SAN DIEGO -- This won't quite come close to touching the dizzying three-day December roster turnover that Padres general manager A.J. Preller pulled off during his first offseason in charge of the club, though his latest megadeal certainly rates as remarkable, at the very least.
Less than 24 hours before what is expected to be the most anticipated Opening Day in recent memory, the Padres acquired All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel and outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. from the Braves in exchange for right-handed pitcher Matt Wisler, outfielders Carlos Quentin, Cameron Maybin and Jordan Paroubeck, and the No. 41 Draft pick in June.
Upton will join his brother, Justin, who Preller traded for in one of the aforementioned December deals that essentially helped reshape the roster.
The Padres get another power arm for the bullpen in Kimbrel, a four-time National League All-Star who has an ERA under 2.00 the last three seasons and has saved 186 games in five seasons with the Braves. Kimbrel, 26, will make $9 million this season and is owed $11 million in 2016 and $13 million in '17, with a $13 million team option or $1 million buyout set for '18.
Kimbrel -- who got a ringing endorsement from Justin Upton that was passed along to Preller -- has led the NL in saves in each of the last four seasons.
"It was an opportunity that we couldn't pass up," Preller said of landing Kimbrel, who the team is hoping arrives in time for Monday afternoon's opener at Dodger Stadium.
The Padres have Joaquin Benoit on the roster, but this gives manager Bud Black another power arm at the back of the bullpen, and someone to close games. Benoit set up Huston Street last season before Street was dealt to the Angels and will assume more of a setup role again -- along with Shawn Kelley -- with the addition of Kimbrel.
"Joaquin did well in Spring Training, but we saw an opportunity to acquire someone who is arguably the best at what he does in the game," Preller said. "The impact Kimbrel has had on the game, it wasn't as if we needed a closer, but it's a unique opportunity to get an A-type performer."
Could the team have landed Kimbrel without taking on Melvin Upton and his remaining contract? It certainly didn't sound like it.
"There were a lot of different variations of the deal, but ultimately it ended up making sense to make the deal the way we did," Preller said. "In Upton, we looked at the deal as a whole."
Melvin Upton, 30, has struggled the last two seasons with the Braves, hitting .184 in 2013 and .208 a year ago. Like Kimbrel, he comes with a hefty contract. He's owed $14.45 million this season, $15.45 million next season and $16.45 million in 2017.
The deal between the teams was for players only; no money was or would be exchanged in order to offset the contracts of any players involved.
The Padres, who were set to open the season with a club-record payroll of about $100 million, will now be closer to $109 million. That's up from $90 million a year ago and from $68 million in 2013. Currently, the Padres are projected to have the 18th-highest Opening Day payroll in baseball. A year ago, 14 teams in baseball had an Opening Day payroll of $109 million or more.
Upton will begin the season on the disabled list with sesamoiditis in his left foot and isn't expected back until May. For now, the team will carry four outfielders; Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, Wil Myers and Will Venable. Preller said the team will first assess Melvin Upton's health and then figure out where the pieces fit moving forward, though he did say Myers will be the team's center fielder.
The Padres have been working hard in recent weeks to move at least one outfielder from the roster in advance of Opening Day on Monday against the Dodgers, as Quentin and Maybin were going to be relegated to bench jobs after Preller added Justin Upton, Kemp and Myers in December, along with catcher Derek Norris and third baseman Will Middlebrooks.
On Sunday, Preller managed to move Quentin and Maybin off the roster -- no small feat considering that Quentin will make $8 million this season and Maybin still has a guaranteed $16 million left on his deal that runs through 2016 (that includes a $9 million team option or $1 million buyout for 2017).
Quentin had to waive his no-trade clause in order for the deal to work.
"It wasn't really a shock for him, because we kept him updated all along. He was prepared to move on," Preller said of Quentin, who was limited to 218 games over three seasons with the Padres because of injuries to both knees.
Wisler was the Padres' No. 4 prospect and Paroubeck was rated No. 15 by MLB.com. Wisler would have started the season in the starting rotation for Triple-A El Paso, with Paroubeck likely ticketed for Class A Fort Wayne.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.