Some things to talk about while the Padres continue to sign or trade for everyone...
1) Kenta Maeda not being posted
Welp. Forget the dream of Houston adding Kenta Maeda this winter. Looks like the Japanese pitcher will not be posted by the Hiroshima Carp after all.
Hiroshima Carp tell Kenta Maeda they will not post him this season. Maeda will not be an unrestricted free agent until after 2017 season.— Jim Allen (@JballAllen) December 18, 2014
Maeda, 26, was one of the youngest free agent pitchers who could have potentially hit the market this winter. As such, he made a ton of sense for the Astros plan to contention. Yet, it seems every team will wait to get a shot at the talented mid-rotation starter.
Who could the Astros turn to now if they're looking for rotation depth?
2) Fan Fest scheduled for Jan. 24
One bright spot in the long, cold, baseball-less winter remains Astros FanFest, where fans can gather at Minute Maid Park to talk baseball, tour the facilities and meet current players.
From Houston's release on the Jan. 24th event.
Astros FanFest will cap off the week-long Caravan at Minute Maid Park on Saturday, January 24 from 11:00 am - 3:00 p.m. with activities for all ages including current and former player autograph sessions, swings in the Astros batting cages, running the bases, bullpen throwing sessions, an interactive kids zone, fan forums with front office staff and current players, a vendor expo and mechanical bull riding. Additionally, Houston Methodist will be conducting a blood drive during the event. The majority of FanFest proceeds will benefit the Astros Foundation's programs for at-risk children and teens.
Fans need to sign up for free ticket vouchers for the event. There's also options to pay for opportunities to throw pitches in the bullpen and take batting practice on the field. If you've never been before, make sure to go. It's worth your time and should get you sufficiently excited about the 2015 season.
3) Other Padres outfield targets?
Brian talked about how Seth Smith could make sense for the Astros, now that the Padres have an entire 25-man roster made up completely of outfielders. They've also made 50,000 trades in the last 24 hours, bringing in WIl Myers, WIll Middlebrooks and Will Ferrell (possibly).
That crowded Padres outfield could be culled, especially with the Astros needing some help in left field. Could there be a match?
Padres OF Carlos Quentin appears to be expendable, and he went to Stanford. He plays left field. Just saying.— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) December 19, 2014
Quentin, 32, was not very good last season. Go to FanGraphs. Search all the way down the Padres position player list. Click on the second page. Keep going to the bottom and you'll find Quentin. He was worth -1.0 fWAR last season, the worst total of any Padres player.
That's because he didn't hit and he played the field pretty wretchedly. In 50 games and 155 plate appearances, Quentin hit .177/.284/.315 with a wRC+ of 76 and -3 Defensive Runs Saved in left field. In his last four seasons in left field, he's totaled -30 DRS there.
Did I also mention his season was cut short with a knee injury last season? Or that he's owed $8 million in 2015 with a $10 million mutual option. There was a $3 million buyout attached, but Quentin needed to play 320 games from 2013 to 2015 for it to vest. At 132 games the past two seasons, Quentin doesn't have enough games in 2015 to accomplish it.
All that being said, if the Astros get the hitter Quentin was in 2012 and 2013, when he averaged 145 wRC+, they'd dramatically improve the team.
They'd also do it for pretty cheap, considering what Melky Cabrera signed for this winter. Put Quentin in left field, play him at first some and put him at DH on Carter's off days. COudl he get back to 450-500 PAs?
The other upshot of Quentin is that his strikeout rate isn't terrible. Sure, it crept up over 20 percent last season, but his career rate is 15.9 percent and last season was the first time since 2007 that it was over 20 percent.
Given all the connections, if the Padres eat some of his salary AND the Astros don't have to give up much, I could see them taking a shot at Quentin. I'd rather they got Seth Smith, but both could help the Astros win more games next season.