The Boston Red Sox and the San Diego Padres have agreed to trade Craig Kimbrel. The former Padres star pitcher's arrival to Boston has come at the expense of the Red Sox' four minor prospects including infielders Carlos Asuaje and Javier Guerra, lefthander Logan Allen, and outfielder Manuel Margot.
This trade marks the first major move of new Red Sox general manager Mike Hazen, under the authority of Dave Dombrowski, who has also recently assumed the President of Baseball Operations position.
Boston's trade is intended to shore up the team's bullpen with one of the elite relief pitchers in the MLB over the past five years. The 27-year-old Kimbrel saved 39 games for San Diego this season. He spent the first five seasons of his career with the Atlanta Braves before being traded to the Padres right before the 2015 regular season in exchange for Cameron Maybin and Matt Wisler, among others.
Upon joining the Red Sox, the $25 million remaining on his contract with the Padres will be assumed by his new team. Boston, in turn, will have the relief pitcher under control until 2017.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, who was the first to report about the swap, mentioned that Dombrowski became Kimbrel's fan after repeatedly seeing him during his spring training. Moreover, the pitcher also has ties with Frank Wren, who served as his general manager while in Atlanta. Wren is now the Red Sox' senior vice president of baseball operations.
Meanwhile, it appears that Boston had given up significant talent in order to acquire Kimbrel. Outfielder Manuel Margot was rated as the top 25 prospect in baseball by MLB.com. The website considered infielder Carlos Asuaje and left-hander starter Loga Allen among the top 30 Red Sox prospects. Shortstop Javier Guerra is also ranked at No. 76.
Kimbrel's arrival move fellow pitcher Koji Uehara closer to the eighth inning and Junichi Tazawa to the seventh. MassLive observed that the team's bullpen lineup would be a huge improvement over what they had last season.
This is the second trade that San Diego Padres general manager A.J. Preller have made this offseason. Last week, he moved pitcher Joaquin Benoit to the Seattle Mariners.
"I think when you're trading a player of Craig's caliber I think we knew we needed quality and quantity. So I want to say all four guys are important to us. To really get to a championship level, you've got to have depth, you've got to have numbers and you've got to be strong up the middle," Preller answered when asked about Kimbrel's trade.