Braves trade Craig Kimbrel, BJ Upton to Padres
The Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres completed a blockbuster trade just hours before the official start of the 2015 MLB season.
The Braves are sending All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel and outfielder B.J. Upton — who now prefers to go by a different name — to San Diego in exchange for Carlos Quentin, Cameron Maybin and prospects Matt Wisler and Jordan Paroubeck. The Braves will also get the 41st pick in the upcoming MLB draft.
Kimbrel, 26, is widely considered to be the best closer in baseball. He has saved 42 or more games in each of the last four seasons and been named a National League All-Star each season. He is one of just three relief pitchers in Major League History to post four straight 40-save seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Info. No pitcher has ever done it in five consecutive seasons.
Upton, who is owed roughly $15 million per season over the next three years, has been shockingly horrendous since the Braves signed him in 2013. His batting average over the past two seasons is .196. Atlanta likely forced the Padres to take on Upton’s salary if they wanted Kimbrel.
If you’re wondering why the Braves would make such a deal, you’re not alone. However, Wisler is considered one of the better prospects in baseball. He’s a right-handed pitcher who posted a 10-5 record in Double-A and Triple-A last season. Wisler is considered the big prize for Atlanta in this deal, while the Padres are clearly better off for it in the short term.