March 8, 2021

The Blue Jays Take a Chance on Kirby Yates (FanGraphs)

A day after signing Tyler Chatwood to solidify their options out of the bullpen, the Toronto Blue Jays made a much bigger splash by signing Kirby Yates to a one-year contract worth $5.5 million and an additional $4.5 million in potential performance bonuses. Yates’ addition may have been overshadowed just a few hours later by the massive contract Toronto signed with George Springer, but adding Yates to the bullpen has the potential to make a significant upgrade to a team weakness. Between 2018 and 2019, Yates was the best reliever in baseball. He posted a 1.67 ERA backed by a 1.93 FIP. He was the only qualified reliever during that two-year span to have a FIP below two, he accumulated a league-leading 5.2 wins, and racked up 53 saves as the Padres’ closer.

Unfortunately, bone chips in his right elbow limited him to six appearances and just 4 1/3 innings in 2020. The uncertainty surrounding his health paired with his advanced age — he’ll turn 34 in March — explains why his deal seems like a bargain for a pitcher who was just recently one of the game’s premiere relievers. His $5.5 million guarantee falls short of the $8 million average annual value our readers…

Read “The Blue Jays Take a Chance on Kirby Yates” at FanGraphs