Manuel Margot was one of the prospects the Red Sox gave up to acquire Craig Kimbrel. (Elsa/Getty Images)
Dave Dombrowski‘s first big move as Red Sox president of baseball operations is complete.
On Friday the Red Sox made a deal with the Padres to acquire All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel and in exchange gave up four prospects — outfielder Manuel Margot, infielders Javier Guerra and Carlos Asuaje and left-handed pitcher Logan Allen.
The initial thought is the Red Sox gave up a lot for Kimbrel.
Our end of the year Red Sox minor league power rankings had Margot at No. 5 and Guerra No. 6, while Allen would have likely been in the No. 11-13 range. So, the Red Sox gave up three of their top 15 prospects and then another solid player in Asuaje for one player in Kimbrel.
A package involving what the Red Sox parted ways with may have been able to get a bigger return than just Kimbrel. Not only are Margot and Guerra high in the Red Sox organization, they are high in the prospect ranks in general. Margot is ranked the 25th-best prospect in baseball at MLB.com, while Guerra is No. 76.
Margot, 21, was one of two Red Sox players to represent the organization at the Futures Game where the best prospects in baseball played prior to the All-Star Game. The center fielder started the year in High-A Salem and was promoted midway through the season and finished with Double-A Portland. Between the two levels he hit .276 with six home runs and 50 RBIs to go along with 39 stolen bases.
Guerra, 20, may have made the most progress of any Red Sox prospect this season. The shortstop spent the entire year with Single-A Greenville where his offensive surprised almost everyone in the organization. Most known for his defense, Guerra batted .279 with 15 home runs and 68 RBIs. He was named the Red Sox Minor League Defensive Player of the Year.
“He’s a special player defensively,” his manager Darren Fenster said during the year. “I know people have referred to him as possibly the best defensive shortstop in all of minor league baseball and I have the pleasure of seeing him every night and I am right there along those same lines.”
Said Fenster: “[His offense] was outstanding. He was a huge part of what we were able to do as a team. He basically hit anywhere from five to seven in our lineup. That’s incredible production out of any spot in the lineup, yet alone the bottom half of the lineup. We didn’t have any player make more progress from an approach standpoint than Javier did over the course of the year.”
Allen was an eighth-round pick in the 2015 draft out of IMG Academy. He forgoed his scholarship to the University of South Carolina and signed with the Red Sox for fourth-round money. Allen appeared in seven games with the Gulf Coast Red Sox and one game with short-season Single-A Lowell and had a 1.11 ERA over 24 1/3 innings over the eight appearances.
The left-hander is only 18 years old, so it is hard to predict exactly what he will become, but he showed he has the talent to one day be a big league starter.
“You don’t ever like to give up young talent,” Dombrowski said on a conference call Friday night. “We think they’re very talented individuals. But I do think with the good job that the people in player-development, scouting, international operations have done, we do have some depth at those positions and we also have some other quality young players that we were asked about repeatedly.”
Dombrowski is right in the fact the Red Sox dealt away players who likely don’t have a long-term fit with the organization, specifically Margot and Guerra.
Margot, who will likely be major league ready in a year or two, has Rusney Castillo, Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. all ahead of him on the depth chart and by all accounts they aren’t going anywhere. And with Xander Bogaerts in a Red Sox uniform for years to come as well as Dustin Pedroia and also Yoan Moncada at second base, Guerra would have had a difficult path to the majors.
The Red Sox still have their top prospects in Moncada, Andrew Benintendi, Anderson Espinoza and Rafael Devers and it appears they will stay with the organization going into 2016.
“We’re in a spot where this is probably our major acquisition for the wintertime as far as the trade market is concerned,” Dombrowski said, while adding the team plans on acquiring a starting pitcher via free agency.
While the Red Sox were able to hang on to their most coveted prospects, it still seems like the organization could have got more for the prospects they traded than it did. But, when the team needs to improve the bullpen as badly as it did (4.24 ERA, 26th in baseball in 2015), and has the number of talented prospects as it does, it was a deal that could be made and not have a long-term negative effect on the organization.