If there is one area the Toronto Blue Jays needed to address, it was the high leverage innings in the bullpen and they did that with the addition of Kirby Yates.
For the past few years, the Blue Jays have found cheap dependable options in free agency but none have come with the track record that Yates does. Back in the 2019 season, Yates recorded 41 saves while posting a 1.19 ERA but struggled with injuries last season.
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Yates had bone chips removed from his elbow which obviously isn’t an ideal injury for a pitcher to try and come back from. However, if he is able to pass his physical, this could be a steal for the Blue Jays after losing Ken Giles who had Tommy John surgery back in October.
With the addition of Tyler Chatwood, the Blue Jays are making sure that the bullpen is prepared for a repeat of their strong showing last season. Yates and Chatwood will be joining Jordan Romano, Rafael Dolis and A.J. Cole as late-inning options.
The deal is set to be worth $5.5 million along with $4.5 million in performance bonuses for appearances and awards, according to Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet. That is some tidy business considering what other top relievers are getting with more term as well.
Where both the Blue Jays and Yates stand to benefit is that the reliever will be looking to earn a bigger deal and also make sure that he is maximizing on what he makes this season. This has usually been a road to success for the Blue Jays front office and hopefully, the trend can continue with Yates.
Going forward, there will certainly be more question marks about the rotation but it certainly will help if the bullpen can help take some of the tough work especially after the sixth inning.
What do you think about the Yates deal? What are your expectations for him this season? Let us know in the comments below.