Red Sox Acquire Padres Closer Craig Kimbrel for Four Minor Leaguers

Red Sox news release…

BOSTON, MA – The Boston Red Sox today acquired right-handed pitcher Craig Kimbrel from the San Diego Padres in exchange for four minor league players: outfielder Manuel Margot, infielders Javier Guerra and Carlos Asuaje, and left-handed pitcher Logan Allen.

Red Sox President of Baseball Operations David Dombrowski made the announcement.

A four-time National League All-Star, Kimbrel, 27, spent last season with the Padres where he went 4-2 with 39 saves and a 2.58 ERA (17 ER/59.1 IP) in 61 appearances. He fanned 87 batters for a 13.20 strikeouts per nine innings ratio, the third highest among all National League relievers (5th best in MLB), and the highest single-season mark in team history for a Padres reliever. Kimbrel, who began 2015 in the Atlanta Braves organization, was traded to the Padres as part of a six-player deal on April 5.

Since the start of his first full major league season in 2011, Kimbrel leads all big league relievers in saves (224), ranks second among them in ERA (1.70), strikeouts (523), strikeouts per nine innings (14.37), and save percentage (90.7), is third in WHIP (0.91) and opponent batting average (.160), and is fourth in hits allowed per nine innings (5.05).

In save situations, the right-hander has converted 225 in 248 opportunities, with his 90.7% conversion rate ranking second all-time in MLB history among relievers with at least 200 save chances. This past season, on June 8 against Atlanta, he recorded his 200th career save in his 318th career game, becoming the fastest player in MLB history to reach that plateau in terms of games. 

Kimbrel made his big league debut for Atlanta in 2010 and in 2011 was a unanimous selection for the NL Rookie of the Year Award, garnering all 32 first-place votes after going 4-3 with a league-leading 46 saves, a 2.10 ERA (18 ER/77.0 IP), and 127 strikeouts in 79 games. In 2012, Kimbrel posted a 16.65 strikeouts per nine innings rate (116 SO/62.2 IP), a modern major league record until it was bested by Cincinnati’s Aroldis Chapman in 2014 (17.67).

A native of Huntsville, AL, Kimbrel was originally a third-round selection (96th overall) of the Braves in the 2008 June Draft. For his major league career, he has gone 19-12 with 225 saves, a 1.63 ERA (63 ER/348.1 IP), and 563 strikeouts compared to 130 walks in 355 games for the Braves (2010-14) and Padres (2015). His 1.63 career ERA is the best ever by a reliever in major league history (minimum 250 games).

  • , 21, split his 2015 season between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland, combining to hit .276 (121-for-439) with 27 doubles, nine triples, six home runs, 50 RBI, and 73 runs scored in 110 games. He made 105 starts in center field and one in right field, recording three assists and a .984 fielding percentage. The right-handed batter ranked eighth in the Red Sox organization in batting average and second in stolen bases, swiping 39 bags in 52 attempts. Signed by the Red Sox as an international free agent on July 2, 2011, Margot has hit .282 (368-for-1,304) with 70 doubles, 23 triples, 23 home runs, and 132 stolen bases in 342 career minor league games.

  • , 20, was named the Red Sox Minor League Defensive Player of the Year after spending the entire 2015 season with Single-A Greenville. Signed by the Red Sox as an international free agent on July 2, 2012, he ranked second in the Red Sox organization with 15 home runs in 2015, also ranking third in RBI (68) and seventh in batting average (.279, 121-for-434). The left-handed batter was named the starting shortstop in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game, and during the season he was ranked by Baseball America the league’s Best Defensive Shortstop. In three professional seasons (2013-15), Guerra has hit .269 (227-for-845) with 46 doubles, seven triples, and 17 home runs in 227 games.

  • , 24, spent the entire 2015 season with Double-A Portland, earning an Eastern League mid-season All-Star selection in his debut with the Sea Dogs. The left-handed batter led Portland in games played (131), runs (60), hits (124), triples (7), RBI (61), walks (56), and total bases (185), also ranking second in doubles (23) and home runs (tied, 8). Asuaje played primarily second base, making 105 starts and posting a .973 fielding percentage at the position. Selected by the Red Sox in the 11th round of the 2013 June Draft out of Nova Southeastern University (FL), Asuaje has hit .278 (319-for-1,146) with a .364 on-base percentage and .440 slugging percentage in 312 career minor league games.

  • , 18, made his professional debut in 2015, combining to post a 1.11 ERA (3 ER/24.1 IP) with 26 strikeouts and only one walk in eight starts between the GCL Red Sox (seven starts) and Short-A Lowell (one start). The left-hander was named Red Sox Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month for August/September after posting a 0.84 ERA (2 ER/21.1 IP) in six starts. He started Game 1 of the GCL Finals against the Blue Jays’ affiliate, allowing two earned runs in 4.0 innings in a no-decision. Allen was selected by the Red Sox in the eighth round of the 2015 June Draft out of IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL.