BBQ: Carlos Quentin Flying the Coop?

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BBQ: Carlos Quentin Flying the Coop?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010
9:14 PM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

With rumors, whispers, and team sources ever swirling through the offseason, turn to the BBQ to provide a bit of a reality check. Heres an examination of the rumor that Chicago White Sox GM Ken Williams is looking to swap right-fielder Carlos Quentin for St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Colby Rasmus:

Dont Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen like Quentin?

Love him. Both Williams and Guillen expressed support and admiration for their fiery and oft-injured right fielder in their season-assessing comments last month. Williams sees a lot of himself in the youngster, both with their football backgrounds and the challenges that being too intense presents (Williams has lamented that the week-long buildup that football provides is a better fit for his brand of hyperintensity.) Meanwhile the skipper went so far as to call Quentin one of his three model players that September call-ups should emulate.

So why would Quentin be on the trading block?

The reality of the situation is that Williams was unable to translate his intensity to baseball and fears the same from Quentin. If Quentin is unable to stop beating himself up over setbacks, his value dissipates.

Hes averaged just 120 games per season with the White Soxisnt Quentins biggest problem being hurt physically, not mentally?

To the Chicago brain trust, everything negative about young Qfrom his injuries and slumps, even to defensive lapses or awkward work on the basepathsstems not from physical limitations or being injury prone, but self-criticism.
Has Quentin finally gotten the message that he needs to lighten up?

Late in the year, the media-shy Quentin finally acknowledged a need to lighten up. Apparently was convincing enough in meetings with Williams and Guillen for that pair to anticipate big things in 2011, Quentins fourth full major league season.

Is Quentin still a good fit for the White Sox?

Well, the clock is starting to run out on Quentin in Chicago. His defensive lapsesgraver for a right-fielder than when he roamed in leftare now completely offsetting his offensive worth. His best fit with the White Sox, despite being just 28 and with the wear of less than 500 major league games on his legs, is designated hitter. Meanwhile, his yearly arbitration price is only rising (3.2 million in 2010 and a safe bet for 4 million in 2011).

Rasmus is just 24 years oldwhy would he be available?

In spite of Cards GM John Mozeliak giving no indication Rasmus would be dealt this winter, hes yet to hear Williams offer, sure to be Quentin-plus. Rasmus did get in some sort of row with St. Louis skipper Tony LaRussa and while everyone is making nice right now, teams are inclined to make nice with potential superstars.

Wont the White Sox have sellers remorse if Quentin returns to 2008 form?

Even if Q was coming off a near-miss MVP season as was his 2008 (.965 OPS and 36 homers in 130 games), Chicago would be inclined to consider Rasmus, a left-handed batter who is a defensive aid rather than a liability. As superb as Alex Rios was in center in 2010, acquiring Rasmus would push Rios to right, and along with Juan Pierre patrolling left field, would give Chicago center field-speed at all three outfield positions. Offensively, Rasmus is no slouch. Four years younger than Quentin and all-importantly under team control until 2016, the lefty swatted 23 homers en route to an .859 OPS in 2010. He had a colossal 149 strikeouts, but would trim his Ks as he matures.

Would trading for Rasmus affect any other White Sox free agent decisions?

Acquiring Rasmus and his middle-order (he batted fifth for St. Louis in 2010), left-handed bat might also alleviate the need to automatically bring back A.J. Pierzynski and potentially avoid overpaying for a booming lefty like Fielder, Martinez, or Dunn.

BBQ Verdict: Tasty

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute White Sox information.

David Robertson, Nate Jones return to White Sox after WBC victory

David Robertson, Nate Jones return to White Sox after WBC victory

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Having experienced a playoff-like atmosphere at the World Baseball Classic, David Robertson and Nate Jones already feel prepared for the regular season. 

The two relievers returned to White Sox camp on Friday morning bearing gold medals from a Team USA WBC title run that concluded on Wednesday night with an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Robertson, who recorded the final three outs of the clinching victory, said he's glad to be back and won't need much of a tune-up to be ready for the April 3 season opener.

"Back up to speed?" Robertson said. "More like slow down and get ready for the season. I'll probably play catch (Friday). I didn't throw (Thursday), I spent the day traveling. Probably play catch today, and be ready to throw (Saturday). If I needed to throw today, I could. I feel like I'm season ready right now."

"It feels good to be back. It's been a long trip doing this WBC, so it's good to be back and relax a little bit. Have a couple days before we start the season."

Both Jones and Robertson appeared four times each for Team USA with similar results. Each allowed a solo home run but nothing else. Jones said he brought his gold medal back to camp because he isn't yet ready to put it in his safety deposit box. His favorite moments of the tournament were brought on by raucous crowds.

"Once you get a crowd chanting USA that was a pretty cool moment," Jones said. "You're proud of representing your country, and once they did that, it all kind of set in, like, ‘Wow, this is happening.'

"It's just pure excitement, everybody going crazy."

Jones and Robertson said they're pleased to have returned to the relative tranquility of White Sox camp after they lived out of a suitcase for the previous 18 days. Both were set to meet with pitching coach Don Cooper and manager Rick Renteria to discuss their upcoming schedule. Jones said he expected to throw a side session on Friday in front of Cooper to have his mechanics reviewed. Robertson last pitched on Wednesday and didn't know when he'd throw again.

"They've been busy, obviously, with Robbie finishing up the last game," Renteria said. "We'll see how the schedule lines up in terms of their usage for the remaining 9-10 days."

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Robertson is pretty sure he won't need much work. Whereas the team's closer normally waits until the first week of March to appear in a game, Robertson has pitched in plenty this spring. Each of the last four has had a ton more intensity than any normal Cactus League work.

"It felt like playoff baseball really early in the year," Robertson said. "Just coming from Miami, trying to win a couple days in there was really hard. Fans were really loud. That place was a very intense environment, and it didn't feel like you were the home team at all.

"It felt like (a home game) when we were in San Diego We were the home team there, and when we got to L.A., same thing. Although, I will say that when we were playing the Japanese, it erupted a couple times when they had some big moments in their game. It was just a lot of fun to play in this whole event. It was definitely more than I expected."

Jose Quintana gets the Opening Day start for White Sox

Jose Quintana gets the Opening Day start for White Sox

 

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Jose Quintana has been named the Opening Day starter — for the White Sox.

While many are surprised he still hasn't been traded, few should be shocked by the news manager Rick Renteria delivered on Friday, when he announced Quintana would pitch the April 3 opener.

With Chris Sale gone to Boston, Quintana, a first-time All-Star in 2016, has been the odds-on favorite to take over as the team's ace. The only question seemed to be whether or not he'd still be in a White Sox uniform when the season began. But the club made it clear Friday that Quintana is their guy and he'll face the Detroit Tigers in the first game of 2017. The only one who seemed a little taken aback about the news is Quintana.

"I was surprised," Quintana said. "I knew I may get the ball for that day, but they didn't say nothing, so you didn't know. I just kept going and doing my workouts and all my stuff. I'm really, really happy with this opportunity. It's huge for me. I can't wait for that day to come.

"I'm excited to have this opportunity. It's a huge honor for me to have the ball for Opening Day the first time in my life. And I think it's a once-in-a-life opportunity."

Asked about the announcement earlier in the week, Renteria said he needed more time. Many speculated that it meant the White Sox were continuing to listen to offers for Quintana, who has drawn constant interest since the team began its rebuild in December.

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Quintana, who went 13-12 with a 3.20 ERA and 181 strikeouts in 208 innings last season, has looked fantastic all spring. Pitching in front of more than a dozen scouts on Thursday, Quintana made his first Cactus League appearance in a month and allowed two hits over seven scoreless innings. The left-hander also put on a brilliant performance for Colombia in the World Baseball Classic on March 10 as he retired the first 17 Team USA hitters he faced before allowing a hit.

"He's very happy about it," Renteria said. "He has obviously earned it.

"I don't know if he was surprised as much as he was elated and proud to be given the opportunity to be the Opening Day starter. It's a privilege."

Quintana's resume of consistency made him a clear-cut choice for the nod. He heads into 2017 having pitched at least 200 innings in each of the past four seasons. In that span, he's produced a 3.32 ERA and 18.1 Wins Above Replacement, according to fangraphs.com. That figure represents the seventh-highest WAR total among all big league pitchers in that span.

Even though he's viewed as the staff ace, Quintana — who potentially has four years and $36.85 million left on his current contract — said he was surprised by the news because the club hadn't yet informed him of the honor.

"It means a lot for me, especially after last year when you make the All-Star team and this year the opportunity to play in the WBC and now you have the opportunity to pitch on Opening Day," Quintana said. "That's a lot of things happening for me now and I'm happy. And really blessed. You just try to do all my things every time.

"Maybe they don't know what it means for me, but it's a big thing."