The day after landing a power hitting corner outfielder (Kemp) and the same day as adding another corner outfielder (Myers), the team went out and added Justin Upton. In a bizarre move the team now had three potential All-Star corner outfielders. Upton only had one year left on his contract, and the Padres seemed to be poised to make a run for it all.
Upton proved to be the most consistent hitter for the Padres even though Kemp will have better numbers when it is all said and done. Justin Upton is hitting .259 with 26 homers and 80 RBI’s in 142 games. He has been very solid for the Padres and was the teams lone All-Star representative in 2015.
Northcraft was just average this season going 4-6 with a 4.21 ERA between AA and AAA for the Padres. He will look to compete for a bullpen spot in the 2016 season. The Padres dealt four decent young players to the Braves for Upton. Max Fried was the Padres first round pick in 2012, but is currently injured. He is working his way back from Tommy John surgery. Mallex Smith is a speed burner that stole 88 base in the Padres organization in 2014. He hit .306 this season for the Braves in AA and AAA. Smith also stole 57 bases and hit two homers with 35 RBI’s.
Dustin Peterson is an outfielder and third baseman. He hit .251 this season with eight homers and 62 RBI’s in 118 games. The 21-year-old has developing power. Jace Peterson has spent the whole season as the Braves starting second baseman. He has played in 142 games and is hitting ,240 with 5 homers and 51 RBI’s. He has amassed a 0.5 WAR in his rookie year.
Ryan Hanigan for Will Middlebrooks
This small addition is the best move A.J. Preller made in the off-season. Hanigan was due to make $8 million dollars through the 2016 season. Middlebrooks made a little over 500k this season. The Padres saved $7.5 million dollars and were able to take a look at a young corner infielder. Hanigan’s contract is bad. He is nothing more than a backup catcher. Paying a backup catcher $3.7 million dollars a season would have been horrible.
The Padres had over-hauled their offense but still needed a few pieces in their bullpen. Shawn Kelley was acquired from the New York Yankees on the 29th of December for Minor League pitcher Johnny Barbato. Kelley started off his Padres tenure in a rough way, but ultimately had one of the best performances out of the pen for the Padres in 2015. Kelley has gone 2-2 with a 2.72 ERA and a 1.122 WHIP. He has struck out 55 batters in 46 innings and has proved very useful.
Kelley is due for free agency after the 2015 season, and the Padres will likely make a run at retaining him. Barbato went 6-2 this season with a 2.67 ERA between AA and AAA. Interesting that the 23-year-old had a 0.36 ERA in 14 games after being promoted to AAA. He could be a decent reliever eventually for the Bronx Bombers, but Kelley and his veteran leadership was needed now by the Padres.
Phase two of acquiring a reliever was nabbing Brandon Maurer from the Seattle Mariners for Padres 2014 offensive MVP Seth Smith. Amazingly Smith went from the Padres best offensive weapon to someone who wasn’t in the teams plans. With all the added outfielders the Padres needed to deal someone and Smith had the most value. Smith hit .247 this season in Seattle with 11 home runs and 41 RBI’s. His WAR numbers dropped from 4.0 in 2014 with the Padres to 1.7 this year in Seattle.
Maurer looks to be a dominant pitcher, the question is if the Padres want him to start or keep relieving. Maurer went 7-4 this season for the Padres with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.059 WHIP. He has the arm and stuff to start, so it will be interesting to see if the Padres decide to move him into the rotation. The addition of Maurer for Smith was an A.J. Preller masterpiece.
Free Agent signing of James Shields 4-years/$75 million dollars
This signing looked to be a great addition for the Padres, but Shields has an off-year for the team. His walk rate and home runs allowed are way up. At the same time Shields is striking out more than normal. The numbers on him are not horrible, but he is due to make $21 million for each of the next three seasons. That is where this deal can go south very fast.
Shields has always been very durable, and that is still the case as he hasn’t missed a start the whole season. Still at the age of 33, and with over 2,100 innings under his belt (career) the concerns for him breaking down are valid. This could just be an off-year for the hurler as he adjusts to pitching in the National League for the first time. That is what the Padres will hope for, as they need Shields both on the mound and in the locker room.
Shields brings an attitude and swagger that the Padres need. His accountability hasn’t transitioned to wins just yet, but that type of behavior will eventually amount to more wins. The Padres might look to move Shields if they can get a fair return. Anything can happen as A.J. Preller attempts to get the Padres back above the .500 mark.
The Padres had an excess of relief pitchers at the end of spring and the team made a surprise move in dealing their lone left-hander out of the bullpen. Alex Torres was deemed expendable as he was dealt to the New York Mets for Minor League pitcher Cory Mazzoni. Torres has had a typical year for the Mets going 0-0 with a 3.15 ERA and a 1.515 WHIP.
It’s the same story with Torres as he continues to pitch wildly effective. He has struck out 35 batters in 34 innings while walking 26. Mazzoni spent some time with the Padres this year but was absolutely ROCKED in his short time. He recorded an incredible 20.77 ERA with a 3.231 WHIP. Mazzoni pitched in 8.2 innings and allowed a ridiculous 23 hits. Amazing, as the rookie was beaten up pretty bad in his Major League debut. He rebounded in AAA with a 1-3 record and a 3.97 ERA with an impressive 1.088 WHIP.
On Easter Sunday, the day before the Padres season was to begin, A.J. Preller pulled off another blockbuster deal. The Padres had an excess of outfielders, so they packaged two of them (Quentin and Maybin) along with their best prized pitching prospect (Wisler) and a lower Minor League outfielder (Paroubeck) for the best closer in the game and a bad contract.
Yes Kimbrel is the best closer in the game. He has the numbers and history to prove it too. At the age of 27, Kimbrel has an amazing future and hopefully the Padres will retain his services this off-season. Upton Jr has a horrible contract, but he has proved semi useful in a backup center fielder role. He is owed $31.9 million for the next two seasons and that whats makes this deal tilt towards the negative side. Upton has amassed a 1.4 WAR so far which is incredible because his numbers aren’t great. He is hitting .250 with five homers and 17 RBI’s in 180 at bats. He has eight stolen bases on the year but has struck out 54 times in his 180 at bats.
Cameron Maybin put in a solid year for the Braves. He has played in 132 games totaling 429 at bats. He is hitting .261 with 10 home runs and 53 RBI’s. He has stole 22 bases and has a .323 on base percentage. All that translated into a 0.2 WAR. Upton Jr has easily outproduced Maybin this year, even though Maybin has seemingly better numbers. Carlos Quentin never made it into Braves camp. He was released by the team then signed by Seattle. He failed to make the Mariners and was sent to AAA. He retired from baseball shortly after that.
Matt Wisler started the season in AAA Gwinnett for the Braves. He went 3-4 with a 4.29 ERA in 12 starts. He was then promoted to the Major League team where he made 16 starts for the team. He is 5-8 with a 5.63 ERA and a 1.633 WHIP. He is still figuring things out, but looks to be a middle of the rotation starter for the Braves. Paroubeck had a fantastic season in rookie ball. The 20-year-old switch hitting outfielder played in 35 games and got 136 at bats. He collected a batting line of .331/.409/.551 with five homers and 28 RBI’s. He is a below average fielder, but at the age of 20, he can still develop. This young outfielder is taking great strides and could eventually pay dividends for the Atlanta Braves.