Padres Restock Farm

The San Diego Padres traded Craig Kimbrel, the target of a blockbuster trade just before last year with the Atlanta Braves in which they gave up their top pitching prospect, a draft pick and took on $32 million dollars worth of salary on the underperforming Melvin Upton, Jr., to the Boston Red Sox for four top prospects.

While there were quite a few debates about how much they gave up and took on to get a pitcher that was going to throw around sixty innings (“the proven closer” argument), if you discount the money of the Upton deal, San Diego seems to have gotten more back than what they gave up.

The Red Sox gave up centerfielder Manuel Margot and shortstop Javier Guerra, LHP Logan Allen and second baseman Carlos Asuaje - all of whom should be among the Red Sox Top 30 prospects; and Margot and Guerra are among the better prospects in all of baseball.

As opposed to the deal for Huston Street two years ago where the Padres got back top prospects in Angels’ system, Boston has one of the best in baseball. A.J. Preller should be given credit that the Red Sox ticked off a number of boxes that made them an ideal trading partner besides having a deep and talented system.

A lot of young talent that is already in the majors, particularly in the outfield (Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Rusney Castillo) and SS Xander Bogaerts. Thus, the talent behind them is blocked.

A big market club that doesn’t need a trading partner to take back salary, or the Padres didn’t have to take on the contracts of Hanley Ramirez or Pablo Sandoval.

Finally, and most importantly, a new head of baseball operations in Dave Dombrowski, who sees his mission is to “win now” and isn’t as attached to the prospects as Ben Cherrington, the Red Sox former general manager, who signed and developed them.

Breakdown This is a winner for the Padres on multiple levels. First, they saved $18.5 million dollars worth of salary in 2016 between Kimbrel and Joacquin Benoit, who they traded the other day to Seattle. This gives Preller some salary flexibility, where he had none going into the off-season.

Two, this trade significantly improves the Padres’ system and should move it from the bottom third of baseball to solidly in the middle. Margot, should begin the year as they everyday centerfielder in Double-A San Antonio. In Double-A Portland he hit .271/.326/.419 in 64 games to go along with 19 stolen bases.

The left-handed hitting Guerra, who hit .279/.329/.449 in Low-A Greenville should go to High-A Lake Elsinore where the Padres will have three quality candidates in him, Ruddy Giron and Luis Urias to man second base or shortstop.

Asuaje, a five-foot-nine left-handed hitting second baseman has some pop and should compete for a spot at either Double-A San Antonio or Triple-A El Paso. The Padres will now have quite a few candidates competing for time at the upper levels between second and third base.

The last piece, and one of the more interesting, is LHP Logan Allen, and eighth round pick by the Red Sox last year out of IMG Academy. Only 18, he showed some talent in the Red Sox complex leagues with 24 strikeouts against only a single walk in 20 innings for 0.90 ERA. According to Jonathan Mayo of he has four plus offerings and should fit in well with a loaded Fort Wayne TinCaps’ staff.

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