In a move that should bolster the power of the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings, and bring a little bit of name recognition, the Twins announced today that they've signed Carlos Quentin to a minor league deal. The bare necessities are that the deal includes an invitation to spring training, a $750,000 salary if he makes the roster, and a June 1st opt-out in case he's still toiling away in the minors.
Quentin was more or less retired as of last May, when the Braves released him after Atlanta and the Padres consummated the Craig Kimbrel trade. A payroll casualty in the deal, Quentin didn't make a Major League appearance in 2015. He did go to Seattle's Triple-A affiliate, appearing in all of five games before calling it a day with a .176/.263/.235 triple slash.
While he was never able to stay healthy for two consecutive seasons, from 2008 through 2013 Quentin hit .260/.356/.503 and averaged 23 home runs a season (35 per 162 games played). Even after he left Chicago, which was the last time most of us heard his name called, he posted OPS marks of .877 and .855 with San Diego before falling off a cliff in 2014.
If the Twins are right and Quentin is healthy and has rediscovered how to hit, he still profiles as a designated hitter. He's been atrocious in the field for his entire career. How bad? He posted a 118 wRC+ in 2010 with the White Sox (he created runs at a rate 18% better than the league average hitter) and still posted a -0.3 fWAR. It takes a special kind of player to be so bad on defense that it basically wipes out an .821 OPS.
It's low-risk, medium reward, and gives Minnesota another option in case Byung Ho Park's learning curve is a bit steeper than everyone hopes it will be. Making the roster out of spring training seems like an improbable scenario, considering Byron Buxton, Eddie Rosario, Miguel Sano, and Oswaldo Arcia seem to have that market covered.
With next to no commitment and no young players being forced to lose Major League plate appearances, this makes this move a nice depth signing for the Twins.