Just when people though A.J. Preller was done dealing – he was not. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
After the most exciting off-season in San Diego Padres history, and making the biggest changes of any team in Major League Baseball – 15 players on the Opening Day roster who didn’t play at all on the 2014 version – Opening Day finally arrived.
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The Padres were eager to show off all of the changes made by rookie General Manager A.J. Preller, and endorsed by the latest ownership group; but the first one in some time that is actually investing money into the team and seems to care when the on-field product does not match their expectations of excellence.
The Padres opened on the road against the Los Angeles Dodgers eager to show that for the first time since 2010 they could actually compete with their rivals up the 5 Freeway. While many do predict that the Dodgers will still win the division at this point, the Padres aimed to show that perhaps it will not be without a fight.
To top that off, as the team finished up their spring schedule they realized they still had a few too many outfielders. Holdovers Cameron Maybin, Will Venable, and Carlos Quentin all seemed to be holding down the fourth and fifth outfielder spots and all together they took up over $20 million in payroll. Pretty expensive bench. A.J. Preller was not done dealing.
In a blockbuster move, the Padres traded for premier closer Craig Kimbrel of the Atlanta Braves. In return Maybin and Quentin were sent to Atlanta and free-agent bust Melvin Upton Jr. and his contract coming to the Padres. It also helps that his brother Justin Upton joined the Padres earlier this off-season and many see Melvin (formerly B.J.) as a bit of a ploy to sign Justin to a long-term contract following this season.
Now, what was already a strength, has become an even BIGGER strength of the Padres. Presumed closer Joaquin Benoit moves back into the 8th inning. The only downside being that Kevin Quackenbush had to be sent down to AAA to make room for Kimbrel and Upton. The next question would be, how many games would the Padres be able to score enough runs for Kimbrel to close them out?
Read on to find out how they did in Week 1.
Next: Dodgers Series Recap?