After all the wheeling and dealing by Billy Beane this winter (and by the way, he’s never actually done doing such a thing), the A’s have found themselves bereft of power up and down the lineup. Gone from the 2014 squad are Josh Donaldson’s 29 home runs, Brandon Moss’ 25 and Yoenis Cespedes’ 22 (five with Boston.) That’s a lot of dingers that have now gone literally bye-bye.
The new hitters brought in are capable of doing decent damage when healthy, such as Billy Butler, Ike Davis, Ben Zobrist and Brett Lawrie, but none of them are likely to mash 25 round-trippers. It will be fine if the A’s pitch well, which they normally do, and play better defense than they did last season. Bob Melvin has already stated his desire to run more and eliminate the opposition from doing the same. But there’s nothing like a good, old fashioned, Earl Weaver special: the three-run shot. Every American League team needs that threat somewhere in the batting order. I’m thinking of one guy who might fit the bill.
New Padres General Manager A.J. Preller has made it clear that he has no intention of having San Diego spend yet another season as a team with a pretty ballpark but with no ambition. He has gambled away many of the farm system’s top prospects in order to make his new employer a real contender in the NL West this year. He recently inked free agent starting pitcher James Shields to a $75 million pact to lead an impressive rotation which includes Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross and Ian Kennedy.
However, Preller made the most noise earlier when he created an entirely new outfield consisting of Justin Upton, Matt Kemp and Wil Meyers. This means there’s nowhere left for outfield slugger Carlos Quentin, so they’ve begun trying him at first base in order to get his bat into the lineup. This had led Quentin to declare on Wednesday that he will waive his no-trade clause to go to an AL team, where he can play outfield and DH.
“There will be a lot of eyes seeing how well I’m doing, and I’ll be open to the opportunity to be moved, if that comes about in Spring Training. My main goal is to have a successful year and be in a position to be successful. I feel good now. You can’t count on your health throughout a long season, and everyone knows the AL has the DH that would allow me to get at-bats without putting the wear and tear on my body. That’s the realistic part of it, and I’m well aware of it.”
Quentin is in the last year of his contract and is slated to make $8 million. There is an option of $10 million for 2016 which includes a buy-out of $3 million. As we’ve seen from the GMs of both San Diego and Oakland, they’ve been rather aggressive this winter and I believe Quentin could be had for a reasonable price, even with the Padres picking up a portion of his salary – just my opinion.
“Q-perman”, as he was known in Chicago, has not been healthy for the last three seasons. It’s been one injury after another during his eight-year career, from Tommy John surgery to a fractured wrist to knee surgery to plantar fasciitis to another knee surgery. The former first round pick of the Diamondbacks has not had a lot of luck lately, so he’s a big risk, no doubt. But the man once traded straight-up for Chris Carter is a beast when he’s driving on all cylinders. He’s a two-time All-Star who I believe has a lot left in the tank.
Last year he sat in with me for two hours during my SportsByline radio show – my buddy John Baker, the Mariners catcher (pictured) had brought him along since they were good friends. It was cool to talk baseball with him because he’s known for normally being quiet with the press. I found him very sincere, thoughtful, and yet also still having that linebacker attitude (he was a star at OLB in high school). I think the A’s are probably not kicking the tires on him, but I would. The A’s starting left fielder right now is Quentin’s former Stanford teammate, Sam Fuld, who hit four home runs last year. That’s a horrendous return for a corner outfielder. So I would at least discuss the idea of acquiring Quentin if I was Oakland’s GM, as long as Preller doesn’t ask for the moon. Quentin just might give the A’s that power threat they’re presently lacking.
At the very least, he’d be the spearhead of any bench-clearing brawl. Just ask Zach Greinke.