According to Scott Mitchell of TSN, the Toronto Blue Jays are reportedly on the verge of landing free agent reliever Kirby Yates. Yates is expected to at the spring training facility today in Dunedin for what sounds like more than a courtesy tour.
Jon Heyman of the MLB Network also tweeted that the two sides are working toward an agreement but nothing has been finalized. Heyman opined that it looks good for them to get the star reliever.
If in fact, Yates is in Dunedin for a physical, he would be the second pitcher the Blue Jays have signed in as many days. The 33-year old may just six relief appearances in 2020 before requiring surgery on his right elbow to remove bone chips. Yates tossed just 4.1 innings surrendering six earned runs in limited work prior to the injury.
In 2019, Yates was arguably the best reliever in the majors producing an impressive 1.19 earned run average with 41 saves, a 15.0 SO/9 rate and a 3.0 WAR in 60 appearances. The hurler was a National League All-Star and finished ninth in Cy Young voting that season.
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Yates has spent time with the Rays, Yankees, Angels and Padres throughout his seven-year MLB career posting a respectable 3.54 earned run average with 57 saves in 291 games.
Last season, Yates earned $7.062 million in his final season with the Padres before hitting the open market. I would assume Yates will receive something similar to the Tyler Chatwood contract where there is a base amount laden with incentives due to his recent elbow issues. The Blue Jays signed Chatwood to a $3 million base salary with another $2.5 million in possible incentives.
Yates would be a worthy investment and definitely someone worth taking a chance on in 2021. If he can replicate anything close to his 2019 numbers, he will be a worthy asset out of the bullpen.
The Blue Jays currently don’t have a set closer with Ken Giles hitting free agency and without Yates in the picture they are currently leaning toward Rafael Dolis and Jordan Romano to close out ball games. Toronto has been rumoured to also have interested in free agents Brad Hand and Alex Colome but that could change if they ink Yates.
We will continue to follow this one closely as information trickles in but a nice score for the Blue Jays if Yates signs does in fact sign on the dotted line.