One team that obviously placed themselves as sellers at the trade deadline that could be interested in Kimbrel is the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers traded away both Yoenis Cespedes and David Price at the trade deadline, getting a decent prospect haul in return to build for the immediate and long term future. It seems unlikely that the Tigers will be willing to enter into a rebuild with several aging players on their roster.
With this in mind, they may attempt to double down by acquiring a player of Craig Kimbrel’s caliber to fix what was one of the worst bullpens in all of baseball in 2015. The Tigers have a severely weakened farm system as it currently stands, although they may be willing to part with one or more of the prospects that they acquired at last year’s trade deadline to make this sort of trade happen. If the Tigers are serious about attempting to compete in 2016, this is a trade that they will certainly entertain.
At the trade deadline last year, the Nationals appeared to be the most likely landing spot for Kimbrel behind either the Yankees or the Astros. This was obviously before the Nationals acquired Jonathan Papelbon. For this reason the Nationals have fallen down this list as a less likely trade partner for the Padres with regards to Craig Kimbrel. For the Nationals, first on their priority list is getting rid of Jonathan Papelbon.
As it currently stands, the Nationals will not likely make any sort of move at Kimbrel until after they have figured out what is going to be done with Papelbon. The options right now include keeping him on the team (unlikely), outright cutting him (slightly more likely) or attempting to trade him to a willing team at a discounted price (more likely). In a possible scenario, the Padres could agree to take on the contract of Papelbon, to offset the cost of Kimbrel, and in effect “buy” several talented prospects to offset the cost of taking on Papelbon. Definitely a scenario to keep an eye on.