When slugger Carlos Quentin signed a $27 million, three-year contract with his hometown Padres a couple years ago, it seemed like a great idea for both sides. The Padres got a rare middle-of-the-order bat for a seemingly reasonable wage, and Quentin got to stay home and play for the team of his youth.

However, injuries have severely limited his playing time and of late at least even curtailed his effectiveness, so the thought has at least occurred to almost all concerned that perhaps Quentin might be better off playing in the American League, where he could DH and rest his troublesome knees on occasion.

Assuming he starts swinging the bat like usual -- his current .637 OPS is exactly 200 points below his stellar .837 career mark -- Quentin looks like he could become a prime trade candidate next month.

Of interest then is the complete no-trade clause in Quentin's contract, a major part of the equation when he signed for what was literally a "hometown" discount. The pertinent question thus becomes: Would he be willing to approve a trade out of his hometown for the chance to enhance his career and perhaps play in a playoff race?

Padres people believe a healthy Quentin gives the offensively challenged team their best chance to win, and that's probably true, but they are also realistic to know that eventually it may be better for all involved if he went to the American League, where being a DH could give his chronic knee pain a chance to subside.