While discussing in my last article about the signing of George Springer and the improvements of the Toronto Blue Jays, that same team ended up signing a huge high profile reliver in Kirby Yates.
Yates, who signed a one-year $5.5 million deal, will slide right into the closers role that was inherited last year by a more than serviceable Anthony Bass and the sudden reemergence of reliver Rafael Dolis. Both will likely slide in the 7th and 8th inning roles to start the year and depending on results will be used how well they perform. Yates’ contract includes $4.5 million in performance based incentives with him earning the full $10 million if he pitches in 70 games this year.
A weak bullpen is suddenly starting to shape up to a decent bullpen with the signing of Tyler Chatwood who will most likely work in a type of swing role for the Jays operating in both long relief and possibly an occasional start.
Yates only pitched in 6 games totaling 4.1 innings in 2020 before getting his arm checked out that came back as bone chips being in his throwing elbow. Thus, ending his 2020 on an early note. Yates claims to be healthy and ready to go for the new 2021 season.
Yates last full season was in 2019 where he posted an ERA of 1.19, a WHIP of .890, 101 strikeouts through 60.2 innings with a league leading 41 saves. This addition to the Blue Jays bullpen is huge for a team that is looking to win NOW. Good luck to the Jays as they have to face the best team in the American League, the Tampa Bay Rays, multiple times throughout the year. Most importantly, I hope Kirby Yates stays healthy and has himself a nice productive year while reaching his 70 game plateau for that extra money.