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News » White Sox struck gold with Quentin 2008-08-29

White Sox struck gold with Quentin 2008-08-29

White Sox struck gold with Quentin 2008-08-29
Carlos Quentin is taking baseball by surprise.

He has gone from excess baggage in Arizona to a leading MVP candidate with the Chicago White Sox.

He's the guy the Diamondbacks unloaded last offseason because he didn't fit in their outfield after they gave in to fan pressure and signed Eric Byrnes to a three-year, $30 million deal.

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And it's not like the Diamondbacks were alone in their lack of interest in Quentin, the former first-round draft choice out of Stanford who tried to play through a torn rotator cuff last season and finally gave in to surgery in October.

Arizona let the 29 other teams know that Quentin would be dealt for the best offer.And what did they get? Chris Carter, a power-hitting prospect the White Sox signed as a 15th-round draft choice in 2005 who Arizona quickly packaged with five other prospects and shipped to Oakland for right-handed pitcher Dan Haren.

So while Carter, in his fourth pro season, is hitting .259 with 37 home runs, 100 RBI and 149 strikeouts at Stockton in the Class A California League, Quentin is helping drive the White Sox in their battle with Minnesota for an AL Central title.

He has emerged, along with Texas outfielder Josh Hamilton, as the leading candidate for the AL MVP, and given the fact that the Rangers are going to be challenged to finish .500, much less contend, Quentin has moved to the top of the speculation chart. And the irony is Hamilton, like Quentin, was dealt in the offseason, but at least Cincinnati received a quality return — right-handed pitcher Edinson Volquez, who is not only 15-5 for the last-place Reds but ranks third in the NL with a 2.80 ERA.

So what's the big deal?

There have only been nine MVPs in history who have won the award after changing teams the previous offseason.

Five of them are products of the system — players who earned free-agent rights and took a better offer elsewhere:

  • Vladimir Guerrero left Montreal after the 2003 season for Anaheim and was the AL MVP in 2004.

  • Barry Bonds left Pittsburgh after the 1992 season for San Francisco and was the NL MVP in 1993.

  • Terry Pendleton left St. Louis after the 1990 season for Atlanta and was the NL MVP in 1991.

  • Kirk Gibson left Detroit after the 1987 season for the Dodgers and was the NL MVP in 1988.

  • Andre Dawson left Montreal after the 1986 season for the Cubs and was the NL MVP in 1987.

    There has not been a player who was traded in an offseason and earned an MVP the following year since Dick Allen with the White Sox in 1972.

    And none of the four MVPs who were traded the offseason before they were honored — Allen, Frank Robinson with the Orioles in 1966, Bob Elliott with the Boston Braves in 1947 and Johnny Evers with the Boston Braves in 1914 — were basically dumped by their former team.

    The White Sox shipped lefty Tommy John to the Dodgers to acquire Allen after the 1971 season.

    To acquire Robinson, who the Reds claimed was an "old 30," the Orioles gave up Milt Pappas, a 26-year-old pitcher who was already 110-74 in eight full big-league seasons; outfield prospect Dick Simpson, 22, who never met expectations; veteran reliever Jack Baldschun, who three days earlier the Orioles acquired from Philadelphia for promising pitcher Darold Knowles; and veteran outfielder Jackie Brandt.

    Pittsburgh acquired quantity, not quality, when it sent Elliott to the Braves after the 1946 season for outfielder Billy Herman, a 10-time All-Star who retired on Aug. 1, 1947 after appearing in only 15 games for the Pirates; right-handed pitcher Elmer Singleton, 28, who was a journeyman spending most his time at Triple-A although he did make his final big-league appearance with the Cubs in 1959; outfield prospect Stan Wentzel, whose big-league career never got past four games he played with the Braves in 1945, and infielder Whitey Wietelman, 37, who retired after appearing in 48 games with the Pirates in 1947.

    The Braves, meanwhile, acquired Evers in a rather strange turn of events that is now recorded as a trade in which Bill Sweeney went to the Cubs, but at the time was turned into a chain of events that allowed baseball to force Charles Webb Murphy out as owner and president of the Cubs.

    Evers had been the player/manager of the Cubs, but he was fired from the managerial position in February of 1914, prompting the need to trade him. The Braves welcomed Evers and Sweeney, after initially considering going into private business, was lured to the Cubs by a three-year contract offer that included a 50 percent raise and sizable signing bonus.

    While Evers went on to earn the MVP award, Sweeney, a career .272 hitter, struggled to hit .218 for the Cubs in what was his final big-league season.

  • Author:Fox Sports
    Author's Website:
    Added: August 29, 2008

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