This truly is A.J. Preller’s team now.
In a stunning trade just hours before the first pitch of the new season, Padres general manager Preller pulled off another stunner: he sent outfielders Cameron Maybin and Carlos Quentin, and minor leaguers Matt Wisler and Jordan Pareubeck to the Atlanta Braves for closer Craig Kimbrel and outfielder Melvin Upton, Jr.
Read more here. This trade reunites Upton with his younger brother, Justin, for the second time.
Since my head is still spinning from this deal, let me offer a few quick, initial observations:
1. This trade shows the seriousness of Preller in desiring to win it all this year, making an air-tight bullpen that much stronger.
2. This is basically two trades in one: in the first part, the Braves and Padres basically swapped some bad outfielders contracts (Quentin and Maybin for Upton). In the second part, they traded two minor leaguers with legitimate talent for Kimbrel, one of the best stoppers in baseball. This swap likely bumps Joaquin Benoit down to the eighth inning set-up role.
3. In acquiring Upton, this could be a sneaky-clever move on Preller’s part to keep Justin Upton in San Diego beyond this season. The Upton brothers apparently enjoyed playing together, and this reunites them on the opposite coast. Also, you never know if a change of scenery (and name–Melvin used to goby “B.J” until this season) could help the newly acquired outfielder rejuvenate his career. The same goes for Quentin and Maybin for a rebuilding Atlanta club.
One thing you can say for Preller: he isn’t boring!