Manuel Margot, Javier Guerra, Carlos Asuaje, and Logan Allen for Craig Kimbrel
Dombrowski hit the ground running with the acquisition of star closer Craig Kimbrel. Dealin’ Dave did what Dealin’ Dave does best, acquiring the best available player for a valuable package of prospects.
By 2015, Kimbrel had already been an All-Star four times, won NL Reliever of the Year, and had received MVP votes in three seasons. The Red Sox sent the Padres prized outfielder Manuel Margot, along with Javier Guerra, Carlos Asuaje, and Logan Allen.
Margot has played three full seasons in the majors and has a career OPS under .700. Guerra has given up on becoming an infielder and converted to a relief pitcher. Asuaje is a 28-year-old who spent all of 2019 in the minor leagues. Allen has turned out to be the most valuable piece. He is 22 years old and was ranked as the Indians No. 5 prospect last year, after being dealt in the Trevor Bauer/Yasiel Puig trade.
On the other hand, Kimbrel was an All-Star in all three years with Boston. Though his first All-Star nomination in 2016 may have been more due to his previous performance than his abilities at the time, he bounced back in a major way in 2017. He won AL Reliever of the Year with a 1.43 ERA and was a finalist again in 2018.
Though his performance during the Red Sox World Championship run was far from his typical standard, he was able to come through when he was needed most, converting all six of his save opportunities and closing out both the ALDS and ALCS.
Kimbrel was allowed to walk after the 2018 season, eventually signing with the Chicago Cubs. His absence was sorely felt in the bullpen. The Red Sox blew 48% of their save opportunities last season, leading to a disappointing third-place AL East finish.
Looking back, it seems that the Kimbrel deal was quite successful for the Red Sox, who were able to acquire an elite closer without losing any very valuable pieces.