Padres restock farm system with Kimbrel trade

Outfielder Margot key to deal that brings in four Top 20 prospects

November 14th, 2015

A year ago, Padres general manager A.J. Preller made offseason waves by going all in with a series of moves to bring in big league talent for 2015. He's at it again, this time in reverse.

By sending All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel to the Red Sox for four prospects, Preller was able to do some serious farm-system restocking in one fell swoop. Yes, he had to give up one of the most consistent closers in the game in Kimbrel, but he brought in four Minor Leaguers who are now in the Padres' Top 20, while also clearing $11 million from the 2016 payroll and $24 million over the next two seasons by sending Kimbrel to Boston.

The key to the deal was undoubtedly outfielder Manuel Margot, who immediately becomes the Padres' top prospect. No. 25 on the overall Top 100, Margot is a terrific all-around athlete who reached Double-A in 2015 at age 20.

Though Margot scuffled a bit in the second half in the Eastern League, he still has a ton of upside and should be able to hit for average with some extra-base ability, in time. He doesn't strike out much and has more strength than one would think, given his 5-foot-11 frame. An ability to draw more walks will only make Margot a more complete hitter.

Margot's plus speed (a 65 on the 20-80 scouting scale) really stands out on both sides of the ball. He stole 39 bases in 2015, giving him 132 steals in 342 career games since he signed for $800,000 out of the Dominican Republic in July 2011. Margot's wheels give him plenty of range in center field, where he will undoubtedly stay long-term.

Shortstop Javier Guerra becomes San Diego's No. 3 prospect. Signed a year after Margot out of Panama, the infielder -- ranked No. 76 on the Top 100 -- made his full-season debut in 2015 and was a South Atlantic League All-Star.

While there were initial concerns about Guerra's ability to stay at short because of a lack of speed, he's showing he has the tools and instincts to stick at the premium position. He has terrific hands, a strong arm and is more agile than expected.

What's really surprised some is how much Guerra's bat has come around. Playing all year at age 19, he hit 15 home runs in 2015 and it looks as if that power is legit. Like with many young hitters, Guerra needs to refine his approach to continue his success.

Left-hander Logan Allen becomes the first player traded under the "Trea Turner rule." Last year, Turner became the very widely known player to be named in Preller's deal with the Nationals and Rays last winter, but he had to stay with the Padres until midseason since draftees weren't allowed to be dealt until a year following the Draft. The rule was changed so that a draftee could be included in a deal after the conclusion of the World Series.

Allen, the Red Sox's eighth-round pick last June, who got $725,000 to sign out of IMG Academy, showed improved velocity during the spring of his senior season and has the potential to have four Major League average or better offerings to go along with a good feel for pitching.

Allen becomes San Diego's No. 18 prospect, while infielder Carlos Asuaje slots in at No. 19.

The 2013 draftee out of Nova Southeastern had a huge first full season in 2014, but he wasn't quite as effective with the bat when he moved to Double-A in 2015. Asuaje does have an incredibly advanced eye at the plate and controls the strike zone well while showing more pop than one would expect from a 5-foot-9 infielder.

While Asuaje has seen time at multiple positions, he was playing second base exclusively in the Arizona Fall League at the time of the trade, and was performing well there, hitting .316 over 14 games.

All of this might seem like a large haul for one reliever, even one as accomplished as Kimbrel. In many ways, it is. Preller got both quality and quantity while shedding payroll in this deal.

At the same time, however, this deal could make a lot of sense for the Red Sox, as well. Yes, giving up four prospects for a closer might seem like a steep price, but keep in mind that Boston boasts one of the deepest farm systems in baseball, cushioning the blow of a trade of this magnitude.

• Red Sox top prospects

Even the two Top 100 Prospects were, in some ways, expendable. The big league outfield is young and talented, with Mookie Betts, Rusney Castillo and Jackie Bradley Jr. not looking like they are going anywhere. Plus, 2015 first-round pick Andrew Benintendi gives the farm system another talented center fielder. Guerra also would eventually face a large roadblock in 23-year-old superstar-in-the-making Xander Bogaerts.