No details in yet, but this could be really, really big. Read more here.
Update: The deal is official: All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel is going to the Boston Red Sox.
And now, for the Padres’ return:
The Padres raided the Red Sox farm system, acquiring four of their top 30 prospects.
Manuel Margot, 21, is a young center fielder who split last season between A and AA in the Red Sox system. He stole 39 bases and had 42 extra-base hits. Here is how a scouting report summarized his upside:
“Future first-division regular who could contribute in all areas of the game. Potential leadoff hitter who could hit for average and some power, steal bases and provide above average defense at a premium defensive position. Strong instincts, has really taken to professional baseball since he entered the system and adjusted to each challenge given to him seamlessly.”
Javier Guerra, 19, is a left-handed hitting shortstop who hit 15 home runs, and according to scouting reports he has an “Advanced defensive skill set.”
Carlos Asuaje, 23, is a left-handed hitting third baseman. He spent 2015 playing for AA Portland in the Red Sox system. He profiles as a utility player, according to scouting reports.
Logan, Allen, 18, was drafted in the 8th round by the Red Sox earlier this year. In 24.1 innings pitched (Rookie and Low-A), he struck out 26 (against just one walk), and had a 0.78 WHIP.
This deal is just what GM A.J. Preller needed to do: he loosened his team of unneeded luxuries (read: elite relief pitchers Joaquin Benoit and Craig Kimbrel) and salary (nearly $20 million between them for 2016) to fill other more pressing needs: starting pitching, first base, left field, and shortstop.
Between this and yesterday’s trade of Benoit, they have also re-stocked their minor leagues with fresh talent. If past is prologue, Padre fans should expect to hear more exciting news during the Hot Stove League.
An elite closer, Kimbrel is someone the Padres cannot afford to have right now. Furthermore, they have a history of taking previously unknown pitchers (Heath Bell, Luke Gregerson, Dale Thayer, Scott Linebrink, etc.) and getting great mileage out of them.
Best-case scenario: Kimbrel had something of an “off” year: for the first time in his career, his ERA was over 2, and his WHIP over 1. If he continues to decline, and at least two of the prospects (most likely Guerra and Allen) shine, this has the potential to be a huge steal.
Even if Kimbrel doesn’t falter, the Padres have still freed themselves of his hefty contract. As with all deals for prospects, it will take a few years to evaluate how things will shake out. But just imagine: the Padres 2018 starting lineup could include Manuel Margo leading off and playing centerfield, Javier Guerra as the slick-fielding starting shortstop, and left-handed Logan Allen in the starting rotation.
Looks like Preller’s second off-season could be just as exciting as the first!
Update: For once, the Padres make a trade that has the potential to be a huge steal. This is according to ESPN’s Keith Law weighs in: “If you’re a Boston Red Sox fan, this is exactly the trade you feared Dave Dombrowski would make when he joined the front office, trading away the jewels of the majors’ best farm system for veterans who are or may be past their peak values. Craig Kimbrel has been one of the best relievers in baseball history, but this is a big overpay for 60 innings of his services a year when he already seems to be starting to decline.”
My thoughts exactly. This is why I was skeptical when the Padres traded for him in April, and why I am excited now. In baseball, the closer position is far and away the most overrated. So if the Red Sox want to give away four highly touted prospects for a guy who pitches 60 innings a season (usually just one inning at a time), that’s fine by me.
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