The Mariners have been linked to Carlos Quentin for a long, long time. Quentin to Seattle rumors go as far back as 2009, when the Mariners, like every year, coveted a right-handed power bat to mash in Safeco. Jack Zduriencik has seen Quentin as an ideal fit for a number of years, but never pulled the trigger. Quentin eventually ended up in San Diego, where he was a very good hitter and very bad defender, combining for 3.9 WAR over two seasons (2012-2013) in which he only played 168 games, thanks to various injuries and ailments. During that stretch, Quentin posted a 145 wRC+, the same as Giancarlo Stanton, and just shy of Robinson Cano (146+). Make no mistake, when Quentin was on the field, he was mashing.
Then, 2014 happened. Quentin's bad left knee led to an awful season at both the plate and the field, and was forced out of the Padres outfield rotation when they went out and bought a brand new outfield. He actually ended up in Atlanta for a hot minute, tossed in with the Craig Kimbrel trade. He was DFA'd soon after, and ever since then he's been searching for a major league job. He didn't get one, and now we're here.
The Mariners have nabbed Quentin on a minor league deal, which means they've finally got their man at the price they ultimately wanted. He'll likely head to AAA immediately, and possibly be some sort of Rickie Weeks insurance. Other than that three-run monster bomb to dead center in Oakland, Weeks has looked pretty awful through 30 PA, and the Mariners have been extremely reluctant to use him in the outfield. The Mariners filled their outfield hole by signing a second baseman (not the first time the Mariners have done this), and maybe Quentin coming to town indicates this isn't working out. If Weeks can't hit and can't field, there's not a lot of room for him -- especially when he hasn't even demonstrated the ability to play first base.
So Quentin represents a fail-safe for Rickie Weeks, who will have to start hitting. Weeks' inability to play the outfield has likely impacted how much field time Nelson Cruz has seen, and going forward as Lloyd McClendon moves away from his "gotta keep everyone involved early" mentality, he'll need more flexibility to be worth carrying.
I haven't totally soured on Weeks, at least not yet. But if he can't play the field at all, the Mariners may prefer to let Quentin fill that role. The interesting thing here is that Quentin isn't a classic platoon bat like Weeks is -- he actually carries career splits that are pretty close to even, actually slightly favorable towards RHP -- 122 wRC+ vs 120 wRC+ vs. lefties.
It's intriguing in the same way that Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart were intriguing, except this one was free and he isn't a Brewer. Quentin, when healthy, was a hell of a hitter in the most difficult park in baseball for a two-year stretch, posting wRC+ of 146 and 144 in consecutive years. The defense is bad, but what the Mariners are currently rotating in for their OF rotations is as well. Maybe Nelson Cruz moves to RF on a more regular basis, and Quentin spends time at DH like Weeks is now.
Really, what Quentin might represent more than Weeks insurance is Logan Morrison insurance. The M's might prefer to give Quentin a shot when Morrison eventually gets hurt -- which, given his past, is likely -- over Jesus Montero. Or maybe there's some sort of platoon situation unfolding at first base, as even though Quentin isn't a classic platoon bat, Morrison has shown favoritism towards righties through his career.
I'm all for it. The Mariners are securing all kinds of depth a year after they had practically zero at many key positions, and if there's any juice left, it's free production. Quentin comes with a ton of red flags to give up significant talent or money for, but to hang out in Tacoma? At age 32? There's nothing to dislike here. The only difficult thing will be figuring out where he fits, but first he has to prove he still has some life left in that bat. If he's crushing Tacoma and the M's don't have an obvious place for him, that's a good problem to have.