My sister, commenting on her play in her lesbian social softball league, “I’m the Carlos Quentin of my team; the hottest, the youngest, and the worst fielder.”
My sister, yelling from right field, “SAME THING ALWAYS CARLOS! DEATH, TAXES, AND YOU FLYING OUT TO CENTER!”
Hawk Harreslon on Quentin, “The advance scouting on Carlos has gotta be the easiest to follow in the league”
My mother after CQ waived at an 0-2 slider down and away “Well, that was dumb.”
Suffice it to say that Carlos Quentin has lost the “Wow, what a ballplayer” mystique that followed him around after the 2008 season. Along with offensive production that has depreciated from ‘MVP level’ to ‘Kinda old Danny Tartabull’, CQ has complicated matters by playing the worst outfield defense since that day Mickey Mantle took a tour of the Jim Beam factory prior to a night game.
I could go on at length about how Quentin’s On-Base Percentage is down 60 points from his prime year, he hasn’t homered in a month, has upped the strikeouts significantly, and is somehow 120 games into the season, a full-time starter, and through some incredible anomaly of planet alignments, infield pop-ups, and gimp-like running, has failed to amass 100 total hits in 2010. Also, he has poor range, poor ball skills, and poor judgment in the outfield; an incredible triumvirate of poverty usually reserved to depressing Brazillian movies about 6-year olds shooting people in the face.
Man, I could go on about that for hours…but that’s a FanGraphs article.
More than simply his performance on the field, and sub-replacement level-ness, Quentin has managed to juxtapose himself to cripple the White Sox in a variety ways, probably for reasons that aren’t entirely his fault. Maybe I was a lot more cynical about the capabilities of the rest of the ballclub than Kenny Williams & Co., but at the beginning of the season, I saw this as a year very much dependent on CQ’s emergence. With a roster that’s pretty much aging all over, featured very unproven parts like washed-up Mark Kotsay, and possibly washed-up Alex Rios, and had all-time franchise hero Paul Konerko in a contract year; a 35 HR, .950 OPS year from Carlos would have gone a long way to solidifying what the hell the Sox are supposed to do going from this point.
His defense provided a fairly large drawback to the Manny Ramirez pickup, as it forced to Sox to either remain committed to the worst right-field coverage in the league, rely more heavily on the inconsistent Andruw Jones, or even shift Kotsay to the field as shown Saturday night. Going forward, if the White Sox are going to remained committed to Quentin, any offensive addition needs to come along with someone who can actually defend right field. Unless they care to cut out the legs of their starting rotation again and add an extra run a week to the opposition.
Offensively is where Carlos has really thrown the team into flux. Perhaps the Sox were always going to need to re-sign Paul Konerko, but now it becomes an absolute mandate as letting Paulie walk would leave the White Sox without a dominant run-producer in the lineup, or even a single player with an OPS over .850. With decent HR and RBI numbers, Quentin should still fetch a decent raise in arbitration next season despite a year that made every Sox observer question whether Carlos’ best years are behind him, as opposed to 34 year-old guy with a prominent bald spot.
Two seasons ago, Quentin was a player the offense could be built around; a young player in his physical prime with plenty of years remaining under team control. Now, his remaining years are a cost the White Sox have to think twice about committing themselves to, and his age is the only reason to not give up on him after two years of shaky durability, poor plate discipline, and awful defense.
In retrospect, acquiring the future of the franchise straight-up for a Low-A prospect (albeit a touted one) was a little too good to be true, and just another slapdash effort by the front office to avoid the harder work of building a real talent pool. But I have to push ‘watching a young phenom developing into absolutely nothing special at all’ as being just as hard to watch as Jake Peavy’s back exploding, the Padres winning with our pitchers, Jim Thome leading our rivals to the playoffs after begging to stay, and ‘The Club’ not featuring any clips of Scott Linebrink and Bobby Jenks working out together.