Yankees Rumors: Padres reliever Kirby Yates
Should the asking price for a starting pitcher be too rich in the eyes of Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, he could look towards bolstering the bullpen even further — and add All-Star and former Yankee Kirby Yates.
With news that Luis Severino is expected to miss at least another six weeks as he recovers from a severe lat strain, the Yankees are in the market for a pitcher.
However, with two and a half weeks until the July 31 trade deadline, clubs know what the Yanks desire, therefore the asking price for club controlled starters will continue to rise.
Due to the Yanks understandable reluctance to trade top prospects for rentals, perhaps shifting focus to highly effective, and at the same time, lesser expensive relievers should become the game plan.
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Bradford Doolittle of ESPN believes that shortening the games, especially in October is the Yankees best chance at advancing deep into the postseason — and thus, a return for San Diego Padres All-Star closer Kirby Yates could be in the cards.
"Whom could they target? Matthew Boyd, Trevor Bauer, Kirby Yates. The Yankees don’t need much but have the prospect surplus to aim high at the best pitchers on the trade market, the type who could make their biggest impact in October."
Clearly, the Yanks don’t need a closer, as Aroldis Chapman leads the AL in saves with 24, but the starting rotation is consistently inconsistent, which has put an immense level of pressure (and innings pitched) on the bullpen.
Prior to the All-Star Game, usually reliable arms like Zack Britton, Adam Ottavino and Tommy Kahnle showed moments of vulnerability.
Yates has one remaining year of arbitration, is making $3 million this season and has become a premier backend reliever — something he wasn’t in low-leverage situations for the Yanks in 2016.
In 41 games in ’16, Yates, who has now played for a total of four different clubs, pitched to a 5.23 ERA, 1.452 WHIP, 8.9 H/9 and 4.1 BB/9 in only 41.1 innings. Not good.
However, since then, Yates has refined his game-changing splitter — and in 38 appearances this season leads the NL with 35 games finished, 30 saves, a 1.15 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, .163 BAA and 60:9 K:BB ratio across 39 innings.
Some will point out the fact that Yates, 32, pitches in laid back San Diego, in a less than stellar division, and worry that the bright lights on New York will bring back poor performances.
But if the price is right, the veteran Yates is worth taking a flyer on — especially when you consider clubs like the Red Sox, Astros and Twins are all looking for bullpen help.