The White Sox and Padres pulled off a trade Saturday afternoon that sends outfielder Carlos Quentin to San Diego in exchange for two Minor League pitchers.
The White Sox will receive 23-year-old right-hander Simon Castro and 22-year-old lefty Pedro Hernandez from the Padres.
Quentin, 29, is a two-time All-Star who has hit at least 21 homers in each of the last four seasons with Chicago. He was drafted by the D-backs in the first round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft and spent two seasons with Arizona.
His first year with the White Sox, in 2008, was his best so far, as he hit .288 with 100 RBIs and 36 homers. He has played either left or right field his entire career.
“Improving our offense is a priority this offseason,” Padres general manager Josh Byrnes said. “And the acquisition of Carlos gives us a proven middle-of-the-order bat. We specifically targeted Carlos because of his production and his hard-nosed style of play.”
Castro, the Padres’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2009, split time between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A Tucson in 2011, posting a 7-8 record with a 5.63 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 22 starts overall. He began the season with San Antonio, where he was 5-6, before moving up to Tucson, where he was 2-2 with a 10.17 ERA.
He has been in the Padres’ Minor League system for six seasons, and he was named to the Texas League mid- and postseason All-Star teams in 2010, while also pitching for the World Team in the All-Star Futures Game in Anaheim.
Hernandez spent time at Class A Lake Elsinore this season, along with Tucson and San Antonio, posting a 10-3 record with a 3.49 ERA in 28 games (18 starts) overall. He recorded 94 strikeouts in 116 innings of work.
The southpaw is 25-11 over five seasons in the San Diego Minor League system.
– Joey Nowak
The Rangers won the exclusive negotiating rights to prized Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish, Major League Baseball announced late Monday night. Texas will now have 30 days to sign Darvish or his rights will return to the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters of Japan’s Pacific League.
While the details of the bid weren’t disclosed, multiple sources have reported that the bid exceeded the $51.1 million for Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2006 as the highest in the history of posting of Japanese players. Sources told Yahoo! Sports that Texas won the auction with a $51.7 million bid.
The Blue Jays, Mariners, Marlins, Nationals, Red Sox and Yankees were among the other Major League teams that were mentioned as possibilities in the sealed bidding for the negotiating rights for the right-hander’s services.
The 25-year-old Darvish was 18-6 with a 1.44 ERA last season, walking 36 and striking out 276 in 232 innings for the Fighters.
– Quinn Roberts
The Reds acquired right-hander Mat Latos from the Padres Saturday in exchange for right-hander Edinson Volquez and three of the club’s top prospects.
In acquiring Latos, who went 9-14 with a 3.47 ERA and help opponents to a .233 batting average for the Padres last season, the Reds gave up four young players with big upside. Along with Volquez, the Reds also sent infielder Yonder Alonso, right-hander Brad Boxberger and catcher Yasmani Grandal to San Diego.
“Our offseason objective was to try to upgrade our rotation and add a top-of-the-rotation starter, and Mat Latos, of the potential players available, he’s still young at  and he’s a power pitcher we think will pitch well in our park,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said on a conference call with reporters. “He’s definitely a top-of-the rotation guy who will slot in well behind [Johnny] Cueto and, in time, will develop into a No. 1 starter.”
– Quinn Roberts
Two sources confirmed an ESPN.com report Saturday that Jimmy Rollins agreed to a three-year, $33 million contract with the Phillies, along with a vesting option for a fourth season that will give him the opportunity to finish his career in Philadelphia.
“I see you all know by now,” Rollins said on his Twitter account @JimmyRollins11. “Gotta deal with me for 3 (4) more years!”
Rollins entered the offseason saying he wanted a five-year contract or a four-year deal with a player option for a fifth season. But the market never materialized as the Milwaukee Brewers signed Alex Gonzalez and the St. Louis Cardinals signed Rafael Furcal.
– Quinn Roberts