Red Sox Acquire Closer Craig Kimbrel
(Associated Press) - New Boston Red Sox boss Dave Dombrowski on Friday night
made his first big move to rebuild the franchise after its third
last-place finish in four years, acquiring four-time All-Star
closer Craig Kimbrel from the San Diego Padres for four prospects.
Kimbrel, who saved 39 games for the Padres this season, spent the
first five years of his career with the Atlanta Braves before they
traded him to San Diego on the eve of the 2015 regular season. The
Red Sox assumed $25 million remaining on Kimbrel's contract but
have him under control for up to three more seasons.
''Moving to the American League, I'm excited,'' Kimbrel said during
a conference call. ''It's a league that has the big bats. And being
a pitcher, you want a challenge of facing the big bats.''
The Padres receive outfielder Manuel Margot, infielders Javier
Guerra and Carlos Asuaje, and left-hander Logan Allen. Only Asuaje
and Margot made it as high as Double-A last season.
''We didn't give anything up at the major league level to affect
our club this year,'' Dombrowski said. ''It's good talent. Some of
it's a while away.''
Kimbrel, 27, went 4-2 with a 2.58 ERA in 61 appearances last
season, 43 of them save opportunities, and he struck out 87 in 59
1-3 innings. Since the start of his first full season in 2011, he
leads major league relievers with 224 saves and ranks second among
them with a 1.70 ERA and 523 strikeouts.
He recorded his 200th save in his 318th game, the fastest in major
''There are various names out there, but (he's) one of the best in
baseball,'' Dombrowski said. ''We look for him to be our guy back
there for years to come.''
San Diego finished fourth in the NL West last season despite a
roster makeover by general manager A.J. Preller. He said trading
Kimbrel for young - and inexpensive - players gives him the payroll
flexibility that could allow the Padres to get back into the free
It also will give them depth.
''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,'' Preller said. ''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.''
With the acquisition of Kimbrel, Boston will move Koji Uehara into
the eighth-inning role. Junichi Tazawa would handle the seventh.
Uehara emerged as the closer in Boston's 2013 World Series
championship run. But he started and ended last season on the
disabled list, finishing his year on Aug. 7 with a broken right
Dombrowski said manager John Farrell spoke to Uehara and the
pitcher was willing to do whatever the ballclub wanted.
''John Farrell thought he would be fine, knowing the type of
individual he is,'' Dombrowski said. ''He said he just wanted to
pitch in the World Series again.''
Asuaje, 24, spent 2015 with Double-A Portland, playing primarily
second base. He has batted .278 with a .364 on-base percentage and
a .440 slugging percentage in 312 career minor-league games.
Margot split the season between Single- and Double-A, hitting .276
with 27 doubles, nine triples, six home runs, 50 RBIs, and 73 runs.
Guerra, 20, was named the Red Sox Minor League Defensive Player of
the Year at Single-A Greenville.
Allen, 18, was an eighth-round draft pick who split time between
Boston's rookie-level affiliate and Single-A Lowell. He posed a
combined 1.11 ERA with 26 strikeouts and only one walk in eight
starts between the Gulf Coast League Red Sox and Lowell.