Red Sox Acquire Craig Kimbrel from Padres 

Kimbrel_1280_5ei9asd5_2g77e75a By Maria Santora 11/19/15
The Red Sox opened their offseason trades by adding a closer. Boston acquired right-handed pitcher Craig Kimbrel from San Diego in exchange for four prospects.

The 27-year-old elite relief pitcher is arguably one of the best closers in the league.

Since the start of his career in 2011, Kimbrel has led the National League for four consecutive seasons in saves, compiling 225 saves and a 91 percent save-conversion rate.

In April of 2014, he got his 200th career save, having done so in 318 games, which is the fastest pace in Major League history. In August 2014, Kimbrel also became the third pitcher in Major League history to record 40 saves in four straight seasons. Among that list are Trevor Hoffman and Francisco Rodriguez.

Kimbrel has also posted a 1.70 ERA with 523 strikeouts in 327 2/3 innings. He reached his 400 career strikeouts in just 236 innings, which is also the fastest pace in Major League history.

This acquisition can restore the optimism in Beantown after having finished in last place in the AL East in three of the last four seasons.

Kimbrel is also optimistic about the change. “Moving to the American League, I’m excited. It’s a league that has the big bats. And being a pitcher, you want a challenge of facing the big bats,” he said in a press conference.

Kimbrel alongside Koji Uehara, the effective 40-year-old closer who ended his 2015 season early due to a broken hand, can help rebuild the Boston bullpen. Boston’s bullpen had the worst OPS percentage in the league in 2015 at .783 and the fifth worst ERA at 4.24.

Kimbrel is under contract for at least the next two seasons for a total of $24.5 million, earning $11 million in 2016 and $13 million in 2017.  In 2018, there is a club option for $13 million with a $1 million buyout.

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