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Baseball Insider

Quentin a prime trade candidate, but Padres may try to keep him, if ...

Carlos Quentin could be the star hitter of a trade market this July, considering his brilliant beginning with the Padres combined with a lack of big-time bats expected to be available. However, the Padres haven't entirely given up the idea of signing to an extension the San Diego product who has come home to play and is thriving.

There is one big caveat to San Diego signing Quentin, who's eligible for free agency after the year, though. Beyond the obvious fact the Padres are a low-revenue team, the Padres' unsettled ownership situation could possibly come into play in a way that would diminish the team's chances to retain him.

Current owner John Moores has the team for sale. Expected to be for at least $500 million, the sale is obviously the priority. The Dodgers were able to lock up star outfielder Matt Kemp to a $160-million, eight-year deal while lame-duck owner Frank McCourt was still in power, but an unsettled ownership situation always still carries the potential to impact big-money deals, especially for a small-market team. The ownership situation isn't likely to be settled before the August owners meetings.

The Padres acquired Quentin because they saw him as the middle-of-the-order presence they needed, but they couldn't have envisioned his unreal production since coming off the disabled list. He is hitting .522 through six games with nine extra-base hits (five homers and four doubles) and an otherworldly 1.925 OPS.

Quentin is expcted to seek a large deal based on his career .847 OPS and ability to carry a club when hot and healthy. So perhaps the Padres can't even affordn him under the best of circumstances.

While a case could be made that a couple of comps for Quentin could be Michael Cuddyer, who got $31.5 million for three years from Colorado, and Josh Willingham, who got $21 million for three years from Minnesota, Quentin's shown a greater ability to carry a club when right. Plus, a potentially thin market for middle-of-the-order bats and a new economy, based upon the Dodgers' enormous sale price, and other recent player signings could drive his price up much higher than that.

In the meantime, a trade remains very possible, maybe even probable. Teams that could seek another right-handed bat include the Phillies, Rangers (though they probably would be satisfied with a platoon type), Tigers and several others.

But there's another team that could use Quentin, as well, and that is the Padres.


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