Red Sox: Four Dave Dombrowski transactions Chaim Bloom must fix
Craig Kimbrel was acquired by the Red Sox from the San Diego Padres and was very good for the three seasons pitching in Fenway. The Kimbrel trade was bad was because of two reasons. One, the Red Sox had to give up four prospects, two elite. Plus, Kimbrel struggled in the postseason and in big spots.
Kimbrel averaged 101.6 strikeouts and above a 200 ERA+ in his 3 years in Boston. The Red Sox didn’t have a closer going into 2016 and it was necessary for them to trade for one. However, I have always been under the impression that the Red Sox overpaid for Kimbrel.
While none of the prospects have worked out to this point, I fully believe that the Red Sox could have gotten more bang for their buck. While Manuel Margot, Javier Guerra, Carlos Asuaje, and Logan Allen haven’t worked out, at the time the Red Sox could have utilized those prospects to add more than one reliever. Some would argue that in 2016 the Red Sox needed a closer and ultimately he helped lead them to the World Series in 2018.
However, if the Red Sox acquired a lesser relief pitcher with two of those prospects and traded for another, they could be in a better spot. The Red Sox lost Game 4 of the ALDS to the Houston Astros by one run. If someone other than Kimbrel pitched, the Red Sox could have forced a Game 5. Also, remember the 2018 postseason. When Kimbrel came into the game it was a nightmare, it felt like he gave up 3 runs every night. Kimbrel had a 5.90 ERA in that postseason and miraculously never got a loss.
Overall, Kimbrel had a very good run in Boston – he was the best reliever in 2017 – despite a shaky 2016 to go along with a horrific 2018 postseason. So, while Kimbrel had his moments he was ultimately unimportant in the run to the championship and holding onto those prospects, or possibly dealing them elsewhere, would have probably been a better move.
While this move is over and Chaim Bloom can’t fix anything, he can try to rebuild Boston’s farm system and avoid lopsided trades like this one.