The Padres traded catcher Nick Hundley to the Orioles for left-handed pitcher Troy Patton on Saturday morning. Nick's a great guy, but there just wasn't any room behind the plate with Yasmani Grandal having the bigger upside and Rene Rivera the superior defensive backstop.
The guy the Padres really miss in the lineup is Carlos Quentin. Like, a lot. Sure, they scored 11 runs Friday night, but they just can't find any consistency on offense, a fact we saw in great clarity again non Saturday night against the Cubs at Petco Park.
The Friars were hapless against Cubs starter Travis Wood. They only two hits through seven innings against the lefty, one of them an infield single by Everth Cabrera to lead off the game.
But, in the 8th, with the Padres down 3-nothing, Wood walked Grandal. Quentin came on to pinch-hit and showed everyone why they need him to be out there. The man is instant offense!!
Carlos smashed a 405-foot, 2-run blast to left field, his second homer of the year (in a mere 13 at-bats). Carlos is one of the hardest working guys in the game. He puts in countless hours to be able to play, his body just keeps letting him down ... but you see his importance every time he's in the lineup.
His bomb accounted for the only two runs the Padres scored. Chicago won 3-2. I asked a couple guys in the clubhouse if it's oversimplifying to say Quentin is the one piece they need to be a consistently decent offensive ballclub.
I did not exactly get a solid, "No."
"Well, he makes us better," said Manager Bud Black. "He's arguably our best offensive player each and every night he's in the game."
"He's a guy that, obviously, helps our lineup tremendously when he's in there," said 3rd baseman Chase Headley, who enjoyed the greatest offensive success of his career in 2012 with Quentin sitting right behind him in the batting order. "He has that damage potential every time he comes to the plate."
Quentin's two home runs give him one more than Will Venable and Chris Denorfia, and the same number as Everth Cabrera and Yonder Alonso, all of whom have at least 10 times the at-bats that Quentin has.
Carlos, get well (and stay well) soon.