Will the Boston Red Sox fill one of their big needs with a blockbuster trade?
MLB.com’s Matt Kelly named the Red Sox as the “best fit” in a potential trade for San Diego Padres closer Kirby Yates on Thursday. Kelly believes the lack of elite relievers in the free-agent market might prompt teams to trade for the bullpen help they seek.
While the Padres aren’t shopping Yates publicly, here’s why Kelly thinks they might be open to dealing him.
“For starters, Yates is a year away from free agency,” Kelly wrote. “The Dodgers aren?t going away, and San Diego has a lot of ground to make up — 36 games, if one goes by this year’s standings — to match Los Angeles. There’s Padres stars on the rise like Fernando Tatis Jr. and MacKenzie Gore, but San Diego also has plenty of holes to fix in a heavily right-handed lineup. As hard as it would be to give up a closer like Yates, it’s an opportunity to add outside reinforcements and build around the youngsters. The Padres do have right-hander Andres Munoz, who averaged 99.9 mph on his fastball as a rookie, to help soften the blow.”
And here’s why Kelly believes Boston might want to trade for Yates.
“Red Sox co-closers Matt Barnes and Brandon Workman were good for stretches of 2019, but Boston clearly missed a back-of-the-bullpen anchor like Craig Kimbrel,” Kelly wrote. “Could the Padres be a club that takes on David Price’s contract via trade — especially if they miss out on Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg?”
San Diego’s pursuit of an ace in free agency probably will dictate its approach toward constructing the rest of its roster. If the Padres opt to trade Yates, however, they’ll almost certainly receive plenty of interest.
Yates led the National League with 41 saves in 2019 and was an All-Star for the first time in his career. Furthermore, his contract will pay him just $6.5 million next season.
The Red Sox have to be one of many teams who’d jump at the chance to land a player capable of producing at that high level for such a low price.