“Talking to (CEO) Jeff Moorad, if we had ways to stretch our payroll, get the right guys to be competitive in 2012, maybe be a surprise team in 2012, and with that foundation that gives us a chance at real sustained success for a number of years, that’s the ideal,” Byrnes said.
While GM of the Diamondbacks, Byrnes traded Quentin to the White Sox for minor league first baseman Chris Carter in December 2007. The Diamondbacks had taken Quentin in the first round of the 2003 amateur draft after he helped Stanford reach the College World Series three straight times.
Byrnes said the Diamondbacks had a surplus of outfielders in 2007 and moving Quentin helped build a trade package for Dan Haren, who was obtained from Oakland 11 days after Quentin was traded to Chicago. Carter was one of six players Arizona sent to Oakland in the Haren deal.
“My real regret is really how much over time we missed his intensity,” said Byrnes, who oversaw an NL West title in 2007 with Arizona, but was fired in July 2010. “A group that had success and now failure and now success, could have used his personality around a little bit.”
The 29-year-old Quentin hit .254 with 24 home runs, a career-high 31 doubles and 77 RBIs in 118 games in 2011, when he made his second All-Star team.
In 2008, he made his first All-Star team, won the Silver Slugger award and finished in the top five of AL Most Valuable Player voting.
Quentin has heard the talk about how spacious Petco Park eats up fly balls, but isn’t worried.
“I was here when the park was first built and I’m familiar with it. I played in it. I’m fortunate to have the size physically and be able to be successful personally. I’ve always had the approach of hitting first and staying within myself. I’ve found that to be most ideal to produce power. I’m not planning on changing that at all. I’ll become familiar with the ballpark.”
“He’s got huge power, so he has hit a good number of homers to right, right-center,” the GM said. “It’s a tall order for any player in Petco, but from center to the left-field foul pole, they’re gone in any park. … Since we play half our games on the road, he’ll be a real threat. When we were down two or three runs, we didn’t have enough of a threat in the lineup. We feel Carlos will bring that.”
The Padres hit the fewest homers in the majors (91); had the lowest batting average in the NL (.237); the second-highest strikeout total in the majors (1,320); and scored only 593 runs, second-lowest in the NL last season.
Quentin attended grade school in suburban Chula Vista and was a three-sport standout at University of San Diego High. He was chosen San Diego’s Male Athlete of the Year in 2000.
He was a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award during his last college season, 2003.