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.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?