Braves trade Craig Kimbrel and Melvin Upton, Jr. to the Padres

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Happy Opening Day, everyone. To celebrate, the Padres have made another gigantic trade. Kiley McDaniels of FanGraphs was the first to report that the Braves have traded closer Craig Kimbrel and outfielder Melvin Upton, Jr. to the Padres in exchange for pitching prospect Matt Wisler, minor league outfielder Jordan Paroubeck (link), outfielders Cameron Maybin and Carlos Quentin, and the 41st overall pick (per ESPN’s Keith Law).

The Padres were the only team yet to submit a 25-man roster and this is why. They had a glut of outfielders and cleared it up with this trade to the Braves. The Padres also reunite the Upton brothers.

Kimbrel had signed a four-year, $42 million extension last February but the Braves are going deeper into a rebuilding mode. Given the fickle nature of relievers, Kimbrel’s price tag, and the Braves’ unlikelihood of being competitive for a little while, it does make sense for them to deal the fireballer. Since debuting in 2010, Kimbrel has a career 1.43 ERA with 186 saves and a 476/108 K/BB ratio in 289 innings.

Upton had $46.35 million and three years remaining on a five-year, $75.25 million deal signed with the Braves in November 2012. In two seasons with the Braves, the 30-year-old ranked among baseball’s least productive players with a .593 OPS and -1.6 Wins Above Replacement, per Baseball Reference.

Both Maybin (28) and Quentin (32) had been pushed out of the picture as the Padres completely revamped their outfield with the off-season trades to acquire Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, and Wil Myers. Maybin has $16 million over two years remaining on his contract. Quentin has $8 million remaining just for the 2015 season before becoming eligible for free agency. [Update: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports says the Braves plan to designate Quentin for assignment. They acquired him simply to balance out the money involved.]

Wisler, 22, reached Triple-A for the first time last season, finishing with a 5.01 ERA and a 101/36 K/BB ratio over 116 2/3 innings in El Paso. MLB.com rated him the organization’s top pitching prospect, fourth overall in the system, and 70th among baseball’s top 100 prospects.

Paroubeck, 20, played his first professional season last year after being taken by the Padres in the second round of the 2013 draft. In 157 plate appearances, the outfielder batted .286/.346/.457.

The harrowing tale of the end of Bobby Jenks’ baseball career

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Bobby Jenks was a key part of the 2005 world champion White Sox. By 2010, his effectiveness as a closer fell off and he signed with the Boston Red Sox for the 2011 season. He’d pitch in only 19 games that year, suffer a back injury and would never pitch again.

In the year or so after that, we heard that Jenks was arrested for driving under the influence. And then we heard that his back surgery was botched, and his baseball career was over. Then, after years of silence, we learned last spring that Jenks won $5.1 million in a medical malpractice suit against the doctor who performed his surgery.

We did not, however, know all the details until Bobby Jenks wrote about them at the Players’ Tribune this morning. This is must-click link stuff, folks.

Jenks talks about how a seemingly innocuous pitch to Jorge Posada in an early-season Red Sox-Yankees game in 2011 was the last pitch he’d ever throw. He talks about the presumably simple surgery that would supposedly get him back on the field. And then the scary complications in which he almost died due to leaking spinal fluid resulting from the botched surgery. Then, after using painkillers to deal with back pain, Jenks’ fell into drug addiction, all of which culminated in him finding himself half-naked and crazed in a car that didn’t belong to him with police and rescue workers surrounding him.

Jenks got clean but his wife left him. And then he mounted a multi-year lawsuit during which he learned that the reason his back surgery was screwed up was because the surgeon was performing two surgeries at one time, which is an apparently common practice called “concurrent surgery,” that sounds like it totally should NOT be a common practice.

Yet Jenks has survived. He’s been sober for over seven years and he seems to be in a good place. But boy did he have to go through something harrowing to get there. Definitely take the time to read it.