It is being reported that Kirby Yates had his prospective salary cut by nearly 40% due to a pair of concerning medicals. The Blue Jays opted to gamble on the veteran closer inking the 33 year old to a one-year $5.5 million dollar pact near the end of January.
Two spring training appearances later and the reliever is reportedly headed for his second Tommy John surgery. According to Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic, the Atlanta Braves backed out of their $9 million dollar guaranteed offer while the Blue Jays reduced their original offer by three million.
Yates was arguably the most dominant closer in all of baseball in 2019 posting a 1.19 earned run average in 60 appearances for the Padres. This convinced the brain trust that the potential reward outweighed the risk as they forged ahead with the $5.5 million dollar signing while others pulled the chute.
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The unfortunate injury comes at a terrible time for the Blue Jays who have been stung by the injury bug of late. Pitchers Nate Pearson, Thomas Hatch and Robbie Ray are all dealing with their own respective ailments and are in jeopardy of not being healthy for Opening Day. This also comes on the heels of outfielder George Springer dealing with a Grade 2 oblique strain.
It would appear the manager Charlie Montoyo will now employ a closer by committee this season with the likes of Rafael Dolis and Jordan Romano being the first line of defence late in games. Romano might even have a leg up on the veteran as he has fanned 12 hitters in just five innings of work this spring.
The Yates injury is unfortunate but the cost of doing business when you are shopping in the “reclamation project” aisle of the free agent superstore. I won’t dare mention what available closer still remains unsigned and available.