There are too many teams jockeying back and forth for playoff positions, so the Mets are going to need to do something to help them pull away from the competition. Clearly, their top need remains in the bullpen, but Bobby Parnell has been stepping up recently. Tim Byrdak has been solid all year. Since returning from the DL two weeks ago, Ramon Ramirez has not given up an earned run in 5⅓ innings. And Frank Francisco was finally doing well before he got hurt last month (1.35 ERA, .176 BAA in his last 13 appearances prior to his DL stint). The bullpen could use a lefty here, a pitcher not named Miguel Batista there. But getting a right-handed bat might be just as pressing a need for the Mets.
Earlier today, Twitter and radio personality (not to mention podcaster extraordinaire) Mike Silva tweeted the following:
Mets have scouts following Padres big interest in Carlos Quentin. Pads want a couple prospects back. Name mentioned most is Michael Fulmer.
— Mike Silva(@MikeSilvaMedia) July 8, 2012
Carlos Quentin has always had a strong bat. However, he is prone to injuries. Ever since his first taste of the big leagues as a 23-year-old in 2006, Quentin has never played more than 131 games in a season. However, when healthy (as he is now), he can be quite productive.
Quentin began the season on the disabled list, not making his debut with the Padres until May 28. But once he returned to the team, his bat came along with him. In 32 games this year, Quentin has batted .273 with 7 doubles, 7 HR and 17 RBI. He makes excellent contact, striking out 18 times in 110 at-bats, and also has a keen eye at the plate, as evidenced by his .403 on-base percentage. He is also not afraid to lean in on the plate. In 2011, Quentin led the majors when he was hit by pitches 23 times. Despite the fact that he has yet to reach his 30th birthday, Quentin has been hit by 105 pitches, which would make Ron Hunt and Craig Biggio proud.
Although Quentin has a .253 career batting average, he has always been at his best in clutch situations. With runners in scoring position, he has a lifetime .281 batting average. He is also a .324 career hitter with a runner on third and less than two outs, meaning he doesn't just make productive outs to drive in runs - he extends rallies by getting run-scoring hits.
Finally, as a right-handed hitter, Quentin would help improve the Mets' chances against left-handed pitchers. The Mets are an awful 12-20 in games started by southpaws, as opposed to a 34-19 record when facing a right-handed starter. Quentin would combine with David Wright and Scott Hairston (who would move over to right field to give Lucas Duda a day off against a left-handed starter) to form a potent right-handed middle of the batting order against southpaws.
Carlos Quentin is available and the Padres are serving him up on a trade bait platter. The Mets should reel him in before someone else snags him away. He could be the equalizer the Mets need whenever their opponent starts a left-handed pitcher.