The San Diego Padres acquired All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel and center fielder Melvin Upton, Jr. (formerly B.J. Upton) in an Opening Day trade with the Atlanta Braves for pitcher Matt Wisler, outfielders Carlos Quentin, Cameron Maybin and Jordan Paroubeck as well as the 41st overall pick in the MLB draft in June.
The San Diego Padres have acquired All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel and outfielder Melvin Upton, Jr.
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According to The San Diego Union-Tribune's Dennis Lin, the Padres pulled off the blockbuster deal with the Atlanta Braves on MLB's Opening Day, April 5. In return, the Braves acquired pitcher Matt Wisler, outfielders Carlos Quentin, Cameron Maybin and Jordan Paroubeck.
Atlanta also received the 41st overall pick in June's MLB draft, per Lin.
The Padres get a strong closer in Kimbrel, a four-time National League All-Star who has kept his ERA under 2.00 for three straight seasons, per MLB.com's Corey Brock. The 26-year-old Kimbrel, who had amassed 186 saves as Atlanta's closer the past five seasons, is set to earn $9 million in the 2015 MLB season.
Brock adds Kimbrel is owed $11 million and $13 million for the next two seasons. He also has a $13 million team option or $1 million buyout for the 2018 MLB season.
Padres general manager A.J. Preller told Brock on Sunday the trade was an opportunity for San Diego to get an "A-type performer":
"It was an opportunity that we couldn't pass up.
"Joaquin (Benoit) did well in Spring Training, but we saw an opportunity to acquire someone who is arguably the best at what he does in the game. The impact Kimbrel has had on the game, it wasn't as if we needed a closer, but it's a unique opportunity to get an A-type performer."
Braves president of baseball operations John Hart told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's David O'Brien on April 5 the team did not entertain any trade inquiries involving Kimbrel during the past offseason. However, when the opportunity to unload Upton's massive contract presented itself, the Atlanta eventually parted ways with its star closer.
Hart said trading Kimbrel was as difficult as anything he's ever done, per O'Brien:
"It was a hard thing to do. He was just a consummate professional. This is a guy, you want him to be your son, you want him to marry your daughter. He's just an outstanding young man.
"He was very respectful of the opportunith to play for the Braves; he loves the Braves. He understands the dynamic. He was just absolutely professional and classy."
As for Melvin Upton, Jr. (formerly B.J. Upton), Brock says he is due $14.45 million in 2015, $15.45 million in 2016 and $16.45 million in 2017. He has largely underachieved the past two seasons in Atlanta, batting just .184 and .208 during that span.
Hart told O'Brien things just didn't work out for Upton with the Braves:
"Look, we had high hopes for B.J. (Melvin). He worked hard this winter. But I think it's just something that just wasn't working here...I wish B.J. the very best as he goes forward. He's still a young guy. But it's just something that wasn't working in Atlanta."
Upton will kick off the 2015 MLB season on the disabled list "with sesamoiditis in his left foot," says Brock. Preller said the Padres will size up Upton's health as the season wears on. The San Diego manager also confirmed Wil Myers will be the team's center fielder.
On the other hand, Lin stresses Quentin and Maybin's days with the Padres "seemingly had been numbered" ever since Preller traded for outfielders Matt Kemp, Myers and Justin Upton. The Upton brothers, who were teammates with the Braves for two seasons, find themselves reunited in San Diego.
Quentin had to waive his no-trade clause in order to get the deal going, per Brock. He is due $8 million in 2015 while Maybin still had two years left on his deal with a guaranteed pay of $16 million.
Maybin will be reunited with Braves general manager Fredi Gonzalez, whom he played for with the then-Florida Marlins from 2008-10, per O'Brien.
Preller told MLB.com the deal came as no surprise to Quentin. "It wasn't really a shock for him, because we kept him updated all along. He was prepared to move on," he said.
After the deal was consummated, the Padres upped their payroll to $109 million, per MLB.com. This represents a huge $90 million increase from 2014 and $68 million from 2013.
The Padres hope Kimbrel will suit up in time for their season opener against their National League West division rivals Los Angeles Dodgers, per MLB.com.
For the Braves' part, the trade continues a massive overhaul since they fired former GM Frank Wren at the conclusion of the 2014 MLB season. Atlanta has completely revamped its outfield with the trades of the Upton brothers and right fielder Jason Heyward to the St. Louis Cardinals. The Braves justified dealing Justin Upton and Heyward due to the fact they were just a year from becoming unrestricted free agents, per O'Brien.
Atlanta also traded another fan favorite, catcher and would-be left fielder Evan Gattis, to the Houston Astros this past offseason, per The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Brock emphasizes the trade between the Padres and Braves was a players-only deal with no money to be thrown in to offset any of the involved contracts.
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