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Padres Acquire Kimbrel, Upton; Trade Maybin, Quentin as Preller Completes Team’s Remodeling 

(*Author’s edit as of 10:15pm – “Completes” may be assuming too much. As of this writing, there are a little less than 15 hours until first pitch against the Dodgers… with Preller’s work-ethic, he may not even be done wheeling and dealing.)

‘Twas the night before Opening Day…

The San Diego Padres announced Sunday afternoon that the team has acquired RHP Craig Kimbrel and outfielder Melvin (“B.J.”) Upton Jr. from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for outfielders Cameron Maybin and Carlos Quentin, along with RHP Matt Wisler and minor leaguer Jordan Paroubeck along with a 2015 Competitive Balance Pick (the Padres pick being #41). The news came less than 24-hours before the Padres first game of the 2015 season against the Los Angeles Dodgers – which is slated to start at 1:10pm at Chavez Ravine.

Kimbrel, a 26-year old veteran who broke into the Majors with Atlanta in 2010, has seen tremendous success over the years, leading the National League in saves for four consecutive seasons since winning the NL Rookie of the Year award in 2011. Kimbrel is also a 4-time All-Star and was the first recipient of the Trevor Hoffman NL Reliever of the Year award in 2014.

In 2014, Kimbrel collected 47 saves with a 1.61 ERA and 95 K’s with a 0.91 WHIP. Kimbrel also won the MLB Delivery Man of the Year award in 2013, and currently holds the MLB record for saves by a rookie with 46. Over his entire career, Kimbrel holds a 15-10 record with a 1.43 ERA and 186 saves.

Upton Jr., a 30-year old veteran and older brother of recent Padres addition Justin Upton, has been playing in the Majors since he was 19-years old and started with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2004. Since 2004, Upton has seen periods of success and struggle, posting a career .243/.324/.400 line with 508 RBI and 139 Homeruns over 10 seasons between Tampa Bay and Atlanta.

Melvin Upton Jr., who was known as “B.J.” Upton until the start of Spring Training this year, has struggled mightily in recent years, posting a .184/.268/.289 line in 2013 and a .208/.287/.33 line in 2014. Upton is, however, a three-time member of the 20-20 club after having posted a season with more than 20 homeruns and 20 stolen bases in 2007, 2011, and 2012.

Upton Jr. will be starting the season on the disabled list, after suffering “left foot inflammation” and missing all of Spring Training with the Atlanta Braves. He is expected to be playing again sometime around early May with any luck, however.

In exchange for the most dominant closer in the National League since 2011 and a veteran fourth-outfielder with a lot of upside, the Padres part ways with outfielders Cameron Maybin and Carlos Quentin, who both underperformed compared to their projected billing and advertised playing ability.

Quentin appeared in 218 games with the Padres over the last three seasons, posting a .251/.352/.464 line between 2012 and 2014. Quentin, who was sidelined by a constant knee injury the past few seasons with the Padres, performed the same in Spring hitting only .250 with 1 homerun and 6 RBI. CBS Sports is reporting that Atlanta plans to designate Quentin for assignment shortly after his move to the team.

Maybin, another player who appeared solid but only became a disappointment after the fact, appeared in only 14 games with the Padres in 2013 and then 95 games with the club last season. In 4 seasons with San Diego, Maybin posted a .246/.307/.358 line with 105 RBI and 19 homeruns. In his shortened 2013 season, Maybin posted a .157/.232/.235 line with 5 RBI and 1 homerun before being sidelined with injuries.

Wisler, a 22-year old pitching prospect and 7th round draft pick by the Padres in 2011, posted a 9-5 record with a 5.01 ERA in 22 games with the Triple-A El Paso Chihuahuas in 2014. Wisler started all 22 of those games, and has a career 3.40 ERA in 4 seasons in the minors.

Paroubeck, a 20-year old outfield prospect who was drafted by the Padres in the 2nd round of the 2013 draft, began his professional career with the Padres in 2014 after graduating from Serra High School in San Mateo, California. Paroubeck posted a .286/.346/.457 line with 24 RBI in 34 games with the Arizona League Padres.

With the addition of another blockbuster trade by Padres General Manager A.J. Preller, the term “Rockstar GM” doesn’t even begin to describe the magic that the newly appointed GM has done for the Friars this offseason. Nonetheless, as writers across America begin to write how the “Padres look Serious” with these moves, I can’t help but feel like the Padres have already been serious.

If anything, and with the chance of sounding moronic, the “serious” Padres now look even more serious. Seriouser.

The Seriousest.

The Padres have now picked up, and hold your breath as you recount with me here, during this offseason:

Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Will Middlebrooks, Wil Myers, Brandon Morrow, James Shields, Derek Norris, Brandon Maurer (to start with AAA El Paso), Josh Johnson (again, and on the DL now), Cory Mazzoni, Clint Barmes, Wil Nieves, Tim Federowicz (DL), and now Craig Kimbrel and Melvin Upton Jr.

The Padres also signed Jose Valverde, but Valverde opted for free agency after a brief stint with the Padres in Spring Training. On the other side of the coin, the Padres have parted with (only the major leaguers):

Cameron Maybin, Carlos Quentin, Alex Torres, Seth Smith, Rene Rivera, Yasmani Grandal, Joe Wieland, Jesse Hahn, R.J. Alvarez, Jace Peterson, Burch Smith and Tim Stauffer elected for Free Agency at the start of the offseason (**Note that Josh Johnson also filed for free agency, but then re-signed with the team). The Padres also chose to release SS Everth Cabrera.

It’s clear to me that A.J. Preller doesn’t sleep. But with all of these moves and trades, it’s hard to see the 2014 Padres anywhere in the mix of this “new face” team.

With the first pitch of the Padres 2015 season only hours away, let’s hope that all of Preller’s amazing moves were not for show and actually bring something new and exciting to a starved San Diego fan base. Something that hasn’t been seen for several years in San Diego baseball… and that is a winning team.

Here’s to a bright 2015. GO PADRES.



About the author: Ian Edward Russell Smith

Ian is a former writer for the San Diego Padres, having worked as the Padres' "In-Season Blogger" during the 2015 season. Ian wrote as a member of the Friarhood's writing staff between parts of 2013-2015, writing over 100 articles over that span. In addition to being a writer, Ian is also a recent graduate of California Western School of Law in San Diego, having earned a Juris Doctor, as well as his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science/Law & Society from the University of California, Riverside. Be sure to follow Ian on Twitter (@SDRedBull8) to see what other ramblings he's posted about the Padres, San Diego, and baseball in general!