New York Yankees
First on the list of possible suitors for Craig Kimbrel has to be the New York Yankees. Of all the teams who expressed interest in the closer during the lead up to the 2015 trade deadline, the Yankees seemed to have gotten the closest to actually pulling off the deal. According to several reports, Brian Cashman and the Yankees were willing to part with top shortstop prospect Jorge Mateo and take on the contract of Jedd Gyorko to acquire Kimbrel. If the reports are to be believed, AJ Preller balked at the offer and decided to keep Kimbrel at least for the time being.
Despite one of the strongest back ends of the bullpen in all of baseball, the Yankees would still seemingly be interested in acquiring Kimbrel if the price is right. If the Padres and AJ Preller are wise, they will revisit the talks involving Mateo and Jedd Gyorko, perhaps with the Yankees including more prospects to make a deal more logical. For the Padres the chance to unload two large contracts and restock the farm system may be too much to pass up.
Behind the Yankees, the Astros also reportedly got very close to a deal with the Padres for Craig Kimbrel. Houston reportedly offered a package of pitchers — Francis Martes, Josh Hader and Joe Musgrove. The Astros ultimately balked at the prospect cost, and the deal died on the trading table.
In hindsight, with the bullpen implosion costing them their first round series against the Kansas City Royals, Houston probably should have jumped at the chance to acquire one of the top two or three relief pitchers in all of baseball. While this trade was deemed too much at the time for the Astros, it, or something similar to it, may be revised this offseason if the Padres do choose to once again use Craig Kimbrel as trade bait. As the Astros are a young team with a farm system oozing with talent, the Padres may have a perfect trade partner.