Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres

Braves add to bullpen by signing former All-Star closer

The Atlanta Braves bolstered their bullpen on Monday by signing Kirby Yates to a two-year deal.

The Atlanta Braves saw the New York Mets make one of the biggest splashes in free agency by signing starting pitcher Max Scherzer. But, the World Series champions answered by bolstering their bullpen heading into the 2022 season.

According to ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan, the Braves have agreed to terms with former San Diego Padres closer Kirby Yates on a two-year, $8.25 million contract. The deal also includes a third-year option worth $5.75 million and buyout worth $1.25 million.

Atlanta formally announced the news in a press release shortly after Passan’s report.

Braves add to bullpen by signing Kirby Yates

Yates was an All-Star in 2019 with the Padres and finished ninth in NL Cy Young voting that year after recording 41 saves and a 1.19 ERA.

Ever since the 2019 season, Yates has been dealing with injury issues. The right-hander only pitched in six games in the 2020 truncated campaign, as he had to undergo surgery to remove bone chips in his elbow. That offseason, Yates signed a one-year deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. Sadly, Yates did not make it out of spring training, as he suffered a flexor pronator strain in his pitching arm and it was determined that he needed to undergo Tommy John surgery.

The Braves are in a position where they can take a chance on a veteran closer like Yates, despite his recent injuries. They are the defending World Series champions, and adding a big name to their bullpen, an area that had been a cause for concern in the past, helps them on paper heading into the upcoming season.

Yates was not the only bullpen addition the Braves made on the day, as they signed veteran Darren O’Day to a minor-league deal.

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