For the fifth consecutive winter, the Twins have signed a former All-Star as a free agent. But their history shows that’s no guarantee of success.
Carlos Quentin, a power-hitting outfielder who represented the White Sox in the 2008 and 2011 All-Star Games, agreed on Tuesday to a minor-league contract worth $750,000 if he makes the Twins’ roster, a source with knowledge of the transaction said.
Quentin, only 33, has hit 154 career home runs, far more than any other current Minnesota player.
There’s a reason the San Diego native comes at such a discount, however. Knee injuries drove Quentin out of the game a year ago, when he announced his retirement in May after playing only five games for Seattle’s Class AAA affiliate in Tacoma, Wash. Quentin hasn’t played in the majors since July 26, 2014, when the Padres released him with a .177/.284/.315 line and only four home runs.
Quentin has undergone at least three surgeries on his right knee and has broken his right wrist in a nine-year, injury-plagued major-league career which has never included more than 131 games in a season. When healthy, he’s a dangerous hitter, having belted at least 21 home runs in four different seasons, including a 36-homer, 100-RBI performance for the White Sox in 2008.
But the former first-round pick out of Stanford hasn’t been an effective hitter in two seasons. Still, after watching him work out last month, the Twins were interested in giving the veteran a shot at a bench role as a pinch hitter or occasional designated hitter.
If he doesn’t make the team, the source said, he can retire again or exercise an opt-out clause on June 1.
Quentin joins a recent line of former All-Stars signed as free agents by the Twins, most of them well past their prime.
Last year, they added Torii Hunter (an All-Star in 2002, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2013) and Ervin Santana (2008). In 2014, they signed Phil Hughes (2010), in 2013 they added Kevin Correia (2011) and in 2012 it was Jason Marquis (2009).