Boston Red Sox: Trade for Craig Kimbrel Needed to Happen


On Friday, the Boston Red Sox made a blockbuster deal with the San Diego Padres, acquiring four-time All Star Craig Kimbrel for a package of minor league players.

Kimbrel spent one year in San Diego posting 39 saves for the Padres, before that he spent five years with the Atlanta Braves establishing himself as one of the more elite closers in the league. Kimbrel now moves to Boston as he looks to provide some stability to a bullpen that was in shambles for the majority of the year.

Before we talk about the package that it took to get Kimbrel, lets talk about the player himself and how he will be able to impact the Red Sox in 2016. Ideally the bullpen will center around 3 guys, Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara and now Kimbrel. So essentially for your starting pitching staff you need them to get through 6 innings of work and then hand it to those three guys and it should be lights out from there.

Tazawa really impressed me this past season stepping up when Uehara was placed on the DL, he actually provided some stability for a bullpen that I mentioned was in shambles. I believe he’ll continue to make strides in 2016 establishing himself as an above-average bullpen arm that could provide more stability especially if we see Uehara or Kimbrel go on the DL for an extended period of time.

Speaking of Uehara he had a tough stretch in 2015 between injuries and inconsistency. Part of me wants to believe that the injury contributed to the inconsistency that we saw from him, but you also have to remember he is over 40 years old so you have to wonder how much he has left in the tank.

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I think early on we’ll have a good gauge into how effective Uehara is and what his role will be as the season progresses. Could we see Uehara take a step back and have a guy like Tarawa (or someone else) step up? Only time will tell.

Let’s talk a little about Craig Kimbrel, the guys is obviously a stud and was the talk of a number of teams this past July as the trade deadline approached. I see him stepping in right into the closer role and providing that confidence for John Farrell and the rest of the team. Once the ninth inning rolls around, it is lights out.

Starting pitching is still their number one need this off season but bolstering up the bullpen was on the list of moves needed to be made. I love the addition of Kimbrel even at the expense of moving some of our best prospects.

Now getting to the prospects given up, outfielder Manuel Margot, infielders Javier GuerraCarlos Asuaje, and left-hander Logan Allen. From what I’ve read, the two guys to take most notice of are Margot and Guerra. Both Asuaje and Allen were solid top 30 prospects in a loaded Red Sox’s minor league system, but Margot and Guerra are the players of note here.

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Margot was one of the best Sox prospects they had in their farm system, the only downside was that he was another outfielder. Right now, the outfield situation is full at Fenway with no real forecast to change.

Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley and Rusney Castillo are looking to lock down the Fenway outfield for years to come and that essentially leaves Margot on the outside looking in. It was a painful decision to move him but ultimately I believe it was the right one.

Javier Guerra is a similar situation compared to Margot. He has a smooth swing that is almost MLB ready but the problem is he his a shortstop and that position is currently occupied by one Xander Bogaerts. Bogaerts has been a stud and he proved it last year and I’m glad that the Red Sox management has finally recognized that (along with the fact that he is not a third basemen).

Going back to Guerra, another case of another guy already occupying the position, it sucks because again all things I’ve read say he is another stud in the making but when you already have a Silver Slugger at that position there’s not much more you can do.

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I believe that this trade for Craig Kimbrel was a great move by Dave Dombrowski, as I said earlier the Sox bullpen was another concern entering the offseason. The addition of Kimbrel definitely helps that situation and provides the comfort for John Farrell that the 9th inning is lights out.

As far as future moves, I think it’s pretty obvious that a legit top of the rotation guy is needed and no doubt Dombrowski is working on that as we speak. It’s not a question of if, but a matter of when.