Braves And Padres Pull Off One More Blockbuster
Why not one more trade before the season starts? The Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres who have been wheeling and dealing all winter appear to be in on their second trade of the offseason.
— MLB (@MLB) April 5, 2015
The Braves are in full rebuild mode as they shipped off their best player to the Padres for some interesting pieces in return. As the trade finalizes, the Braves are left asking themselves who will be their closer?
The Braves pick up 32-year old Carlos Quentin and 28-year old Cameron Maybin in the deal. There was already little room for both in San Diego’s new look, over crowded outfield. Neither of the two outfielders have played anything close to a full season due to injuries in three years. Maybin fills a void in centerfield should Eric Young, Jr. fail to produce. Quentin could platoon in left field where there were already question marks with Jonny Gomes and Kelly Johnson set to play there, or they could simply designate the aging veteran.
The Braves also pick up yet another young pitcher in the deal. Matt Wisler is a 22-year old righty drafted in the seventh round by the Padres in the 2011 draft. He has worked his way up to the No. 4 prospect in the Padres system. He comes with a four pitch arsenal that are all above average. His sinker comes across in the mid-90s and he has a deceptive changeup that confuses hitters. He adds a slider and a curve into the mix.
The Braves also picked up 20-year old outfielder Jordan Paroubeck. Paroubeck was the No. 15 prospect in the Padres system and seems to be a good fit for the Braves. The outfield is aging, and if Paroubeck continues to progress, he could find himself in the mix for a starting job by next year. He is a well rounded hitter who hits equally well from both sides of the plate.
While the Braves are in full rebuild, the Padres are in a win-now mentality. Joaquin Benoit would have been a serviceable closer, but now in the set-up role, the 37-year old righty can return to the slot where he performs best. The Padres expect to be in a lot of close games with the Dodgers and Giants, so adding Kimbrel is a no brainer. They have arguably the best closer in the National League and it boosts the Padres’ win potential greatly.
Justin Upton reunites with his brother as Melvin joins the Padres. It doesn’t hurt the Padres that he will start the year on the DL as they have a stacked outfield. Should Melvin return healthy, he could be a huge addition as a fourth outfielder after a dismal showing in Atlanta.
The Braves will turn to Jason Grilli and Jim Johnson as closers. Both were once solid closers, but both fell out of favor. Jim Johnson spent last year on two teams and looked completely lost last year, while Grilli rebounded a bit once he joined the Angels and became a setup man. When the Braves brought both in on deals this offseason, it seemed as if the writing was on the wall for Kimbrel.
Both teams come out winners in this trade. The Braves, clearly in rebuild mode, now have a stacked minor league system and the 41st pick in the upcoming draft. They can’t realistically expect to compete this year, but shortly down the road they will have a bevy of young prospects to bring up the ranks and compete again. The Padres, looking to return to relevancy in a division that contains the reigning World Champs, just made themselves stronger with the man who has led the NL in saves for the past four season.
And now, Opening Day can commence!