The San Diego Padres took a break from a dizzying series of trades Friday afternoon to introduce one of their new sluggers, Matt Kemp.
Kemp, in turn, put the blockbusters by general manager A.J. Preller into perspective as only a guy fresh from Hollywood could.
"This is unbelievable. He's a GM rock star right now, moving in and out and doing so many things right now," said Kemp, who sat between Preller and manager Bud Black at a news conference at Petco Park. "Every day there's something different."
Preller smiled and said, "That's definitely the first time I've gotten the rock star tag." Later, Preller, a native New Yorker, said he listens to Frank Sinatra most mornings, "but I don't know if that characterizes me as a rock star."
Preller has certainly gotten the Padres humming with a badly needed new identity in just more than a week.
Since Dec. 11, Preller has worked a five-player deal with the division rival Los Angeles Dodgers to get Kemp; an 11-player deal with Tampa Bay and Washington to get outfielder Wil Myers, the 2013 AL rookie of the year with the Rays; a six-player deal with Atlanta for slugger Justin Upton; a four-player trade with Oakland that landed all-star catcher Derek Norris; and a straight-up trade with Boston to get third baseman Will Middlebrooks for catcher Ryan Hanigan, who came over from Tampa Bay.
Preller's wheeling and dealing isn't over yet, since he has a surplus of outfielders.
It's a stunning haul for a team that has had only two winning seasons since its last playoff appearance, in 2006.
Preller said acquiring Kemp kicked-started the process, and the other deals started falling into place.
In contrast to San Diego's win-now approach, the Braves are in rebuilding mode after failing to make the playoffs last season and are aiming toward the opening of their new suburban stadium in 2017. With the trade of Upton, new general manager John Hart has dealt two of the top hitters from a lineup that already had trouble scoring runs. He first traded Jason Heyward to the Cardinals.
Looking for rotation help at a relatively low price, the New York Yankees acquired righthander Nathan Eovaldi, outfielder Garrett Jones, and minor-league pitcher Domingo German from the Miami Marlins for versatile Martin Prado and righty David Phelps.
A righthander who turns 25 in February, Eovaldi was obtained by the Marlins in July 2012 as part of the deal that sent all-star shortstop Hanley Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He throws at up to 98 m.p.h. and was 6-14 with a 4.37 ERA in 1992/3 innings last season.
"He's got a good arm and he's young," said Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, who thought he needed more health and depth in his rotation. "We are getting younger."
The Yankees also acquired righthander Gonzalez Germen from the Mets for cash in the first trade in a decade between the New York rivals. The 27-year-old had a 4.75 ERA in 25 relief appearances this year with the Mets.
The San Francisco Giants are keeping a key member of their World Series rotation, bringing back Jake Peavy.