With Carlos Beltran off the market and Ed Wade (thankfully?) balking at a package that included Jonathan Singleton AND Jarred Cosart for Hunter Pence, word is that the Phillies have started to kick the tires on White Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin:
According to Buster Olney of ESPN.com, at least. He says the Phillies "have done background work on Quentin" as they look for a right-handed-hitting outfielder.
The possibility of adding Quentin before the deadline has many of the same people who were clamoring for the Phillies to move Domonic Brown for Pence because we need to "win now" very excited. "He's just the big righthanded bat that this team needs," they say. Leaving aside that the Phillies don't actually "need" a right handed bat (or any bat at all, for that matter), let's talk about why Carlos Quentin isn't someone the Phillies should want.
First off, who is Carlos Quentin? He's a soon-to-be 29-year-old right handed corner outfielder under team control through the 2012 season. He's currently signed to a reasonable 1-year $5.05 million dollar deal.
Offensively, Quentin is an above-average player. This season he has posted a .380 wOBA and a 138 wRC+. In his breakout 2008 campaign he posted a .414 wOBA and 151 wRC+. He has good power (at least 20 HRs each of the last 4 years) and gets on base at a decent .349 career clip.
But the rub with Quentin is not his offense. Simply put, he is flat-out awful in the field. Worse than Raul Ibanez awful. Consider: in 2010, Quentin posted a respectable .356 wOBA and a 117 wRC+ and still logged -0.1 WAR thanks to an abysmal -24.3 UZR. Could it have been a fluke? Maybe. But in 2009 he wasn't much better, posting a -14.5 UZR. To put this in perspective, over his relatively short six year career, he has been worth 29.8 fielding runs below average. Raul Ibanez, meanwhile, over his 16 year career has been worth 46.6 fielding runs below average (17.9 of them this season). Yuck. To be fair, Quentin's UZR has been positive this year, but the bulk of evidence nevertheless suggests that he is well below average on defense.
Finally, it should also be mentioned that Quentin doesn't really "solve" the (non-existent) problem that the Phillies have against left handed pitching. For his career, Quentin, in fact, has a reverse platoon split to the tune of a .349 wOBA and a 109 wRC+ against lefties and a .371 wOBA and 124 wRC+ against righties.
Quentin is absolutely not worth more than the Phillies were willing to give up for Hunter Pence, and if reports are correct that a package of Singleton, Cosart, and more wasn't enough to land Pence, it is likely that the initial asking price for Quentin would also be too high. Furthermore, given that the market has now begun dry up, it is conceivable that they could be asked to pay as much or more than they were ready to pay for Pence--especially if the Phillies were feeling pressured to make some kind of move for a right handed bat at the deadline. This would be bad news.