It looks like the Blue Jays are adding to their bullpen again.
After inking Tyler Chatwood to a buy-low deal on Monday, reports have come out Tuesday morning that closer Kirby Yates is visiting the Blue Jays’ complex in Dunedin and the two sides are close on a deal.
Kirby Yates is close to a Blue Jays deal
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 19, 2021
Free agent reliever Kirby Yates is firmly on #BlueJays radar, per source.
Yates, who had surgery on right elbow in August to remove bone chips, is expected to be in Dunedin today and I’m told he’s not just “visiting.”
— Scott Mitchell (@ScottyMitchTSN) January 19, 2021
Now, of course, as we saw with Liam Hendriks a few weeks ago, a player heading to the complex in Dunedin doesn’t mean a deal is inevitable, but there weren’t any reports last time that a deal was close.
Yates would be a really interesting add for the Blue Jays. He only pitched 4 1/3 innings in 2020 as his season came to an early end due to injury. But, in the two seasons before that, Yates was arguably the best relief pitcher in baseball.
Between 2018 and 2019 with the Padres, Yates tossed 123 2/3 innings and put up a sparkling 1.67 ERA with 13.9 strikeouts per nine and 2.2 walks per nine. His performance in 2019, a 1.19 ERA and a National League leading 41 saves, earned him some Cy Young votes.
We have no idea at this point what the dollars and cents would look like on a deal for Yates, but, given his injury, I would assume it’s quite a bit less than the mammoth deal that Hendriks inked with the White Sox, which would be a very good value addition for the Blue Jays.