Braves designate Quinten for assignment; Grilli new closer
MIAMI (AP) Hours before Monday's season opener, Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez assessed his team's latest moves and didn't try to spin them as an upgrade.
''It's a big boy's world,'' Gonzalez said. ''Guess what, we've got to go play a game.''
On the eve of the season, the Braves traded All-Star closer Craig Kimbel and outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. to the San Diego Padres for outfielders Cameron Maybin and Carlos Quinten, two minor leaguers and a draft pick.
Quinten never joined the Braves, and the two-time All-Star was designated for assignment. Maybin arrived before the opener against the Miami Marlins but wasn't in the starting lineup.
Veteran right-hander Jason Grilli was given the closer job, with right-hander Jim Johnson his backup. Grilli has 50 career saves, including 33 with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2013.
''We feel like if the team gives us a lead, these guys will be able to shut it down for us,'' Gonzalez said.
Maybin will play some against left-handers and be used as a late-inning defensive replacement in center field, Gonzalez said.
The Braves' motive for the trade was to unload the remaining $46.35 million on the underachieving Upton's contract. Even so, the loss of Kimbrel was a blow. He has had at least 45 saves each of the past four seasons.
The trade was the latest in a series of rebuilding moves by the Braves since a late-season collapse that cost them a 2014 playoff berth. They have only six players who were on the opening day roster a year ago, the fewest in the majors.
The objective this year hasn't changed, however, Gonzalez said.
''I told the guys our goal is to get in the postseason any way we can,'' he said. ''That doesn't change one bit. What changes a little is how you get to the ninth inning.''