Roster Moves: Quackenbush, Maurer Demoted after Kimbrel Acquisition

You’ve got to squeeze a few lemons to get the juice.

The San Diego Padres got the juice in Sunday’s blockbuster trade, acquiring the best reliever in baseball, Craig Kimbrel.

The former Atlanta Braves‘ righty will slide right into the closer role, which drops Joaquin Benoit into the setup role, and moves everyone else in the bullpen down a slot.  The final roster squeeze comes at the expense of Kevin Quackenbush and Brandon Maurer, who were sent down to AAA yesterday afternoon, per this Scott Miller tweet:

As of Sunday morning, the Padres were the only team in the MLB not to have set their active 25-man roster. And now we understand why, with Carlos Quentin and Cameron Maybin going to the Braves, Kimbrel joining the staff, Melvin Upton going directly to San Diego’s disabled list, and Maurer and Quackenbush getting optioned.

With the two relievers being sent down, the final roster spot went to rookie infielder Cory Spangenberg, giving the team an additional left-handed bat off the bench. Spangenberg will fill a utility role, and add a much-needed speed element to the roster. Spangenberg stole 20 bases between the minors and majors last season, following a 36-steal season in 2013.

Quackenbush’s demotion comes as a bit of a surprise. The big right-hander pitched very well for the Padres in 2014, after the team sent then-closer Huston Street to the Los Angeles Angels. “Quack Attack” put up a 2.48 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP in 56 games, and also picked up six saves. Some thought Quackenbush pitched well enough to be given a shot at the closer role this season, but when you trade for a man who has saved a major-league high 185 games over the last four years, Quackenbush’s resume comes up quite a bit short. He now becomes pitching depth, and will be one of the first called up if the bullpen gets hit with injury or ineffectiveness.

Maurer, acquired in the Seth Smith trade, was one of several power arms picked up by Padres’ GM A.J. Preller this off-season. The 6’5” right-hander, whose fastball averages over 95 MPH, struggled a bit this Spring, allowing 10 hits in seven innings, while only striking out five. At only 24 years old, the young fireballer will certainly get more chances at the major league level soon.

You can see the full Padres Active Roster here.