The San Diego Padres seem very interested in trading closer Craig Kimbrel away before 4pm ET today. According to multiple reports, San Diego worked on a deal to send Kimbrel to the New York Yankees overnight, although nothing has been consummated as of right now. Word is the Yankees are trying to assume all or most of Kimbrel’s remaining salary in favor of limiting the the prospects hit on their farm.
Now, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the Boston Red Sox could have interest in the 27-year old All-Star.
No further details have been offered as the report is fairly fresh, but it seems to me that the Padres could be trying to start a bidding war for Kimbrel in order to have one of the two overpay. The Yankees, who are currently in a playoff race, would be the team to try harder to acquire his services, especially after Andrew Miller lost a game against the Rangers last night, making it clear that on some nights, some other sort of assurance wouldn’t hurt. Kimbrel, in addition to Dellin Betances and Miller himself, could make for a very formidable bullpen that’s already considered one of the best in the league.
Per reports, prospect Jorge Mateo seems to be the player the Padres are looking to get back in return for Kimbrel, although the Yankees have considered the 19-year old untouchable for quite some time now. Mateo, who signed with the Yankees out of the Dominican Republic in 2011, has a career .278/.360/.408 slash line across four seasons; two in the Dominican Summer League, one in the Gulf Coast rookie league and in 2015 in Class-A Charleston. If the Yankees agree to part ways with Mateo, a deal for Kimbrel could come to fruition before the end of the trade deadline this afternoon.
Kimbrel, on his end, has been arguably the best closer in the league for the better part of the last 5 seasons, leading the National League in saves from 2011 through last season, appearing in the All-Star game four times and taking home the Rookie of the Year Award honors in 2011. He also received top-10 Cy Young Award votes during that stretch, and finished eighth in the MVP race in ’12. Right before this season, Kimbrel was traded, along with Melvin Upton, to the Padres for four players. He has a 2.68 ERA with 30 saves for San Diego so far this season.