Padres Keep Building and Borrowing, Add Craig Kimbrel

Right at the deadline, A.J. Preller managed to squeeze in one more major transaction before the dawn of the regular season. We can say that, now, the Padres’ 2014-2015 offseason is complete; we can say that, now, the Padres’ 2014-2015 offseason also includes Craig Kimbrel. He will, presumably, be available to the team for Opening Day. It’s a little different from the usual roster additions made around this time.

The whole of the deal:

Padres get

  • Craig Kimbrel
  • Melvin Upton

Braves get

For the Braves, it’s a totally understandable and justifiable move — not only do they get to shed the rest of the Upton contract, but Kimbrel meant relatively little to them as an elite-level closer on a basement-level team. The cost savings here are significant, and they can shortly be put toward assets that might be of greater help in the window in which the Braves plan to be good again. Also, Wisler! Wisler could be of help in said window.

For the Padres, it fits with a lot of the rest of the offseason. Kimbrel isn’t exactly a one-year player, since he could be under contract through 2018, but the team’s paying a high price again, borrowing from future talent and future flexibility to make the 2015 roster stronger. That goal has been met — without question, the Padres have taken another step forward. Now we all just get to find out whether this collection of talent can come together and push for something beyond a 162nd game.

Some have given credit to the respective general managers for pulling off this deal without any extra cash changing hands. It’s true that the only things being moved here are players and contracts, but really, cash is being exchanged, just in the form of some human people. Carlos Quentin is basically a cash swap. Melvin Upton is basically a cash swap. Here’s a simple table of salary commitments, with the parentheses showing buyouts of team options.

Player 2015 2016 2017 2018
Kimbrel 9.0 11.0 13.0 13.0 (1.0)
Upton 14.5 15.5 16.5
Quentin 8.0
Maybin 7.0 8.0 9.0 (1.0)

This is a complicated trade, with many parts, but there’s a lot you can do to simplify. Word is, the Braves are just going to DFA Quentin, so that’s $8 million. Upton and Maybin are similar players and similar disappointments, and while they obviously have different career profiles, they project about the same as backup center fielders. Maybin could’ve had a place on the Padres. Now Upton will, and that shouldn’t change much. Paroubeck? Toolsy, and very young, but, fringe prospect. The 41st pick is just a 41st pick. It’s worth, I don’t know, some millions. Not many of them.

The Braves are shedding just over $80 million in guaranteed future salary. The Padres, meanwhile, are shedding about $24 million in guaranteed future salary, meaning, in the end, the Braves save about $56 million, and the Padres add that much. Kimbrel has both potential performance-based bonuses and a club option, but we’ll stick with the guarantee for now. Here’s the simplification of this deal: the Padres are trading one of their top prospects, and a couple other minor things, for Craig Kimbrel on a three-year contract worth about $56 million. That doesn’t capture everything, but it gets to the heart of this.

And, you know, Kimbrel’s about as good as a reliever gets. Been that way for years. He’s right there with Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen, and he’s worth a lot of money. But you can see how this is a steep investment. Consider that David Robertson isn’t that much worse than Kimbrel is. The White Sox signed him for four years and $46 million, and though they also surrendered a draft pick, that pick is actually even lower than the 41st pick the Padres are dealing. For more money and fewer years of Kimbrel, the Padres are also giving up Wisler and a throw-in. It’s…let’s say “bold”. I think that conveys all the right impressions.

There’s an additional variable here. Kimbrel would make any team better. He definitely makes the Padres better, and as you know, the Padres are around that part of the win curve where every additional win makes an extraordinary difference. They’ve built up, incredibly, to look pretty strong for 2015, and now they have a closer who won’t even give a weak team defense many opportunities to mess up. But, just the other day, I wrote up the top half of the relief-pitcher Positional Power Rankings. The Padres ranked tied for second. They already had a really good bullpen. Today, the Padres demoted both Brandon Maurer and Kevin Quackenbush, because their relief corps is that good and that deep. This wasn’t a trade that addressed a weakness, so, Kimbrel doesn’t make the same difference to San Diego as he might’ve somewhere else.

I guess we shouldn’t belabor that, though. Think of this as insurance against ordinary bullpen unpredictability. And while the obvious thing to do is to improve your weaknesses, there’s nothing inherently wrong with improving your strengths. The Padres’ bullpen, now, is even better. It’s even deeper, to protect against injury and under-performance. Not only do the Padres now have the best projected bullpen in baseball — it’s the best by a relatively wide margin, better even than the Royals’ bullpen. The Padres intend to be awful protective of any late leads.

There’s always risk. There’s risk with everybody, but with relievers, you just don’t know. Kimbrel throws hard, and he throws a lot of breaking balls. Just for fun, here are the top 10 relievers under 30 from 2011, by WAR:

  1. Craig Kimbrel
  2. Sean Marshall
  3. David Robertson
  4. Sergio Romo
  5. John Axford
  6. Joel Hanrahan
  7. Greg Holland
  8. Tyler Clippard
  9. Glen Perkins
  10. Jason Motte

Kimbrel’s still great, and Robertson’s still great, and Holland’s still great, and Clippard’s still great, and Perkins is still great. Not bad! Five out of 10. The other five aren’t great. Kimbrel isn’t showing signs of imminent decline. He’s as good a reliever bet as any. Just, even the safest reliever bets aren’t exactly safe bets. They’re high-risk, a lot like the 2015 San Diego Padres.

One last thing to note: it’ll be interesting to see how the Padres decide to use their position players. There’s an opportunity, now, for Wil Myers to split time with Melvin Upton in center, and to also split time with Yonder Alonso at first. That would put Myers in the extremely uncommon position of playing both first base and center field regularly — Nick Swisher is one of the only comps. But, maybe that won’t happen. And even if it does, it’s not like Myers is your ordinary center fielder. He’s a center fielder out of necessity, just as Swisher was before. Think of this as neat trivia.

The Atlanta end here is easy. They’re not going to be good real soon, so they might as well move their expensive closer, since he’s probably not going to appreciate in value. It’s really easy to focus on how including Upton brought down Kimbrel’s price tag, but that’s not an objective way to look at this — you could just as easily say that including Kimbrel brought up Upton’s price tag. If they were to be moved separately, Kimbrel might’ve brought back more, but then Upton would’ve required that the Braves include either money or talent. The end result would’ve been a very similar package. Both a burden and a blessing have been shed, at the same time, and beyond greater financial flexibility, the Braves get to add to their stable of prospects.

Kiley ranked Wisler at No. 41 in all of baseball. He was ranked by Baseball America at No. 34. Baseball Prospectus, No. 53. He’s 22 years old, and, here’s the Kiley excerpt:

To pitch at the Padres pre-draft workout in San Diego in 2011, Wisler flew to the west coast from Ohio and pitched the day after he threw in a high school playoff game, hitting 91 mph at PETCO Park. He’s shown the intangibles from day one, but came to camp in 2013 looking like a completely different pitcher. Wisler now works 91-94, touching 95 mph with sink and commands the pitch to both sides of the plate. His two-plane slider is plus, his changeup is above average at times and he also works in a fringy curveball. Scouts rave about his makeup and strike throwing abilities, though his command isn’t quite big league ready, as he ran into trouble in the hitter-friendly PCL leaving the ball up the zone. Some scouts think his build is too slight and that he won’t be able to hold up for 200 innings, with a couple suggesting he may end up as a late-inning reliever. The consensus is that he should be able to handle 180 innings as a third or fourth starter and he’ll get a big league look in 2015, though the Padres new starting pitching depth may delay that until late in the season.

Wisler is no automatic prospect — no prospect ought to be considered automatic — and he did just post a Triple-A ERA a hair north of 5. But the upside is big, and the talent is big, and this is just another case of the Braves prioritizing a highly-talented young pitching prospect. It’s a risky franchise-building strategy, because position players are considered to be safer, but the Braves have collected such an assortment now that it would be extremely unfortunate for everyone to bust. It’s apparent that, a few years from now, the Braves are really going to be able to pitch. We’ll see about the rest, but, that’s where the money might come in.

Paroubeck? He’s a long-term project. So, presumably, will be the No. 41 draft pick. Those are both minor assets, although they’re not nothing assets. Wisler, obviously, is the prize. In second place: all the new financial freedom. It doesn’t help to spend that money on guys like Nick Markakis, but that’ll only really be a problem if it develops into a pattern.

The Braves are embracing their lousy projections, and they’ve made a move that makes sense. The Padres are putting even more pressure on the short-term, depleting future resources for the sake of making 2015 a success. If nothing else, 2015 for San Diego will be of extremely high interest, and the team projects to be similar to the Pirates and Cubs. Even if they aren’t quite as good as the Dodgers, the Padres are positioned to stay alive in wild-card contention, and that’s most certainly something. And if it all comes apart? If it turns out the pieces don’t fit together? Then it’ll be on A.J. Preller to swap shorter-term value for longer-term value. All he’s proven so far is he can do the opposite, but then, I’m sure he’d like to keep it that way.



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Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Bill
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Bill
1 year 1 month ago

The end result of using Kimbrel to raise Melvin Jr.’s value vs the opposite is only equal if the dollar savings are used to improve the team elsewhere – at least if you are looking at it from a long term baseball (not profits) perspective.

At least as likely: Braves ownership keeping costs low – pocketing the extra money – and waiting for 2017 season in lily-white suburbia.

Yay, dogs!
Guest
Yay, dogs!
1 year 1 month ago

Agreed. Everyone is acting like the Braves had to get ride of Melvin and that this was the price. If they’re not going to be upgrading the team in the next few years, might as well eat that contract to get more for Kimbrel.

fast at last
Guest
fast at last
1 year 1 month ago

They still are eating a lot of that contract, just by way of taking on Maybin and Quentin. Basically the Braves traded Kimbrel for Wisler, Paroubeck, the 41st pick AND having 16.5m extra in payroll for ’17 which is when they should be ready to compete at least for the wildcard again. They only shed 6m in payroll from ’15/’16 combined when you consider Maybin and Quentin’s salaries. I think it’s a really clever move from John Hart.

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 1 month ago

At least now they can afford the all-important contract for Marietta’s own Nick Markakis.

Though I think Maybin’s a great roll of the dice, on the chance he actually stays healthy for a stretch. Hopefully Fredi will give him a long look instead of rolling out whatever craptastic combo of outfielders they might juggle.

EB
Guest
1 year 1 month ago

What more could they get from the Padres? They literally saved 22 million on Upton alone (his 46 million minus the remaining salaries for Quentin/Maybin) plus got a real prospect and sandwich pick … plus they save about 10 million a year on Kimbrell and don’t face any injury risk should he go down.

The Braves held out for top dollar and they got it. I don’t think this is a disaster for the Padres as they essentially are paying 20 million a year for him if you include some value in Wisler being a possible third or fourth starter. It’s just not the most efficient way to deploy resources.

TKDC
Guest
TKDC
1 year 1 month ago

Atlanta suburbs are not lily white. Your understanding of the demographics there are wildly out of date.

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 1 month ago

Totally true. Though after the brouhaha that the Hawks owner started about the demographics of their fan base, it will be hard to overcome that stereotype nationally.

(Son at Georgia Tech, daughter at Kennesaw State, both in diverse areas – new stadium will be right about halfway in between)

kennesaw
Guest
kennesaw
1 year 1 month ago

it’s a hell of a lot whiter than where they’re at now

Rallyk
Member
Rallyk
1 year 1 month ago

It’s a hell of lot more diverse than where they’re at now.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 1 month ago

No, it’s not. It’s 65% white. Atlanta’s only 55% black.

(People from Spain might be eligible to check “Hispanic” on the Census, but they’re still white).

a eskpert
Guest
a eskpert
1 year 1 month ago

Few Hispanics are, though.

Matthew
Member
Member
1 year 1 month ago

They also have the highest income inequality in America. Suburban Atlanta certainly isn’t all “Housewives of Atlanta”, but let’s not pretend the demographic the Braves are targeting aren’t well off white people. I feel like one of the problems with baseball is this issue. Baseball games are expensive to go to,expensive to watch on TV, and expensive to play. If I want to the watch the Red Sox, it is $50 a month. The RSN requires $60 a month. The cheapest wooden bat costs $30 and will break within a day or two. Baseball’s has a class problem too.

Ullu Ka Patta
Guest
Ullu Ka Patta
1 year 1 month ago

And? Assume all you said is true, MLB is neither a charity nor is watching baseball a human right. It is a business, and it will market itself in the way it feels will make it most economically viable. If it’s wrong, it will fail. And that’s not even getting into the fuzzy logic of equating ‘makes a marginally expensive product’ with ‘has a class problem’.

Matthew
Member
Member
1 year 1 month ago

I don’t get it. The Padres are essentially paying $100M for Kimbrel. Between Kimbrel and Upton, there is $93M through 2018. Maybin was owed $25M, but I bet a team would have paid most that given his pedigree,position, and potential. I have to imagine Quentin will find a nice home with an AL team DHing. I like them both, but I feel the value of Wisler cancels out these contracts. So in essence, the Padres paid $100M for a closer.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 1 month ago

I live in Druid Hills, and it’s really, really fucking white. So is Decatur.

They don’t even have MARTA in Cobb County, because they don’t want black people OTP.

miguel cabrera
Guest
miguel cabrera
1 year 1 month ago

I have a friend who is white that works at ATL airport which is 10-15 minutes or so SE of downtown.

Out of 100 of her co-workers, only 3 reside within 1 hour of work and 2 of those are black. Atlanta is 80% black.

The pilots wives that meet them at the airport all have mandated security.

The wealthy and middle class all live in suburbs like Newnan, Roswell, and Marietta for a reason. They are afraid of young blacks and don’t want to deal with the problems they bring.

The money resides in suburbia, it is safer, and baseballs demographic is mostly white: that is why the team moved there. Deal with it.

Llama Glama
Member
Llama Glama
1 year 1 month ago

I really don’t understand why people think that the Braves are moving to this super white suburb – they’re not. Yes, it’s much whiter than Atlanta, but the black population in Cobb County is still much above the national average. Let’s compare the demographics of the two:

Cobb County
-54.8% White, non-Hispanic (65.5% white if including the white Hispanic population)
-26.7% Black
-4.9% Asian
-5.2% Hispanic
-2% Two or more races

City of Atlanta
-36.3% White, non-Hispanic (38.4% white if including the white Hispanic population)
-54% Black
-3.1% Asian
-5.2% Hispanic
-2% Two or more races

As we can see, Cobb County is no doubt more white than Atlanta, but I would hardly call the county “lily white”. The whole idea that the suburbs are super white is long outdated. Take a look a Gwinnett County – easily the most diverse county in Georgia (and more diverse than the City of Atlanta), with no one race making up 50% of the population (assuming you separate the non-Hispanic white population from the Hispanic white population). In reality, the Atlanta suburbs are being more and more populated by minorities, while the city of Atlanta is becoming increasingly white.

I hate that the Braves are moving out of Atlanta to the suburbs – I hate suburban ballparks and think a move was unnecessary. And I don’t doubt at all that racism still exists and that people still try to avoid certain races. That said, the Braves didn’t move to flea a black populated area, they moved because of economic reasons – they were offered sweetheart deal in a wealthy area and the Braves took it. Most sports franchises and businesses would have done the same. I dislike what happened, but I don’t think something more sinister was at play here.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 1 month ago

They’re moving OTP to a place that refuses to get a MARTA line because they don’t want black people to be able to get across the Lester Maddox bridge.

Llama Glama
Member
Llama Glama
1 year 1 month ago

I don’t deny that there are racist sentiments in Cobb County, especially in their local politics and when it comes to the reasons for refusing public transportation, but at the same time Cobb County is increasingly becoming less white. Between then 2000 and 2010 census, the black population percentage grew from 18.8% to 26.8%, a 8% increase, while the white population percentage has dropped. Atlanta is having the opposite happen. The percent of Atlanta’s that is black has dropped from 61.5% in 2000 to 54% in 2010, and it’s not only because other races (whites) are starting to move to Atlanta more, but also because the black population is actually starting to leave Atlanta (the population dropped by 30,000 between the last two census’).

Anyway, my point is the the view that suburbs are extremely white and that minorities don’t dare to live there is long outdated. By the next census, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of Atlanta’s suburbs (mainly Gwinnett) to be less white that Atlanta itself. I don’t doubt that suburbs still try to attempt to keep minorities out as their local government’s tend to still be white and conservative even if the suburbs themselves are not.

Paul Lentz
Guest
Paul Lentz
1 year 1 month ago

Lester…..if no black people had cars, then your ‘they don’t want MARTA because they don’t want black people to come’ post, would have some merit.

However, what ‘they’ don’t want…is easy access to an area by peóple (regardless of race) who DON’T HAVE MONEY. I’m not defending that mentality…just explaining that there is A DIFFERENCE between being ‘a racist’ AND ‘being comfortable around those you can relate to (people with money)’.

Do you really think that black folks with money…want poor blacks from the ghetto ‘hanging around’ their neighborhoods? A number of well to do blacks now..live in GATED COMMUNITIES as well these days.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 1 month ago

Ahhh, the old “It’s not that we don’t want those people, it’s that we don’t want those people.”

I have friends who grew up in Marietta. They don’t pretend that it’s about anything other than racism. You don’t have to, either.

realist
Guest
realist
1 year 1 month ago

It isn’t possible to be lily white anywhere in the Atlanta area..but clearly the new ballpark was built for the typical baseball demographic needed. Ever wonder why an Olympic ballpark that isn’t quite 20 years old is no longer sufficient? I was there a couple years ago and it seemed like a nice facility. The actions of the Atlanta Hawks owner speak volumes as to the fan $upport needed in this day and age….this trend will continue.

Stephen
Guest
Stephen
1 year 1 month ago

The area they are building in really shouldn’t be called suburban. The Cumberland/Vinings area is at least as dense as a bunch of portions of the city of Atlanta and Cobb County is more dense than Fulton County. It is probably more dense than the area immediately around Turner Field in all reality also and it isn’t like MARTA is convenient to Turner.

Maybe this will be the spark that gets MARTA into Cobb too. If you had a stop at Cumberland Mall it would easily be a better situation all around than Turner Field.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 1 month ago

Well, at least the reason it sucks taking the Marta to Turner is that Atlanta can’t plan infrastructure, rather than racism.

(Looking on the bright side, haha!)

If this means that we can finally get a MARTA out to Cobb, though, I’m all for it.

Cameron
Guest
Cameron
1 year 1 month ago

There is an elementary school a mile down the road from the new stadium – http://www.greatschools.org/georgia/smyrna/501-Argyle-Elementary-School/details/#Students

It’s student body is 7% white. If the Braves are trying to escape for “lily-white” suburbia, they did a pretty poor job of picking the spot. There are plenty of reasons to deride the new stadium like taxpayer funding, lack of public transportation (which was a problem at the old location as well) without playing the race card.

That Guy
Guest
That Guy
1 year 1 month ago

I love how we get to now have conversations where white and white-ness are a bad thing.

Ben WMD
Guest
Ben WMD
1 year 1 month ago

Seriously, when is the white man going to finally catch a break?

Andy
Guest
Andy
1 year 1 month ago

Lily-white suburbia??? Making up wild generalizations or is that comment out of just plain ignorance? Here are the demographics of what you are calling the “lily-white suburb” of Cobb County: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/13/13067.html

As you can see, Cobb County has roughly the same demographics as the state of Georgia as a whole. But I forgot, its more fun to infer racism is the biggest factor in the Braves move out of Atlanta proper.

TKDC
Guest
TKDC
1 year 1 month ago

If anyone ever offers me a free $400 million, I’ll make sure that Internet sleuths can’t uncover my secret racist motivations. I think that’s the least you can do.

Ullu ka Patta
Guest
Ullu ka Patta
1 year 1 month ago

So basically ‘I’m right and any information to the contrary is obviously falsified’.

It must be comfortable in that universe.

TKDC
Guest
TKDC
1 year 1 month ago

I’m being sarcastic. The only information that has been provided has debunked the notion of Atlanta’s suburbs (and Cobb Co. particularly) as being “lily white.” Unless you count personal anecdotes as “information” but I don’t.

They’re owned by a publicly traded corporation. The Braves moved for money. Lots and lots of money. Trash that all you want. The added narrative that they’re going to an area with a starkly different racial makeup is false. The idea that the reason they are moving is because they simply want white fans is also false (and also, have you been to Turner Field? Almost all the fans there are white. Where exactly could they put the stadium and not have a vast majority of white fans?)

Ullu Ka Patta
Guest
Ullu Ka Patta
1 year 1 month ago

Couldn’t agree more. Whatever the makeup of their new location, the idea that a company should be shamed for relocating to a financially more lucrative location, because it offends your (correct or not) notions of diversity, is so absurd it could almost come out of the mouth of one of Ayn Rand’s caricatures.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 1 month ago

Georgia as a whole is also lily-white.

Atlanta ITP is the only place with a large concentration of black people.

John Lewis would never win a senatorial election in GA, and he wouldn’t win a Congressional one in Cobb County.

TKDC
Guest
TKDC
1 year 1 month ago

Georgia’s black population outside of the Atlanta metro area is 28 percent (of 4.4 million people). The Atlanta metro area is 32 percent (5.3 million people). Both of these are way over the national average.

Georgia is not far away from possibly electing an actual Democrat in the U.S. Senate. Maybe not John Lewis, but John Lewis likely couldn’t win a Senatorial election in any state.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 1 month ago

Hah, that’s what all my friends who worked for Nunn said. We didn’t even get a runoff! They have a better shot during the presidential election, though, when more people vote.

Massachusetts would definitely elect Lewis, because he’s an American hero. I think NY, VT and RI would, too.

You’ve got a good point about the relative diversity of GA, though. It’s in the SC-LA corridor of states that are all 25-30% black (and were therefore wayyyy more aggressively segregationist than the rest of the South).

Vince Clortho
Guest
Vince Clortho
1 year 1 month ago

It’s like an NBA trade! Adorable

dom
Guest
dom
1 year 1 month ago

if Sam Presti were running the Astros he’d watch Jose Altuve stretch a single into a double and think to himself “yep, I better trade this guy”

Michael Scarn
Guest
Michael Scarn
1 year 1 month ago

You’re thinking of Sam Hinkie.

If Sam Presti were running the Astros he’d wait until Carlos Correa becomes a star in his 3rd year and then trade him for a top 150 prospect because they were $6 million off over the course of 4 years in extension talks.

forrestcardamenis
Guest
forrestcardamenis
1 year 1 month ago

I keep reading that Kimbrel isn’t showing signs of decline, which, sure, but how much should one be worried about his rising xFIP? His HR/FB was absurdly low and his BB/9 jumped from 2.69 to 3.79. The increase in his K/9 was comparatively small and still lower than every year except 2013. He’s not going to become *not* elite this year, but should one wonder if there is a harbinger there?

Fabian
Guest
Fabian
1 year 1 month ago

Well, if you want to keep your HR/FBI low, San Diego and the NL West are certainly the place to be. I also wouldn’t worry too much about 1 extra BB/9 in one relief seadon. That’s 8 or so walks, might very well just be noise/circumstance.

TR
Guest
TR
1 year 1 month ago

F-strike up, Zone% up, Z-Contact down. Those are all good things.

Baseball Guy
Guest
Baseball Guy
1 year 1 month ago

I don’t know if there’s anything yet in the numbers, but Kimbrel is very much a velocity based pitcher. If he throws 94-95 instead of 97-98, he becomes a much more mortal pitcher. And he also throws a viciously hard slider, which is known to affect pitching arms. It’s not out of the question that he may be just “very good” for the next three years, with the ever-present (for any pitcher) possibility of disaster. Great deal for Braves.

LukeNalooshe
Member
LukeNalooshe
1 year 1 month ago

It’s not a slider, it’s a curve ball.

Wisler could break too. The same risk applies for both guys.

Tim
Guest
Tim
1 year 1 month ago

Well, except one of them cost nearly $60m and the other one didn’t.

chase
Guest
1 year 1 month ago

It is more of a slider or a hard curve I know cause I have seen him throw it a million times and worse trade hard to see him go as a braves fan

iron
Guest
iron
1 year 1 month ago

Is the one that cost nearly $60M the one that is already an elite MLB player?

Tim
Guest
1 year 1 month ago

Luke is right Chase, it’s a spike curve. People just think it’s a slider because of its velocity

James
Guest
James
1 year 1 month ago

I feel like that list of relievers should include Chapman and Jansen. What am I missing?

John
Guest
John
1 year 1 month ago

It is explained right in the article, “here are the top 10 relievers under 30 from 2011, by WAR”. According to the FanGraphs leader boards Jansen and Chapman would be 13 and 56 on that list respectively.

Not James
Guest
Not James
1 year 1 month ago

I got Jansen as 4th and Chapman was 3rd.

August Fagerstrom
Editor
Member
1 year 1 month ago

from 2011, not since 2011

Lenard
Member
Member
Lenard
1 year 1 month ago

I did the same thing, reading it as “from 2011 to present” essentially. But August is still correct, just a bit of confusing wording.

KDL
Guest
KDL
1 year 1 month ago

No. Not confusing wording. ‘From’ includes the time,location as the starting point.
What you meant to say: I was confused by the proper use of the word ‘from’.

Jays fan
Guest
Jays fan
1 year 1 month ago

Still it was a ridiculous figure to include. Kimbrels been kimbrel like for many succesive years while others included were more flash in the pan types. Would have been better to include a chart of relief pitchers who have aquired x war thriugh age y season and then also shown the same relievers through ages y+z.

bmasar
Member
bmasar
1 year 1 month ago

Jays fan-

He made the chart to show the longevity of an elite reliever three years down the road, AKA when Kimbrel’s contract could be up.

Buck Rotgut
Guest
Buck Rotgut
1 year 1 month ago

I rate this trade as neutral. Trading Kimbrel is a terrible, terrible mistake, mbut finally getting rid of Melvin “BJ” Upton resets the needle back to zero.

One question: what in the world to San Diego going to do with the Godawful Upton? There’s literally no place to put him. Are they just going to cut him?

Antonio Bananas
Guest
Antonio Bananas
1 year 1 month ago

How many closers have been dominant for 9 years (Kimbrel’s service time by the end of his contract)?

How good does a closer have to be for a team to justify 10% of payroll to his 60-80 innings (what he would likely be for Atlanta).

Braves absolutely did not need Kimbrel especially at 13M

Scott
Guest
Scott
1 year 1 month ago

Losing Kimbrel isn’t a “terrible terrible mistake.” It just stings for Braves fans who always get way too sentimental about the team’s home grown products. It’s a good, shrewd business and baseball move. And the reason professionals make these decisions instead of armchair GMs.

Eric the Clown
Guest
Eric the Clown
1 year 1 month ago

He is the defensive replacement CF, just like Maybin was. And unless you know something I don’t about Myers, that is a very important spot to fill/

Cracking Chang
Guest
1 year 1 month ago

The Padres got absolutely fleeced here.

Baseball Guy
Guest
Baseball Guy
1 year 1 month ago

Yup

chase
Guest
1 year 1 month ago

It is more of a slider or a hard curve I know cause I have seen him throw it a million times and worse trade hard to see him go as a braves fanhow

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 1 month ago

Or they sold high on Wisler and got a 4th OF who will actually be healthy sometimes.

We’ll see.

jdbolick
Member
Member
1 year 1 month ago

They sold low on Wisler, not high. Selling high would have been dealing him last season before giving up so many home runs in AAA.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 1 month ago

Unless they think that 2014-Wisler is the real Wisler, rather than just a blip, and they dealt him before his value depreciated any more.

Ted Brogan
Guest
Ted Brogan
1 year 1 month ago

Since Upton starts the season on the DL, I guess how he fits into the Padres’ plan is a question that doesn’t need answering until the future?

This is also a stretch (but the Padres have been doing a lot of that as of late), but could they see Upton as a superutility player? It has been a long time since The Baseball Player Formerly Known as BJ Upton played in the infield, but crazier things have happened.

chuckb
Member
chuckb
1 year 1 month ago

If you want crazier things to happen, maybe the Padres should trade Melvin to the Dbacks and they can pay him at 3b.

Other than that, the only thing crazier than giving Melvin regular playing time if you don’t have to is playing him in the infield.

Ted Brogan
Guest
Ted Brogan
1 year 1 month ago

I would love to see that trade in a heartbeat, especially if the D-Backs ate all of the money.

Ryan
Guest
Ryan
1 year 1 month ago

I wonder how Melvin affects Justin’s opinion of San Diego. I have to think the Padres ran this by Justin before acquiring his brother. It is possible that Melvin’s contract is part of an investment in securing Justin’s services for beyond this year.

Baseball Guy
Guest
Baseball Guy
1 year 1 month ago

I obviously have no idea, but I’ve heard it said second-hand that the whole “Upton Brothers” thing is highly overrated, that they are brothers and all but aren’t particularly close given that, and that Melvin’s presence doesn’t affect BJ’s decision-making.

Hee-Seop Choi
Guest
Hee-Seop Choi
1 year 1 month ago

I sure hope Melvin’s presence doesn’t affect BJ’s decision-making.

chase
Guest
1 year 1 month ago

He is the same person

glenstein
Member
glenstein
1 year 1 month ago

The fangraphs projections (link below) currently have the Padres at 84 wins. Is that a pre-trade number or a post trade number?

http://www.fangraphs.com/depthcharts.aspx?position=Standings

Baseball Guy
Guest
Baseball Guy
1 year 1 month ago

Doesn’t change that much. Padres are exchanging a 2.5 WAR reliever for a 1 WAR reliever (Quackenbush, whom they just demoted), subtracting some OFers with marginal value, and adding one with negative value. All in all, unless someone does something out of character this year, they’ve probably improved by maybe a win. At best.

James
Guest
James
1 year 1 month ago

1.) They were listed at 83 wins before the trade.

2.) With where the team is at in the win curve an additional win could be considered a big deal, right?

glenstein
Guest
glenstein
1 year 1 month ago

@Baseball Guy: That’s fine, but I just hoping for a straight answer on whether the projections reflect the trade or not.

@James Thanks! Now I know. At ~84 wins it makes a bit less sense to give up that much in money and upon talent, but would have been a bit more justifiable at 86.

My Neck and My Back
Guest
My Neck and My Back
1 year 1 month ago

@Glen — Team A (projected to win 86 games) and Team B (projected to win 84 games) essentially occupy the same place on the “win curve.” We’re talking about a two-win difference in PROJECTED record over a 162-game season. It shouldn’t really make “less sense” for the Pads to have done this deal because they’re only projected to be an 84-win team, not an 86-win team, after the deal. If they weren’t even close to competing, even after the deal (e.g., if they were projected to win 80 games or fewer after the deal), then it might make less sense… as is, seems to make sense.

glenstein
Guest
glenstein
1 year 1 month ago

@Neck

Except they don’t, because they have different probabilities of making the playoffs. The gap between 84 and 86 wins is probably the point on the win curve where two wins makes the largest difference to your playoff odds. If it’s not immediately clear why, compare that difference to, say, the difference between 72 and 74 wins, or the difference between 96 and 98 wins.

The extent to which you’re willing to mortgage your future should be informed by what you’re getting back in exchange. This is practically a tautology so I’m kind of amazed it would be necessary to defend, especially considering how guarded my original claim was (“a bit less sense “).

pft
Guest
pft
1 year 1 month ago

Kimbrel is night and day better than Robertson, and he is younger and not coming off a disturbing last month of the season (and now a poor ST with forearm tightness).

Padres just gained 2-3 wins with Kimbrel, and as we know wins are fare more valuable to teams at the cusp of making the playoffs. Prospects are a lottery ticket, and outside the BA top 20 pitchers have a 60% bust rate. Maybin is just a cheaper Upton

Both teams won. Padres looking at the present. Braves the future.

anon
Guest
anon
1 year 1 month ago

I think all we learned is that either the Padres got fleeced or both the Braves/Padres have a much higher WAR value for Kimbrel than FG. Combine that will a lower volatility number vs the average closer that’s traded and the expected return becomes much closer to the actual trade.

Tintin, hold the macoute
Guest
Tintin, hold the macoute
1 year 1 month ago

As Jeff says, basically the Pads are trading Wisler, Paroubeck, and the #41 pick in the draft for the right to pay a (great) closer $56M for the next three years.

The #41 pick (“sandwich pick”) is valued at roughly $4-5M, so you can simply add that to Kimbrel’s salary — and no team in baseball would spend $20M a year for Kimbrel on the open market, even for a relatively short 3-year deal, would they? San Diego certainly wouldn’t, if you phrased it to them like *that*.

And, again, the Friars are in effect trading Wisler plus Paroubeck for the right to grossly overpay Kimbrel for the next three seasons. I cannot see any way for a mid-payroll organization to rationalize such an allocation of financial resources, ESPECIALLY considering where they are on the win curve; on the cusp of a wildcard slot, it behooves them to be as shrewd as possible with their last sheckels.

This trade was the opposite of shrewd.

Eric
Guest
Eric
1 year 1 month ago

Gotta think this puts Benoit on the block for help at SS… Maurer and Quackenbush too good to waste at AAA, Benoit could help more than one club in the late innings, and Amarista is not a championship caliber middle infielder. (He’s possibly a championship caliber utility player.)

vanhalenforver
Guest
vanhalenforver
1 year 1 month ago

who could they get?

starlin castro, jj hardy, jordy mercer, jose ramirez, chris owings, eduardo escobar, chris taylor, eugenio suarez, jonatham villar, ruben tejeda, freddy galvis, pete kozma, yunel escobar

i don’t think the last half dozen are any better than amarista…

Blueyays
Member
Blueyays
1 year 1 month ago

Sorry if this is a dumb question, but how was a draft pick traded? I thought that wasn’t allowed in baseball?

Deelron
Member
Deelron
1 year 1 month ago

You can trade competitive balance picks.

Michael Procton
Guest
1 year 1 month ago

Recent rule change w/advent of competitive balance picks.

Antonio Bananas
Guest
Antonio Bananas
1 year 1 month ago

In a nutshell, the Padres are paying 56M for a closer and gave up 2 ML, 2 prospects, and a draft choice.

j
Guest
j
1 year 1 month ago

For the privilege of paying Kimbrel 3 yrs/57 mm, or 4 yrs/70 mm depending on the option, the Padres gave up a top 50 prospect, a guy who ranked in their top 20, and a compensatory first.

They could have had Robertson and Miller for 4/79, and kept their chips.

daniel
Guest
daniel
1 year 1 month ago

Yeah not a really good deal for the Padres.

Keep in mind that most teams couldn’t make this deal because they don’t have the financial flexibility this late in the season. Why could the Padres? Because they saved $60M for Moncada or Olivera. Both of whom they missed on. I think Preller was going to spend the $60M either way and the only option left was Kimbrel.

TKDC
Guest
TKDC
1 year 1 month ago

A think this is on the money. I also think the Braves sincerely weren’t interested in trading Kimbrel and had to be blown away. They had the leverage. Irrationally, I’m upset to see Kimbrel leave, but this is a huge win for the Braves future.

fromthemachine
Guest
fromthemachine
1 year 1 month ago

What a strange end to a strange offseason for the Padres. They’ve bought a fielding-negative, low OBP team full of declining household names. And despite all their moves, they still don’t have a shortstop.

I feel like they’re trying to be the Miami Marlins. Buy team. Realize it isn’t working halfway through the season. Trade entire team to Toronto.

Watch out, Blue Jays fans.

StroShow
Member
1 year 1 month ago

The Jays will gladly take their closer and a couple SPs! That’s it though.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
1 year 1 month ago

I wouldn’t sniff at the good Upton brother or Wil Myers, either!

Phantom Stranger
Guest
Phantom Stranger
1 year 1 month ago

I am surprised at all the disdain for this trade on the Padres’ side. For a team on the edge of the playoffs, adding Kimbrel is a huge positive for them. For spare parts and future prospects, they just got the most dominant closer in the game. His contract even runs out right when you might start to question his longevity.

Closers typically don’t provide a ton of value per dollar but inning for inning, Kimbrel has been one of the two or three best relievers in the history of the game over his career. If you are ever going to spend on a closer, get Kimbrel or Mariano.

Antonio Bananas
Guest
Antonio Bananas
1 year 1 month ago

For basically 18M a year, they could have found incremental value elsewhere.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 1 month ago

But the incremental value added by an elite bullpen is greater than that value added elsewhere, as we’ve seen repeatedly over the last few years.

WAR doesn’t do a great job of assessing the impact of relievers.

KDL
Guest
KDL
1 year 1 month ago

For basically $18 million, they could have found incremental bullpen value elsewhere…if you’d rather.
Not that that they needed it, as they already had the second best bullpen in the league, and thus already were setup to reap the benefits you mention regarding bullpens and WAR.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 1 month ago

The fact that they had a great bullpen is precisely why they couldn’t have found incremental bullpen value elsewhere.

Antonio Bananas
Guest
1 year 1 month ago

Why did they even need incremental bullpen value in that case? Why not use the 18M to plug a hole?

jdbolick
Member
Member
1 year 1 month ago

A.J. Preller really seems like a fantasy baseball owner, feverishly making trades without much consideration of fit or context. Kimbrel is amazing, yet as the column notes, the Padres already had one of the best bullpens in the major leagues. For Atlanta to get out of the Upton contract and add a top-50 prospect is impressive. Add in the not insignificant chance of Cameron Maybin becoming a useful starter and it looks even better.

daniel
Guest
daniel
1 year 1 month ago

His strategy was pretty well documented at BP: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=25548

You’re right that he doesn’t care about fit. But he is gaining value overall.

jdbolick
Member
Member
1 year 1 month ago

Gaining value is largely wasted without considering the fit, as was demonstrated by the Padres demoting Quackenbush and Maurer. This isn’t the stock market, it’s a baseball team where pieces have to fit together and complement each other.

daniel
Guest
daniel
1 year 1 month ago

It’s inefficient, but it’s not “largely wasted”. Fit can come together when there is an opportunity. When building a team that has very little value like the 2014 Padres, value is much more important than fit.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 1 month ago

Cameron Maybin has about as much of a chance at becoming a useful starter as Melvin Upton does.

jdbolick
Member
Member
1 year 1 month ago

Not at all. Go look at their respective pages again. While Upton’s contact skills have bottomed out, Maybin’s have steadily improved. The injury last season masked Cameron’s progression but there are some legitimate reasons to be optimistic about his immediate future.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 1 month ago

Looking at their pages, I see one player who hasn’t cracked an 90 wRC+ since 2011, and another who hasn’t done so since 2012.

Also, the fact that Maybin can’t even reliably provide the basic value of being a warm body isn’t exactly a point in his favor…

jdbolick
Member
Member
1 year 1 month ago

The injury issue is significant, but I think you realize now that Maybin has a considerably higher chance to become a solid everyday player than B.J./Melvin Upton, just as I realize that the comment was a flippant one. The underlying indicators for Maybin are somewhat encouraging, and it’s not at all difficult to envision him finally capitalizing on some of his talent.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 1 month ago

The guy is never healthy, and has cracked a 90 wRC+ exactly once in his life.

If I had to pick, I’d go for the one who was good more recently, and actually has the durability to be a reliable defensive replacement.

Radermecher
Member
Radermecher
1 year 1 month ago

John Hart has done wonders for the balance sheet.Lets see if the baseball side plays out.Jason Heyward looked right at home as a redbird tonight.

Antonio Bananas
Guest
Antonio Bananas
1 year 1 month ago

Braves saved a ton by trading BJ/Kimbrel. Maybe they resign Heyward at the end of the year.

Dave Perek
Guest
Dave Perek
1 year 1 month ago

I like trade for the Padres. This clears the last of the busted PED users that Preller inherited (Maybin, Patton, Cabrera and Grandal). Maybin has excellent athletic ability but zero baseball IQ. He is a nightmare on the bases getting picked off and doubled up in key situations. He also is made of glass.

Getting Kimbrel from Braves also keeps him off the Dodgers who need bullpen help and were also rumored to be negotiating with the Braves.

Wisler is a decent prospect but looked like he still needed some seasoning when he pitched in Peoria this spring. He looks like a back of the rotation starter in the short term.

As a Padres fan, I am hoping Upton jr has an Alex Rios-like (post Blue Jays) resurrection. Braves fans will tell me no and they are probably right but one can still hope. Upton Jr. may also assist in his brother staying in San Diego after this season.

CS Yankee
Guest
CS Yankee
1 year 1 month ago

Great observation that everyone overlooked, if the Dodgers get Kimbrel that might have been the key for them getting passed the Nats and into the WS.

However, having him close for the Padres might save them a few against the Dodgers and lead them into WC-land. However, the Padres biggest need seems to be the IF and unless that is corrected they’ll likely miss the postseason regardless.

Antonio Bananas
Guest
1 year 1 month ago

$18M for a guy who only throws 60-80 innings a year is an overpay any way you look at it. Closers are the most overrated players (by mainstream, not so much on here) in the game.

So what if the Dodgers get him? Playoff series are a coin toss. Padres aren’t winning the division. They might win wild card, then they’re stuck with Melvin, Shields, Kemp, and Kimbrel’s overpriced contracts and a depleted farm.

MLB Rainmaker
Member
Member
MLB Rainmaker
1 year 1 month ago

A couple points to emphasize here:

— The Padres were going to likely have to DFA someone, either Maybin or Quentin, so that’s $11M – $16M gone with no return. That was going to happen regardless of this deal, so there is a option value to that money…

— Wisler had an ERA above 5 last season in AAA. This isn’t a guy that’s cruised at every level, this is a guy that for 100+ inning at the high minors and stumbled.

jdbolick
Member
Member
1 year 1 month ago

Don’t cite ERA, look at the indicators with higher year to year correlations. Chris Mitchell did a nice job explaining why Wisler’s AAA numbers are not concerning: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/a-look-at-the-prospects-in-the-craig-kimbrel-trade/

Professor Ross Eforp
Member
Professor Ross Eforp
1 year 1 month ago

Why not just take on Papelbon and his salary? He would certainly have cost less, right?

bmasar
Member
bmasar
1 year 1 month ago

Papelbon is older and likely to decline soon, if not already. Kimbrel is 26.

Professor Ross Eforp
Member
Professor Ross Eforp
1 year 1 month ago

Is that worth $30MM over three years?

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 1 month ago

The years of team control they have over Kimbrel is part of the appeal. They just got an elite closer in his prime for the next 3 or 4 seasons.

Robertson got 4/$46m. Not only is Kimbrel 3 years younger, but he’s been worth 4 more WAR over the past three years than Robertson.

Kimbrel would get at least the $15m a year Rivera got when he was 38, if he hit the open market. He would probably see a lot more, considering he’s more than 10 years younger and how much salary inflation there’s been since 2007.

A 3 win pitcher is worth $21m a year in this environment, and Kimbrel is a 3 win pitcher, even by a stat that might undervalue him.

jdbolick
Member
Member
1 year 1 month ago

Factoring in the other contracts involved, San Diego essentially paid $68.5 million over four years for Kimbrel.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 1 month ago

And Ervin Santana, who has been worth 3 fewer fWAR and 6 fewer rWAR than Kimbrel over the last three years, just received 4 years and $56m for his age 32-35 seasons.

The money looks huge, but getting Kimbrel from 27-30 for $68.5m is actually a good deal in this environment.

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 1 month ago

Also, Kimbrel is the best reliever in the game, except maybe Chapman.

Papelbon isn’t even an upgrade from Benoit. Big difference.

Antonio Bananas
Guest
1 year 1 month ago

Kimbrel is only a good investment if you believe he’ll stay elite from age 27-30, which I don’t believe he will be. Any idea how ridiculous he’ll have to be to justify 18M/year in just 60-80 innings?

Pdowdy83
Guest
Pdowdy83
1 year 1 month ago

This may be off base but is it possible that the Padres plan to use Melvin as a utility player given his past history at 2nd and 3rd base?

Normally I wouldn’t suggest it but this is the same team planning on using Wil Myers in CF.

Emmanuel
Guest
Emmanuel
1 year 1 month ago

I love what the Padres have done, although it’s all very risky especially in a few years. I respect the fact that Preller has gone out a made something happen via trades versus free agency mostly, it just more fun that way i think.

But the one thing that drives me nuts whenever the Padres are brought up is why can’t anyone get Kemp a 1st baseman’s glove and tell him to shut up and play. I now he bitched about not playing center with the dodgers, but it’s obvious to everyone but him he as a horrible outfield defender.

Anyways, awesome deal for Kimbrel even though Melvin had to be included. This reminds me of the Red Sox trade with the Marlins for Beckett where they had to take Mike Lowell.

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 1 month ago

Big difference is that Lowell had one horrible off-year, while Upton’s been lousy almost from the moment he joined the Braves.

Jon
Guest
Jon
1 year 1 month ago

Could the Braves really not find anyone to take Quentin and, say, $7 Million (in exchange for nothing)? Hard to believe they had to eat the *entire* contract…

jdbolick
Member
Member
1 year 1 month ago

I can’t figure out why they didn’t play him in left until his inevitable injury, although I wonder how insurance is handled for a traded player.

JorgeGeorge Paez
Guest
JorgeGeorge Paez
1 year 1 month ago

Prospects don’t always make it…..

Antonio Bananas
Guest
1 year 1 month ago

Neither do 28 year olds coming off three straight 3+ WAR seasons (melvin when ATL signed him) or dominant closers (Lidge, Marmol, K-Rod, Papelbon, Flash Gordon, etc).

Difference is, a prospect not panning out isn’t going to hurt the rest of your team with sunk cost.

Ivan Grushenko
Guest
Ivan Grushenko
1 year 1 month ago

How good a SS could Kimbrel get them? Starlin Castro? Jose Ramirez? Brad Miller/Chris Taylor? Javier Baez?

It wouldn’t surprise me to see something like that.

SoccerMarty
Guest
SoccerMarty
1 year 1 month ago

Kimbrell+ for Jose Reyes? I don’t know what the Padres have left to throw in though.

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