Tuesday, November 2, 2010
By Brett Ballantini
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.