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Black Friday Shopping: Carlos Quentin

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Who is up for some Black Friday shopping? Anyone? Well, I was one of those that were dumb enough to go out last night at 10pm and brave the crowds at Wal-Mart in order to get my daughter a few items at a bargain rate.

The sad part about working on a budget is that we have to wait for the big advertised bargains and hustle to get there before someone else beats us to the punch. Luckily, in baseball, that is not the case.

The Rays, as a small market team, have a keen sense when it comes to potential bargains. Whether it be in the form of a forgotten prospect, a veteran on a minor league deal, or a player that another team is looking trade to clear a little payroll, the Rays are usually one of the first teams in line for a shot at that player.

It is a bit rare, for the Rays, to find bargains from another team trying to clear payroll but I think they could find one in that fashion this offseason.

The Sun Times has reported that the Chicago White Sox are "are expected to cut their payroll from $127 million after a 79-83 season" and one player that many believe to be on the block is right fielder Carlos Quentin.

The Rays are in the market for a bat. That is no secret. Carlos Quentin is an available one and he will not necessarily break the bank.

Quentin earned $5.05M in 2011 as a second year arbitration eligible player. MLB Trade Rumors has projected his 2012 salary to be $6.6M after his raise in his final year of arbitration. The White Sox, who may have the worst farm system in the game, are looking to clear some payroll and add a little talent to their system. Seems like the perfect fit.

Quentin hit .254/.340/.499 last year with a .363 wOBA and 125 wRC+. In his four years with the White Sox he his average season has been .257/.352/.505 with a .371 wOBA and 126 wRC+. That would be a nice addition to the Rays lineup.

Quentin does come with some baggage in the form of poor defense in right, although 2011 metrics have him as at least average, and he has only reached 130 games played twice in his career with 131 being his career high in 2010.

The Rays could platoon him with Matt Joyce in right and use him as the designated hitter in games against right handed pitching. This would keep his poor glove off the field and help reduce injury risk while adding a potent bat to the lineup.

One year of Quentin and salary relief for the White Sox should not cost the Rays a ton. The White Sox have Dayan Viciedo ready to get at-bats somewhere in that lineup and it won't be at first, third, or designated hitter and I don't think they want Quentin and Viciedo roaming that outfield at the same time. How about a deal surrounding Jeff Niemann to get a deal done?

Niemann is projected to make $3.1M through arbitration and the White Sox will most likely be losing Mark Buehrle and have also considered trading John Danks and Gavin Floyd to clear some salary. Starting pitching with three years of control and instant salary relief should be something the White Sox would be very interested in.

If the Rays and White Sox could make a trade surrounding these two players it would give the White Sox some salary relief while adding pitching which would also allow them to trade Danks and/or Floyd to save even more money.

The Rays would add a solid bat for a net payroll gain of $3.5M on only a one year deal. If the Rays are looking for a bargain bat I believe they can get one in Carlos Quentin.