Unsurprisingly, there's been a mixed reaction across baseball to the Red Sox' trade for Craig Kimbrel in exchange for minor league prospects.
Some evaluators -- ESPN's Keith Law among them -- think the Red Sox surrendered too much in outfielder Manuel Margot and shortstop Javier Guerra, especially to obtain someone who may only impact 60 or so innings in a season.
And while some have noted that the Sox traded from a position of strength -- the Sox seem set at center and short with Xander Bogaerts under control for at least four more seasons and Mookie Betts for at least five more years -- Law and others argued that the Sox would have wiser to utilize Margot and Guerra to land a starting pitcher rather than a closer.
Others, of course, have praised the deal and Dave Dombrowski's aggressiveness to fill an obvious need.
It will take several years to properly evaluate this deal. Indeed, Kimbrel may be gone from Boston before we know how good Margot, Guerra and others are in the big leagues.
Nevertheless, we surveyed a handful of scouts, executives and talent evlautors for their takes.
NL SCOUT: "I like Margot and Guerra. [They're] middle-of-the-diamond kids with upside, (but) I doubt either becomes Betts or Bogaerts. [Infielder Carlos] Asuaje is an up-and-down utility player for me - at best. Didn't see the young lefty [Logan Allen]. The Red Sox are getting an elite closer for three years. If they add a front-end starter, look out.
"Prospects are nice, but in that market, give me Brady as QB over [Marcus] Mariota.''
NL TALENT EVALUATOR: "They gave up what it takes to win. I thought they did well not giving the top prospects away. But I do love Guerra. With Margot, bet on the come.
''I see Margot as a (Doug) Glanville type and Guerra reminds me of [Didi] Gregorius. Asuaje is a fungible depth infielder. I don't know Allen. Keith Law is too locked in to prospect values. These kids [the Red Sox] gave up are not top echelon, as some thing. Guerra is the best of the lot for me. What I like is that they avoided giving up [Rafael] Devers, [Yoan] Moncada, [Anderson] Espinoza, etc.''
AL SCOUT: "They gave up a lot, but they also have a lot [remaining in their system]. Margo and Guerra are going to be solid regulars. I see Guerra as a [San Francisco Giants shortstop] Brandon Crawford-type, though he does not look like him. Margot is A.J. Pollock with less power. Asuaje is a nice sleeper, too. Never saw [Allen].
AL TALENT EVALUATOR: "I don't see where they gave up much. Margot is still a ways away (from contributing at the big league level and Asuaje isn't a prospect. But the thing to remember is [elite] closers are quite valuable and the Red Sox
got one. And you have to take into account that [Koji] Uehara and [Junichi] Tazawa move down a slot, which will should be good for the whole bullpen.''
AL EXECUTIVE: "I haven't seen much of the prospects, but has anyone figured out what the hell San Diego is doing? One year, adding; next year, cutting. No plan. But for the Padres to trade they must really like those kids. None is really that close to the major leagues [Margot is 20 and has a half-season at Double A; Guerra is 19 and has yet to play above Single A].
"There's a lot of projection there -- higher risk, and a higher chance of being wrong. Time will tell, but it's clear Dombrowski isn't afraid to trade the young ones.''
NL EXECUTIVE: "It's a great get with to Kimbrel, but huge return for a reliever despite the fact that he will help them. Problem with the Red Sox -- and it's a good problem to have, but it can make it tough to make trares - is that they have so many high end prospects that their #5-8 prospects are as good as most teams' No. 1. So it seems like a huge return to the rest of the industry but it's hard hard to make trades for elite players when you start to go outside of your Top 10
"So yes, it's a lot. But knowing how hard it is for them to make trades, I think it makes sense. If they're philosophically willing to give up a lot for an elite closer, then that's the price they'd have to pay.
"The counter argument is that they once signed Koji to a modest free agent deal and he became an elite closer, so you can find [closers] in different ways, but with less certainty.''
MAJOR LEAGUE EXECUTIVE: "I certainly thought [they gave up too much] but it's a different paradigm. Either you're looking long term [rebuild], balancing short- and long-term, or you are locked in on the short term. [Dombrowski] is all about the short term and this trade made sense from that perspective. But if you do too many of the deals, you wake up in a few years like the Phillies...or the Tigers."
For those who believe that Dombrowski sacrificed too much from the system, they can comfort themselves with the notion that Dombrowski himself said he didn't expect to make another major trade this winter.
Thus, it would seem, the rest of the farm system is safe for now.