Kirby Yates is swapping the West Coast for Canada this offseason.
The 2020-21 MLB offseason has moved at a glacial pace, with many of the top free agents still unsigned. Only a select few teams, the Toronto Blue Jays among them, have shown any intention of improving their team by adding pieces during the winter months. Toronto struck once more, as they pulled one of the best relief pitchers in all of baseball in former San Diego Padres fireballer Kirby Yates off of the open market.
Ken Rosenthal is reporting that Yates has agreed to a deal with the Blue Jays, as he is looking to remind the baseball world that he is worthy of being called an elite closer after his production took a pretty substantial nosedive in 2020.
Kirby Yates was awful in 2020, but he was unhittable in the two prior seasons
After bouncing around the league as a garden variety middle reliever, Yates found new life in San Diego. In 2018 and 2019, Yates posted a 1.67 ERA and saved 53 games, 41 of which came in a 2019 season that saw him make an All-Star team and place ninth in the Cy Young voting. His bloated 12.46 ERA in limited time in 2020 coupled with the emergence of Drew Pomeranz helped San Diego move off of him.
Yates is arriving on a Toronto team that made it to the postseason next year and has eyes on the playoffs yet again, given the fact that the AL East is weaker than it was last year and their young offensive core is ready to take another step forward.