If the date would have been April 1, no sane individual would have believed the deal.

But it was the afternoon of Easter Sunday and I’ve never heard of the Easter Bunny making up bogus baseball deals.

So it defied logic when you initially heard that the San Diego Padres acquired standout closer Craig Kimbrel from the Atlanta Braves for two clunkers, two prospects and a draft pick. You know, because you typically have to give up at least one bona fide player for a dominating All-Star who is just entering his prime.

Suddenly the Padres have a real closer – sorry Joaquin Benoit, you are an eighth-inning guy as I’m pretty sure David Ortiz’s blast off you is still sailing. Solidifying the back end of the bullpen makes winning the National League West a real possibility.

The Padres had to take strikeout-machine Melvin Upton Jr. in the deal – he’s the brother of solid-hitting Justin Upton – but gave Atlanta some of its own trash in clunkers Carlos Quentin and Cameron Maybin.

The Braves obtained pitching prospect Matt Wisler and whether or not he pans out will determine whether they received something of value in the deal. The baseball world is full of prospects who never lived up to their billing or even reached the majors so that is quite a gamble when you are giving up one of the top two closers in the game (Kansas City’s Greg Holland being the best).

Kimbrel has 185 saves over the past four seasons so Padres general manager A.J. Preller is again proving to be a magical trader as a first-year GM. The offseason haul included the offseason acquisitions of outfielders Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Wil Myers, catcher Derek Norris and third baseman Will Middlebrooks and the signing of starting pitcher James Shields as a free agent.

It is a weird feeling to know the Padres are entering the season with a solid chance of making the National League playoffs and also a candidate to win the NL West. It is quite the transformation from last season’s horrid hitting squad.

It is hard to understand what the Braves were thinking by dealing Kimbrel but you can tell general manager John Hart is worried about the reactions of the players. He told reporters that either himself or manager Fredi Gonzalez will explain the situation to the players and answer questions prior to Monday’s season opener.

When you have to hold a meeting to explain a trade, you’re not in a position of strength.

But the Padres certainly are – a glaring hole has been filled in a most surprising manner and nothing but optimism reigns heading into Monday’s opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Because Sunday they pulled off the equivalent of showing up at the car dealer with a Tonka Toy and trading it for a Rolls Royce.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s