Braves unlikely to really pursue Craig Kimbrel
The Red Sox biggest question right now is how hard they are going to pursue re-signing Craig Kimbrel. There are a few top relief options on the market, but Kimbrel is certainly the top option and obviously has the experience in Boston. They are at the very least expected to stick around his market to see how it develops. There is going to be plenty of competition, though. One of the top competitors was expected to be Atlanta, who won the NL East last year and should be able to keep charging forward in a division that should be competitive for the next few years. They were supposed to have money to spend to meet those goals, but their front office has said they aren’t going to spend too much money on bullpen help. Thus, according to Braves reported Mark Bowman, they are unlikely to sign Kimbrel. There are still plenty of teams who will show interest, but having one of the teams most assumed to be competitors on their market drop out so early can only be good for Boston.
There was a trade on Saturday, and while it certainly wasn’t a blockbuster it did exchange interesting players from a division rival and one of Boston’s top competitors in the American League. The deal sent shortstop Aledmys Diaz from Toronto to Houston in exchange for minor-league pitcher Trent Thornton. It’s the kind of quiet depth deal that makes sense for both teams and can pay off over a long season. For the Astros, they are almost certain to lose their best bench option in Marwin Gonzalez, so they needed some help on the infield. Diaz is a former Cardinals breakout who got off to a slower start last year but ended up finishing strong and putting together a solid overall year. With the emergence of Lourdes Gurriel the Blue Jays have Gurriel, Devon Travis, Troy Tulowitzki and Brandon Drury already on their major-league roster, so they could afford to move infield help. In exchange, the Blue Jays get an intriguing Triple-A pitcher who has yet to fully harness his stuff but could be a help as soon as 2019.
Keston Hiura named Arizona Fall League MVP
The Arizona Fall League wrapped up this weekend, marking the end of the season for the top prospect league that takes place every fall. The MVP was named on Sunday, and that honor went to Brewers infield prospect Keston Hirua. If that name sounds familiar to you as a Red Sox fan, it’s likely because there was some connection between him and Boston heading into the draft in 2017. He had injuries in college that had been causing his stock to fall, and there was some belief he might fall down to the Red Sox. Unfortunately, his stock wasn’t nearly as low as some believed, and he was selected by Milwaukee with the ninth overall pick that year. He’s blossomed into one of the game’s top young hitters, and he could be on the verge of majors this year.