Odd Man Out

Prior to the 2007 season the Arizona Diamondbacks were marketing and showcasing their plethora of young talent that would make up their team. The future looked so bright with a core of young players who had come up through the minor leagues together and were now ready to show their stuff at the Major League level. The Diamondbacks web site echoed this by featuring several players in the heading. There was Cy Young award winner Brandon Webb and first baseman Conor Jackson. There were photos of Rookie of the Year candidate Chris Young and shortstop Stephen Drew. And there was Right Fielder Carlos Quentin who had been branded with someone who possessed unlimited potential.

For most of 2006 the talk was surrounding Carlos Quentin and what a travesty it was that he was languishing in Triple-A. He had proven all that he needed to at the minor league level but was blocked by Shaun Green. That all changed when the Diamondbacks traded Green to the New York Mets. Carlos Quentin was recalled from Tucson and made an immediate impact hitting for power as well as showing very good plate discipline. It looked as though the Diamondbacks had finally found a true right fielder. The plan was for Carlos Quentin to play right field, Chris Young to be in center and for Eric Byrnes to play left field in 2007. This would give phenom Justin Upton one year to mature in the minor leagues before taking his place in the outfield replacing Eric Byrnes who would be a free agent. Sometimes the best laid plans do not come to fruition.

In Spring Training Carlos Quentin suffered a shoulder injury to his non-throwing arm while batting. This injury sidetracked what had to that point been an amazing spring for the young outfielder. All of the hype placed upon Quentin’s shoulders seemed to be warranted up until the injury occurred. It was decided that Quentin would try a strengthening program to build the muscles around the torn labrum and work through it. Carlos tried to compensate for the injury and never seemed to look comfortable at the plate. He struggled with injuries and was sent to Tucson to try and work through his problems. Not only had Quentin lost confidence in himself but the Diamondbacks began to waiver in their commitment as well. Eric Byrnes was signed to a three year contract extension reducing the available outfield positions by one. Justin Upton was recalled from Double-A Mobile and found success making the 2008 outfield appear to be set with Byrnes, Young and Upton manning the three spots.

When the Arizona Diamondbacks made the post season Quentin was left off the roster and opted to have surgery to repair his ailing shoulder. Soon after the season ended the rumors began that Arizona would be looking for another starting pitcher and among their primary bargaining chips would be Carlos Quentin. During the off-season the Diamondbacks web site was upgraded and although the player likenesses remain in the banner at the top of the page one player from last year is missing. Eric Byrnes is now featured among the players where Carlos Quentin once stood. It makes you stop and consider how quickly things can change in the game of baseball. One moment you are being touted as the future of the franchise and almost as quickly your name is being bantered about in trade talks to land a pitcher. With the Diamondbacks front office preparing to go to Nashville next week for the Winter Meetings it will probably come as no surprise to anyone if Carlos Quentin does not come back with the Diamondbacks when they return to Phoenix. That will be too bad, I still think he is an extremely talented outfielder (more so than Eric Byrnes) who just has not been able to reach his potential yet. This is one of those times when you cringe to think what you may be giving up in a trade. Hopefully when we look back at this in 5 years we won’t be listing Carlos Quentin’s name among one of the worst deals the Diamondbacks ever made.

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