A.J. Preller pulled off a monster Easter Sunday deal that took the whole Major League Baseball community by storm. Again, the Padres were stealing headlines away from their bigger division rivals. The trade was huge. Kimbrel is widely recognized as one of the best closers in the game and to acquire him the day before the season starts is unheard of. Another blockbuster deal with the Braves was not what anyone expected.
Adding Craig Kimbrel to the team did not result in a world championship like most assumed it would. The Padres deficiencies were far worse than most believed and we all would see that first hand. Kimbrel had a solid but unspectacular season for the Padres, going 4-2 with a 2.58 ERA (that was a new career high) and 39 saves. Upton was hurt when he arrived and did not start to play with the team until June. He had a nice second half for the Friars, with a batting line of .259/.327/.429, with five homers and 17 RBI. He picked up where he left off in 2016 and the Padres were actually able to move him (although they ate 80% of the money he was owed) for a prospect.
The deal was made by the Braves so they could get their hands on Matt Wisler. The prized right-handed pitching prospect started 19 games for the Braves in 2015, going 8-8 with a 4.71 ERA in 109 innings pitched. This past season, he got roughed up a bit. He went 7-13 with a 5.00 ERA in 26 starts. He looks to be a decent mid-rotation type starter eventually, and could be in the league for a long time. Carlos Quentin was dumped on the Braves in this deal, and promptly was released by them. He landed in Seattle, but quit after a couple of weeks in the minor leagues there. He signed a minor league deal with the Twins this past winter, but his knees are just too weak for him to be a successful major leaguer. He left the Twins and played some for Puebla in the Mexican league, where he hit four homers and batted .193 in 57 at bats.
Cameron Maybin went on the have a productive year for the Braves in 2015, hitting .267 with 23 steals and slugging 10 home runs. He was traded to the Tigers (the team that drafted him) and then promptly hurt himself. He missed the first few months of the season but returned and was dealt to the Angels this winter. The interesting player in this deal is minor league outfielder, Jordan Paroubeck. He was dealt to the Dodgers by the Braves in July 2015 in return for an international bonus pool slot. He promptly went on to hit .331 in 35 games with five homers and 28 RBI. The 21-year-old hit .220 with six homers in low A-Ball in 2016
07-31-15 The San Diego Padres acquire Marc Rzepczynski from the Cleveland Indians for Abraham Almonte
In the lone trade deadline move of 2015, the Padres sent switch-hitting outfielder, Abraham Almonte, to the Cleveland Indians for left-handed pitcher, Marc Rzepczynski. The Padres had a need for a left-handed pitcher in the bullpen and he obviously fit that need. Rzepczynski went on to have a horrible couple of months for the Padres. He was 0-1 with a 7.36 ERA in 14.2 innings pitched.
Almonte went on to blossom in Cleveland and was productive for them towards the end of the 2015 year. He finished with a batting line of .264/.321/.455 with five homers and 20 RBI in 51 games and 178 at bats. This, after hitting .204 for the Padres in 54 at bats. Almonte was suspended in February of 2016 for 80 games after testing positive for PEDs. He was to be a vital member of the Indians’ outfield. Now his future in the league is questionable, to say the least. Rzepcznski was dealt to the A’s with Yonder Alonso and tuned into Drew Pomeranz and Jose Torres. This turned out to be a great deal for the Padres.
The San Diego Padres sadly said goodbye to their longest tenured player as the team sent Will Venable to the Texas Rangers in August of 2015. The team received a decent package in return for the outfielder only months before he was scheduled for free agency. Venable stayed with the Rangers all the way through their playoff run and became a free agent. He had little to no interest from teams on the open market and settled on a minor league deal with the Phillies. He hit .205 for the Phillies Triple-A team and was released. The Dodgers signed him, where he hit .309 in Triple-A and earned some more major league service time.
Jon Edwards was the PTBNL in the deal from the Rangers. The tall right-handed pitcher got in some work in 2015 for the Padres’ bullpen, going 0-0 with a 3.38 ERA in 10 inning pitched. He developed discomfort in his elbow this past spring and went on the D.L. The other player received for Venable is minor league catcher Marcus Greene. He had Tommy John surgery in June of 2015 and only now seems back to normal. He had a very productive year in the Australian Winter Leagues. The Padres got two decent prospects in return for two months of Will Venable– not too bad.
In an effort to build their upper minor league levels, the team traded a young pitcher for an infielder/outfielder who is nearly major league ready. Pirela looks to be a decent hitter and his versatility on the field will surely keep him in professional baseball for a while. He needs to refine his approach slightly in order to succeed. He puts the ball in play, but could use some more patience in an effort to get better pitches to hit.
The young pitcher the Padres dealt is really starting to develop. Herrera has made the jump all the way to Triple-A this past season. That is very impressive being that he is only 21. The small in stature pitcher was likely just getting his feet wet there. He was 10-8 on the year in 24 starts with a 3.94 ERA and struck out 131 in 137 innings pitched. Herrera combined with another pitcher on pitching a no-hitter in April of 2016. He is starting to develop right when the Padres need young arms. Not a good trade for the Padres.
Joaquin Benoit had two very productive season with the Padres. He was 10-7 in that time, with a 1.96 ERA and a 13 saves. He also struck out 127 batters in the 119 innings he pitched. Benoit was a great setup man for the club and seeing him dealt was tough for Padres fans. Benoit had a rough time in Seattle. He went on the D.L. in April and never got on track, going 1-1 with a 5.18 ERA in 26 games. He was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for Drew Storen.
De Los Santos and Ward are decent prospects. The right-handed De Los Santos was 8-5 last season in 26 games and 22 starts. He recorded an overall ERA of 3.72 in his 121 innings pitched. The 20-year-old is very young to be in High A-Ball and has a bright future. Ward has been playing mostly second base in San Antonio and hit .221 with six homers and 28 RBI in 433 at bats. He struck out 120 times last season, and really needs to develop plate discipline in order to advance.
Craig Kimbrel’s tenure lasted less than a year as he was sent to the Boston Red Sox for a great package of prospects. The Padres wisely held onto the fireball-throwing closer instead of dealing him in July at the deadline. Manuel Margot has the ability to be very special, and the other three prospects are each intriguing and could bloom into very valuable players as well. Kimbrel’s numbers are starting to become a little more pedestrian, but he is still dominant when he is on.
Margot has it all as far as skill, and early reports are that he has an excellent attitude too. The center fielder has excellent plate discipline and should be very productive at the major league level. Javier Guerra was a key piece in the deal for the Padres as he has the ability to be the Padres shortstop of the future. He is reportedly an excellent defensive shortstop and his power is really starting to bloom. He has taken a step backwards this past season, but is still very young (21).
Carlos Asuaje is close to being major league ready. If the Padres didn’t have an excess of middle infielders, he probably would already be up for good. Logan Allen could very well be the best player in the deal for the Padres when it is all said and done though. He has a great arsenal of stuff, and most importantly, he has an idea of how to pitch. The Padres got a huge haul for Kimbrel. That cannot be denied. This trade was a big win for A.J. Preller and the Padres.
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