Padres Steal Opening Day Thunder

On an opening day that saw Chicago Cubs’ fans brought back to earth a bit, it was the team that really is the most improved over last season, the San Diego Padres, that stole the headlines with a deal that made themselves a significantly better team than they were just a day earlier. In a deal with the Atlanta Braves, the Padres sent a top prospect, a second

minor leaguer, and two irrelevant fringe players across the country to the Braves for another irrelevant fringe player AND perhaps baseball's best closer, perennial all-star Craig Kimbrel.

The 26-year-old Kimbrel has led or tied for the major league lead in saves in each of his four full years in the majors with totals of
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46, 42, 50 and 47, has recorded the most saves of any pitcher over the last four seasons, 185, has a lifetime ERA of 1.43 and a WHIP of 0.91 over 294 appearances while pitching 289 innings while striking out 476. For his career he has struck out 14.82 batters per nine innings and held opposing batters to a .152 average. Only in these days of mega-contract dumping could a team ever consider trading away a young star with such credentials. The deal was made because the Padres would assume responsibility to pay Kimbrel and the other guy they received in the deal, Marvin Upton, the remaining $80 million owed on their contracts.

In return the Braves received the Padres’ top prospect, pitcher Matt Wisler, 20-year-old outfielder Jordan Paroubeck, and two non-entitles, washed up outfielder Carlos Quentin who fresh off a .177 season in 2014 is expected to be released by Atlanta, and former prospect Cameron Maybin, whose career has been a total washout after coming to the majors amid grossly exaggerated expectations of an actual ability to play at a major league level.

The Dodgers and Giants should be shivering in their boots tonight, as the Padres have sewn up the NL West.

Meanwhile in Chicago, the Cubs, the darlings of the media, showed that just maybe their overall talent and ability to compete in the tough National League Central is a year or more away from reality. They were totally outplayed by the Cardinals in tonight’s major league opener, being shut out on five hits, 3-0. The Cubs never had a chance after the evening began with perhaps the worst recorded rendition ever heard of any song ever sung, anywhere, ever, by some woman singing something about the USA. It was embarrassingly bad and I hope I never hear anything like it again. At least that was followed by an excellent rendition of the National Anthem performed by Wayne Messmer.

The 2015 Major League Baseball Season opens Sunday, April 5, with the St. Louis Cardinals playing against the Cubs in Chicago. The Dodgers open their season the next day, with a game at Dodgers' Stadium against former Dodgers' star Matt Kemp and the San Diego Padres. The Angels open against division rival Seattle Mariners in Seattle also on Monday, April 6, and they have their home opener against the defending American League champion Kansas City Royals on Friday, April 10. Tickets to all these games and to every other home opener are available Right Here, Right Now, from Razorgator.

A little after 1:00 pm tomorrow, the Dodgers will begin their 2015 season. Why, I don’t know, since on one hand the Padres have the division already wrapped up, and because on the other hand, for us 70% of Dodgers’ fans shut out of SportsNet LA by Time Warner Cable and by the Dodgers, their games will be little more than rumors to us all.

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