The day before the San Diego Padres were set to open the 2015 season, they acquired Craig Kimbrel. Let’s look back on that trade.
When the San Diego Padres traded closer Huston Street to the Angels during the 2014 season, it left an enormous hole at the back of their bullpen. However, it appeared to be business as usual until General Manager AJ Preller acquired Craig Kimbrel the day before the 2015 season was set to get underway.
Kimbrel was coming off a season in which he collected the most saves in baseball (47) and had signed a four-year, $42 million extension before the year. Still, needing an elite closer that rivaled Trevor Hoffman, the Padres pulled the trigger sending Carlos Quentin, Cameron Maybin, two prospects, and the 41st overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft.
The Padres also acquired Melvin Upton Jr.from the Braves, who struggled to the tune of a .208/.287/.333 line (75 OPS+) and needed a change of scenery. Kimbrel’s numbers in the 2015 season were consistent with the year prior but recorded eight fewer saves. For what it’s worth, the Padres were terrible that season, one that saw long-time manager Bud Black sent packing.
Dave Roberts was interim manager for a game before Pat Murphy took over for the remainder of the season on the way to a 74-88 record and fourth-place finish in the NL West. After the season, the Padres traded Kimbrel to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Manuel Margot, Javy Guerra, Carlos Asuaje, and Logan Allen.
After the dust has settled, only Guerra remains on the Padres roster from the trade with the Red Sox. From the initial deal with the Braves, Upton Jr was reunited with his brother, Justin, and the former spent a year and a half in San Diego before being sent to the Blue Jays.
As far as the Braves return, Quentin was designated for assignment immediately after the trade. Maybin was a former top prospect in baseball that failed to materialize into his projections and lasted just one year in Atlanta.
It’s rare to see draft picks included in trades, but the Atlanta Braves took third baseman Austin Riley with the pick, and he has performed very well throughout the minors. Last season, he posted a .293/.366/.626 line with Triple-A Gwinnett, but that failed to translate in 80 games with the big league club.
It’s interesting to look back on these trades and see where everyone’s path took them. Kimbrel is now on the Cubs roster and looking to rebound after posting a terrible half of a season on the north side, and the Padres really have nothing to show from the deal. Would you do the deal again if given the choice?