I am sure you have heard by now that Boston GM Dave Dombrowski made his first trade to help right the ship in Boston after two consecutive last place finishes. His first order of business was to trade four prospects, two of which were Top 50 prospects at midseason, for Padres closer Craig Kimbrel. To get Kimbrel, one of the elite closers in the game, but still a closer who won't put up more than a 2.00 fWAR, Dombrowski gave up a haul, including:
Manual Margot, OF
Javier Guerra, SS
Logan Allen, P
Carlos Asuaje, 2B
I think the Padres did great in getting two Top 50 prospects in Margot and Guerra, plus two solid addition prospects in Allen and Asuaje, in return for Kimbrel. Padres GM A.J. Preller made some bold moves to build a winner in San Diego last offseason and that didn't work as planned. Preller gutted the Padres farm system while trying to build a winner. That backfired. But, now he is rebuilding their farm with this trade and the Joaquin Benoit trade to the Mariners a few days ago.
My initial reaction to the Padres return for Kimbrel?
The Dodgers have one of the several elite closers in the game, and are built to win now, but if I could get what the Padres got in return for Jansen, I would make that trade in a heartbeat. I think the Red Sox way overpaid for Kimbrel.
The argument that Margot and Guerra are blocked by Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts is true, but they could have traded either or both for a near ace or ace starting pitcher in my opinion. Why trade them both for a 60-65 inning closer? I get that they needed a closer, but the price was excessive.
Our prospect team already ranked their Top 10 fantasy prospects for 2016 for the Red Sox, and here is what they had to say about some of them:
#4 - Manuel Margot (OF)
Age on Opening Day 2016: 21
This is where the talent takes a slight drop, though Manuel Margot is still a Top 50 prospect. Margot is yet another toolsy international signing that has done nothing but produce since joining the system. On the surface he looks like a future leadoff hitter because of his high steal totals and the fact that he is more likely to hit 10-12 homers per season, but his less than impressive on-base skills may keep him away from the top of the order. Still, he only turned 21 in late-September and was playing against older competition in High A and AA, so it's possible that he improves on his ability to get on base and work counts. He's definitely worth owning in most formats after stealing 39 bases in 110 games this year.
Margot becomes the Padres #1 prospect and future center fielder. He is capable of hitting double digit home runs, hitting for a high average and stealing 30+ bases upon his call up, which probably won't happen until 2017.
ESPN's Keith Law ranked Margot as his #14 prospect in baseball at midseason, and had this to say about him in his write up last night:
He's a disciplined hitter who rarely strikes out and has the swing to hit for at least average power when he fills out physically, although his home park won't help him in the home run column. He has outstanding instincts on both sides of the ball, and I imagine it killed the longtime Sox employees who've watched him develop the past few years to see him go.
#6 - Javier Guerra (SS)
Age on Opening Day 2016: 20
This is not former big league closer Javy Guerra, but rather a young shortstop prospect who was a part of the best minor league infield in baseball for Greenville alongside Moncada and Devers. While he's not a huge power prospect, Guerra actually hit more homers (15) this season than promising slugger Devers and elite prospect Moncada, to go with his .279 batting average. Any shortstop that can put up numbers like that in Low A despite not turning 20 years old until after the season needs to be watched. Guerra is worth owning in AL only and deeper prospect AL/NL leagues.
Guerra was ranked as the #48 prospect in Law's midseason top 50, and Law thinks he can be one of the better shortstops in the game. Here is his thoughts on Guerra after the trade last night:
Shortstop Javier Guerra isn't far behind Margot, less polished right now but with enormous upside; he's a plus defender at shortstop with plus raw power and a good chance to hit for average, too. Guerra has soft hands and very easy actions at short, a natural at the position who should be a legitimate asset in the majors with his glove. He has great bat speed that generates a lot of power, and his contact rate kept improving as the season went on -- 29 percent in the first half, 19 percent in the second -- after I saw him having some timing issues in mid-June at Lakewood. He could truly be a monster of a player; a good defensive shortstop who even hits .280 with 20-25 homers is a possible MVP, although Guerra has yet to reach high-A and is probably two years out from the majors.
MVP candidate? Sign me up. Getting 15 home runs from your shortstop, which Guerra did in 2015 is solid. Getting 20-25 home runs once he matures….wow.
Asuaje is the worst prospect in the deal, but according to Padres beat writer Corey Brock, he could see time at second base in San Diego in 2016. Asuaje hit .251-.334-.374 with 8 home runs, 60 runs scored, 69 RBI and 9 stolen bases in 570 plate appearances in AA last season. The soon to be 25 year old isn't a top prospect, but has a chance to make a contribution at the big league level for a Padres team that needs help.
I never heard of Allen or Asuaje before this deal, but here are a few thoughts from Chaz Fiorino from SoxProspects.com on Allen:
Young, advanced, left-handed pitcher with strong pitcher's frame and three-pitch mix. Simple and repeatable delivery. Has present ability to throw strikes with fastball, curveball, change-up combination. Has the tools, body and polish coming into pro ball at a young age that player development will love to work with. Could lack put-away pitch at higher levels to miss bats, which could limit ceiling. Potential future middle-to-back end type starter.
I read one report on Allen last night where he was compared to former Red Sox ace Jon Lester, in build and his pitching motion. ESPN's Law thinks the Allen is the sleeper in this deal.
The question now is who closes in San Diego. The first pitcher who comes to mind is reliever Brandon Maurer, but there is some thought that he could move into the Padres rotation in 2016. With the trades of Kimbrel and Benoit, the Padres may seek a cheaper alternative via free agency or from within, so stay tuned because I am not sure the Padres 2016 closer is on their roster yet.
That and the fact that I don't think Preller is done making deals to retool the Padres roster.
Anytime a fantasy team can trade a closer for some prospects, you make that deal every day of the week and twice on Sunday, especially if you are in a rebuild. For a major league team to get this kind of haul, even for an elite closer, is stunning. Kimbrel did not automatically make a bad Padres team a winner, and he won't make the last place Red Sox team a winner either. Dombrowski still has some work to do to reshape the Red Sox into a playoff team after two last place finishes in the AL East.