3 reasons why the Seattle Mariners should not pursue Kirby Yates
The former San Diego Padres closer is on the free-agent market. The Seattle Mariners are looking to bolster the bullpen, but there are 3 reasons to avoid Kirby Yates.
There is no denying that Kirby Yates was one of the best closers in 2019. Since joining the Padres in 2017, Yates has transformed himself into a reliable asset in relief. Yates was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 2005, in the 26th round. He bounced around with a few times and finally settled in with the Padres.
Yates has a tremendous splitter and low-mid 90s fastball. He was an All-Star in 2019 and finished ninth in Cy Young Award voting. He owns a career 3.54 ERA with 400 strikeouts in 282.1 innings pitched. Despite Yates’ solid career numbers, there are three reasons the Mariners should avoid signing Yates this offseason.
Reason No. 1: Kirby Yates had an injury-riddled 2020
After his career-best 2019 season, Yates pitched just 4.1 innings in 2020. To say the least, it was not the best season for him. Yates would be diagnosed with bone chips in the elbow which sidelined him for the rest of the season and could have been the last time pitching for the Padres.
Yates had surgery on his throwing elbow in late August. Any type of injuries to the throwing arm for pitchers is a big concern. Yates dealt with minor injuries throughout the 2020 season prior to the elbow problem, which hindered his ability to stay on the field. Yates gave up six runs in just 4.1 innings.
Yates is 33-years-old, and I wish him a speedy recovery, but there is a lot of risk with signing Yates. Who knows what his stuff will look like in 2021 after his rehab. Yates does rely on a mid 90s fastball and a splitter which can both be impeded with elbow problems.
I want Yates to prove me wrong and pitch as he did in 2019 next season, but I just do not see it happening. This is very similar to the Corey Kluber situation, and whether the Mariners take the risk on Kluber.