Atlanta Braves, MLB

Braves Shock Baseball World Trading All-Star Closer Kimbrel and Upton Jr to Padres

The Atlanta Braves have had a crazy offseason, reshaping the organization from top to bottom. It all started when GM Frank Wren was fired in early in September, as the team needed a new voice after a dismal second half that saw the team go 27-40. Something had to change, and boy has it. Jon Hart was hired as the new President of Baseball Operations and, in just one offseason, has made 12 trades, most involving fan favorite players, including Jason Heyward, Evan Gattis, Justin Upton and, yes, Craig Kimbrel. Is a he nut? On the surface, yes, but on the business side, it’s smart.

Jon Hart is putting his stamp on this team and is not afraid to make people mad or make the tough decisions. Last night he made the toughest of all, trading away the best closer in the game, Craig Kimbrel, who has 185 saves in his first four seasons. He leads the Majors in that time period. When I first saw this trade, I was so angry like many fans were. Are you joking went through my head multiple times, but if you look further into it, I think it’s a win-win trade for both sides. The Braves were able to get rid of maybe one of the worst contracts in baseball in Melvin Upton JR. He signed a 5 year/75.25 million dollar contract a few years ago. It didn’t work out to say the least, as he hit below the Mendoza line. The tipping point of this deal was the Padres were willing to take the remaining 46.35 million left on the deal, which creates great financial flexibly for years to come. The team was also able to address the need of a backup outfielder in Cameron Maybin, who is great defensive asset with great speed. If he can stay healthy, this is a quality pickup for the Braves.

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The farm system got another boost as they picked up the Padres second best prospect, right-handed pitcher Matt Wisler, the number 69 prospect overall. He is coming off a solid season where he went 10-5 with a 4.42 ERA. The ERA is a little high, but, in a hitter friendly Pacific Coast League, its a good year overall that was spent between Double and Triple A. He has a plus fastball and change-up with an effective slider and curveball. His ceiling is thought to be a solid 2-3 starter, the one concern is command, as at times, he is a little wild, but don’t be surprised if he is in a Braves uniform at some point in 2015.

They also got Jordan Paroubeck, a young outfielder that was selected 41st overall in the 2013 draft. He is a switch hitter with above average speed and a good arm. His career is just getting started in just 157 at bats he has recorded a .286 average 14 extra hits and 24 RBIs, a good start for him and a good add to the Braves, depth wise. A big goal for the Braves this off-season to revamp a weak farm system that was ranked 27th last season. They have done that has it is currently ranked in the top 5; the future is bright in that aspect.

They also got Jordan Paroubeck, a young outfielder that was selected 41st overall in the 2013 draft. He is a switch hitter with above average speed and a good arm. His career is just getting started in just 157 at bats he has recorded a .286 average 14 extra hits and 24 RBIs, a good start for him and a good add to the Braves, depth wise. A big goal for the Braves this off-season to revamp a weak farm system that was ranked 27th last season. They have done that has it is currently ranked in the top 5; the future is bright in that aspect.

I understand the frustration from the fans perspective. I am a fan too, but the reality is they are playing for the new ballpark in 2017. Listen, don’t blame Jon hart for the moves he has made, blame Frank Wren for the bad contracts and trades that he made during his time with the Braves. Jon Hart inherited a mess that he is trying to fix. That’s the bottom line. By no means are the Braves going to lay down and die in 2015-16 though, as they are professionals. Who knows? They could surprise people and I hope they do.

For the Padres this is the cherry on top of an active offseason, acquiring the best closer in the game. With all the big offensive pieces they have added, including Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, and Will Myers, they could be very scary once they develop the chemistry. And with Kimbrel closing games, the sky’s the limit for this team. My only worry is that they don’t win and get stuck with huge contracts that nobody wants, much like the Phillies situation now. Overall, I think this is a win-win for both sides, as the Braves got rid of one of the worst contracts in baseball to free up money for the future and to continue to develop the Farm System. The Padres are clearly in a win now mode and this is the best piece they could have gotten to cap off a wild offseason for both clubs.

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