In a shocking Opening Day move, the Braves and Padres have come to terms on a deal that will send closer Craig Kimbrel and outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. to San Diego in exchange for right-hander Matt Wisler, outfielders Cameron Maybin, Carlos Quentin and Jordan Paroubeck, and the 41st pick in this year's draft. The deal was first reported by Kiley McDaniel of FanGraphs.
The additions of Kimbrel and Upton complete a massive offseason overhaul for the Padres that saw them add Justin Upton, Wil Myers, Matt Kemp, Will Middlebrooks, Derek Norris and James Shields before the beginning of spring training. The team was already considered a serious contender in the NL West, but the addition of Kimbrel to an already-solid bullpen mix increases San Diego's chances of being a legitimate threat to the Dodgers and Giants.
Kimbrel, who turns 27 next month, has been the most dominant reliever in baseball over the last five years, posting a 1.43 ERA while saving 186 games and being named to four All-Star teams in that span. He will replace Joaquin Benoit as the Padres' closer, anchoring a bullpen that is slated to include Kevin Quackenbush, Dale Thayer, Nick Vincent and Frank Garces. Kimbrel is under team control through the 2017 season.
Upton, who was formerly known as B.J. Upton, will be reunited with his brother in San Diego and will likely serve as a fourth outfielder behind Justin, Myers and Kemp. He has struggled mightily since signing a five-year deal with the Braves before the 2013 season. He will be owed $46.35 million over the next three seasons before hitting free agency again after the 2017 season.
The Braves spent the winter gutting their roster, with Evan Gattis, Jason Heyward and multiple relievers joining the Uptons and Kimbrel on their way out of town. By moving Kimbrel and Upton in today's deal, they will save roughly $20 million while adding two prospects as they continue their rebuilding effort under new general manager John Hart.
Maybin, who turned 28 on Saturday, will become the Braves' starting centerfielder after spending the last four seasons in San Diego. The career .246/.309/.365 hitter is under contract for the next two seasons, and will earn $15 million before a $9 million club option comes into play for 2017.
Quentin, 32, is owed $8 million this season and will likely become the team's starting left-fielder in front of Jonny Gomes and Eric Young Jr. The veteran has hit .252/.347/.484 and has been named to two All-Star teams in his career, though he hit only .177 in 50 games with San Diego last season and is thought to be declining at a rapid pace.
Wisler, 22, is likely the key to the deal for the Braves due to his status as Baseball America's 34th best prospect in baseball. The righty, who was considered one of the Padres' seemingly-untouchable prospects along with Austin Hedges and Hunter Renfroe, was a seventh-round pick in the 2011 draft and was ranked as the team's top prospect before spring training. Wisler is known for his deceptive sinker and changeup and profiles as a top-to-mid-rotation starter for the Braves in the near future.
Paroubeck, 20, was the Padres' second-round pick in the 2013 draft and was recently ranked by MLB.com as the Padres' fifteenth-best prospect. The outfielder hit .286/.346/.457 with four homers with the Padres' rookie-level affiliate last season, and is known for his athleticism and raw talent.
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