May 8, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Diego Padres pitcher Craig Kimbrel against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. The Padres defeated the Diamondbacks 6-5. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
So by now you’ve probably heard that the Boston Red Sox completed a trade for now-former San Diego Padres elite closer Craig Kimbrel in exchange for prospects-with-names 1, 2, 3 and 4. Not only this site is aflame with the news, but indeed every baseball outlet has dedicated considerable space to its dissemination. It is, after all, the first big trade of the offseason, the first big trade of Red Sox President of Baseball Ops Dave Dombrowski’s tenure, the first big shedding of Boston’s youngsters in what seems like forever. It’s the end of the world as we know it.
More from Red Sox News
- Conflicting report about Mookie Betts trade paints Chaim Bloom in even worse light
- Boston Red Sox setting Trevor Story up for failure amidst Xander Bogaert departure
- Red Sox missed perfect free-agent signing to torment Yankees
- Red Sox finally get validation after Andrew Benintendi-White Sox contract
- Red Sox fans’ concern about Justin Turner signing speaks volumes
And I feel fine. Honestly I do, I’ve had plenty of time, be it by day or by sleepless night, to look at this trade and ponder the ramifications of coughing up a Manuel Margot or Javier Guerra for a 60-inning a year pitcher. Even if I knew where to buy torches and pitchforks these days (perhaps Bobby Valentine knows?) the chances of my using them to go headhunting for Dombrowski’s scalp are about as high as the Padres making me their next closer.
That’s not to say I don’t understand where the dissenters are coming from. Boston’s prospects are prized on an almost historic level. If the Red Sox suck now, well, there’s always the illusive zephyr of hope looming in minors that is unable, at least at present, to offer any disappointment. After two straight years of last place in AL East, it’s unsurprising that attention turns to the one thing in Boston that always tops the pile: the farm system.
But really, what is the farm? Does it make Hanley Ramirez’s helmet stay on as he takes a hulking, lunging K with the bases loaded? Does it give us reason to not panic when the bullpen is called upon with a lead less than 4 runs? It’s only potential after all. Potential is that word you may remember from school a lot. If there’s little positive to say about someone, the teacher usually resorts to the tried and trusted “well, they have a lot of potential.” A lot of potential, but not a lot of results.
Saying the same about the Red Sox prospects included in this deal or any other may be a little unfair, but the point stands. Either which way, I want to examine a few issues of the deal, attack a few red herrings and perhaps a few strawmen en route, and put forward why I believe that at least the acquisition of Kimbrel isn’t something to start panicking about. Perhaps even the contrary.
Next: Open season for the prospects