of limited-range first baggers throughout baseball, whose sole purpose is to not cause too much damage on defense, while driving in runs at the plate.

I’m not saying that Quentin should start over Alonso. But what I’m saying is, if Quentin is on the roster, proves he can handle the defensive adjustments to first base, and hits in spring training, then you can use him in a platoon role with the light-hitting Alonso, and perhaps get the best that both men have left in the tank in 2015.

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