There has been quite a lot happening in regards to Chicago baseball in the last few months. The Cubs fired longtime GM Jim Hendry in August following another Carlos Zambrano blowup, and are reportedly still ironing out the details of signing the Red Sox' GM Theo Epstein and making him their team president.
For the White Sox, longtime skipper Ozzie Guillen was essentially traded to the Marlins after expressing his displeasure with the team. Early this month, the White Sox made the surprising move of hiring a former player with no managerial experience in the form of Robin Ventura to replace Guillen.
There is no question that this has been a memorable year on both the North and South Sides of Chicago as far as baseball is concerned, and there is no reason for the craziness to not continue. White Sox GM Kenny Williams told MLB Network's Peter Gammons earlier this month that "We're going to let the kids play" next year, and 29-year-old OF Carlos Quentin does not seem to fit that bill anymore. Williams recently cited the team's young core as Beckham, Flowers, Viciedo, de Aza and Morel.
ESPNChicago reporter Doug Padilla has speculated that Quentin may be on the move and will interest at least one contender that looked to acquire him at the trading deadline.
I believe that he could provide the necessary "pop" for a number of teams looking to bulk up their lineups once Pujols and Fielder have found new homes and may be a "hidden gem" at this year's winter meetings.
It is no surprise—the Giants have one of the league's worst offenses, and they will look to address that this offseason.
Carlos Beltran will likely come off the books and head elsewhere, and despite their needs, they aren't likely to acquire either Pujols, Fielder or Reyes. Quentin would likely come cheap considering he will be a free agent after next season and the Giants could work out an extension as part of the trade talks.
The Philadelphia Phillies had aspirations of another World Series title—and rightfully so. The team's staff was stacked, and their offense consisted of names like Howard, Utley, Victorino and Pence by regular season's end.
Sadly, Philadelphia's postseason run ended much like Howard's Achilles—with a "pop" (sorry, I couldn't resist)—and the team's offense was its undoing.
The team will almost certainly be parting ways with Raul Ibanez and Quentin could be the answer to that vacancy. Ibanez's OPS is a full .130 points lower than Quentin's and Carlos is a full decade younger.
Philly failed to acquire him at the deadline, and will likely be the front-runners if he becomes available this offseason.
Boston's biggest issue down the stretch may have been the pitching, but don't think they won't look to improve their offense. JD Drew is almost certainly gone, and David Ortiz's status is also up in the air and the Red Sox will certainly look to make an offensive power move along with a few pitching moves.
Quentin is a huge upgrade in RF and still has several years left in his prime. The new regime in Boston will likely favor moves that won't tie up the payroll like those that brought Lackey and Crawford to town and a few prospects won't be missed by the Beantown faithful if it means replacing Drew with an able-bodied All-Star-caliber replacement.
Like the Giants, the Nationals need offensive help. The team pitched well enough to challenge the Braves for second place, but their lackluster offense cost them any chance of make 2011 a special season. The addition of Quentin could add a much-needed jolt to an offense that was often just a hit away from winning a number of games.
If Quentin is available, expect the Nationals to at least be "in" on Carlos.
The Pirates would be the "wild card" in all of this. They went out and got Ryan Ludwick and Derrek Lee at the deadline, so they aren't opposed to trading for parts. They will likely let Ryan Ludwick walk and could be in the market for a right fielder with close to, if not more than, his production potential.
Pittsburgh looked like they might just shock the world until a blown call against the Braves in late July sent them into a tailspin. Maybe Pirates management takes a shot at winning the big one next year and takes a shot at acquiring Carlos Quentin.
I believe that the Phillies have the best chance to acquire Quentin. They would love to make up for Howard's lost production while he continues to nurse his Achilles back.
They wanted him before landing Pence, and would likely be first in line if he became available this offseason. An outfield of Pence, Victorino and Quentin would definitely be one to fear to go along with another year of the killer pitching staff.