Less than a year ago, the San Diego Padres acquired closer Craig Kimbrel from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for right handed pitcher Matt Wisler, their top prospect at the time. Now Kimbrel is on the move again, this time to the Boston Red Sox, with the Padres returning more than what they paid to acquire him.
In return for Kimbrel, who is under club control through 2018, the Padres acquire outfielder Manuel Margot, middle infielders Javier Guerra and Carlos Asuaji and left-handed pitcher Logan Allen.
Boston entered the offseason with a robust farm system, possessing both depth and potential star power. Margot (25) and Guerra (76) are both ranked among the top 100 prospects in the game by MLB Pipeline while that same publication ranks Asuaji and Allen 23rd and 25th among Boston’s top prospects.
Margot, a 2011 signee from the Dominican Republic, headlines the return for San Diego. The outfielder put together a .276/.324/.419 with 6 HR, 27 2B, 9 3B and 39 SB between low A South Atlantic League and the AA Eastern League.
Another international sign, Guerra (Panama) signed in 2012 for $250,000. A glove first shortstop, Guerra broke out at the plate in 2015, hitting 15 HR while slugging .449 for low A Greenville. He’ll fill the void in the San Diego system left by Trea Turner, who was traded to Washington last season.
Asuaji spent 2015 in AA with a slash line of .251/.334/.374 and Padres General Manager A.J. Preller has stated that he’ll have a chance to break camp as the team’s starting shortstop.
Allen, a 2015 draftee was selected in the 8th round and was signed away from his South Carolina commitment for an above slot bonus of $725,000. Allen dazzled in his professional debut, posting a 1.11 ERA while striking out 26 and walking just 1 in 24.1 innings.
Closer Koji Uehara was one of the few bright spots for the last place Red Sox last season, saving 25 games with an ERA of 2.23, while posting a 10.5 K/9 rate, but he will turn 41 before the 2016 season. Uehara will move to the 8th inning and shorten the game for a staff that has failed to produce starter who has logged 200 innings in each of the last two seasons.
Bottom Line: This trade is mutually beneficial on it’s face. The Red Sox used a surplus of minor league depth to fill a need with an elite closer who’s under control for 3 seasons, while the Padres flipped a player who pitches 60 innings a year for 4 legitimate prospects that will both jumpstart and provide sustainability to a rebuilding project. I’ll declare this one a draw, but gun to my head – I’d rather be on the Padres side of this deal.