We’ve seen signs that the Padres are pondering a move this summer involving Kirby Yates. At least, that’s how I interpret recent reports from the team’s beat writers on just how hesitant the team is to move a player who has arguably been the game’s best reliever to this point of the season.
Sure, the Friars are putting out word that it’d take an “overwhelming offer” or an “unforeseen haul” to part with Yates. This is roughly like putting up your house on Zillow’s “Make Me Move” listings, but requesting blind bids instead of posting a zany asking price. Yates is totally not available … unless …
Let’s just say the Padres are interested in seeing how interested their rivals are in making a deal.
This is a familiar strategy with regard to controllable closers. And it’s one that often, but doesn’t always, lead to a swap. It feels as if Felipe Vazquez and Raisel Iglesias have been trade candidates for years. Surely, the Pirates and Reds have fielded offers, both before and after inking those two relievers to extensions. They haven’t moved … yet. The Padres have intimate, recent experience with just this sort of thing, having held onto Brad Hand, then signed him to an extension, and then traded him. Likewise, the Yankees hemmed and hawed and finally dealt Andrew Miller (like Hand, to the Indians) only after securing an offer of “two twin firstborns.”
In this case, there are certainly some strong reasons to think the Pads will have interest in a deal. Yates is already 32 years of age. The club is two games under .500 and has already been buried in the NL West (along with the rest of the division) by the powerhouse Dodgers.
On the other hand, Yates is also still controllable for another season — one in which the San Diego team hopes to be fully competitive. Heck, Yates could even be an extension candidate in the mold of Hand.
It’s hard to imagine Yates will ever look better on paper. He has racked up 27 saves in 35 1/3 innings of 1.27 ERA pitching, with an exceptional combination of 14.3 K/9 against 2.3 BB/9. He has allowed just 21 hits and one home run this year. He’s earning only $3MM and change for the present campaign.
Yates has quite a lot of trade value. He also holds no shortage of appeal to a Padres team that needs to be efficient with its spending after making some uncharacteristically massive free agent outlays.
How do you see this one turning out? (Poll link for app users.)