Then it seemed like the Sox couldn't afford to compete without him.
Now it looks like the Sox just couldn't afford him. They're back to where they started, making the long-rumored move by trading Quentin to the San Diego Padres for a pair of minor-league pitchers -- righty Simon Castro and lefty Pedro Hernandez.
It's going to be interesting to see how Kenny Williams spins this trade, because neither Castro nor Hernandez cracked John Sickels' top 25 list, merely warranting mentions in the "Others" field. Kevin Goldstein did put Castro 20th on his Top 11 list, but noted that he "has gone backwards from big prospect days, as fastball is only dependable pitch." The Padres' system is stacked, but considering the White Sox don't really have five prospects, the lack of "top" billing of any kind is going to irk people.
In terms of numbers, both pitchers appear to be projects. Castro, a 23-year-old who stands 6'5", hit a wall at Triple-A Tucson last season. Hernandez, 22 years old and 5'10", spent time at three levels, but when he reached Tucson, he proceeded to record only seven strikeouts over 18 innings.
Links below the jump.
Castro is the key in this deal. As Goldstein noted, his stock has fallen quite a bit. Sickels used to like him calling him a Grade B prospect (via Gus) and saying he had mid-rotation starter potential (via Rhubarb).
Adam Foster of Project Prospect (via Mike) has footage of Castro pitching from 2010, showing his low-three-quarters delivery and highlighting the movement on his fastball, although he said he tips his change. His delivery kind of reminds me of Jose Contreras' drop-down approach.
The only thing I can find on Hernandez is from Baseball Prospect Nation, but I can't vouch for its track record:
The second pitcher in the deal is left-hander Pedro Hernandez. The Padres had added Hernandez to the 40-man roster in November and while he needs more minor league seasoning he could see big league action in 2012.
Hernandez has a fringe-average fastball that sits at 88-90 mph and will touch 91. He commands his fastball well and loves to work both sides of the plate low in the zone. He elevates his fastball only occasionally. His change-up is his best pitch showing legitimate plus potential and increased consistency in 2011. He gets good sink on the change and can keep right-handers back with the pitch.
He lacks a reliable breaking ball but will throw a 1-7 curveball with loopy, soft break. Hernandez has to control his emotions on the mound as he can get excited and lose focus when things don’t go his way. If everything comes together he could be a back of the rotation innings eater or long man in the bullpen. He lacks a viable backup option if that doesn’t come together as without a reliable breaking ball he doesn’t project as a good lefty-specialist.
"I knew from how we had performed with the White Sox below expectation from the fan base and front office that pieces could me moved,'' Quentin said. "Wasn't sure when it would happen. I tried to keep my eyes off news publications to keep my mind off things I don't have control over.
"This is going to be a positive. I'm excited.''
"I've always given credit to the Chicago White Sox for making me an everyday player. As far as leaving, I have a lot of emotions in my heart for teammates. We did under-achieve and most of the guys in the clubhouse will admit that.''
Castro still has a fine arm, featuring a 90-95 MPH fastball. His slider has plus moments, but he's still working to refine his changeup. His mechanics are complicated and his command fails if they get out of whack, but the arm strength for success is still here, and until '11 he did a good job throwing strikes most of the time. He still has a chance to be a starting pitcher, although many scouts prefer him in relief. I have him rated as a Grade C+ in my upcoming 2012 Baseball Prospect Book. [...]
Hernandez has an 88-92 MPH fastball along with a good changeup and mediocre curve. There's nothing spectacular about him, but he throws strikes and could develop into a fifth starter or a relief option. I currently rate him as a Grade C prospect.