If you think the San Diego Padres have a lot of bullpen arms now, just wait until spring training rolls around.
Kirby Yates earned all of my respect, plus some, after he attempted to beat out a ground ball last weekend against the Los Angeles Dodgers before being thrown out by Manny Machado and stumbling over first base. He then proceeded to complete a four-out save against an elite Los Angeles lineup that has been the hottest in all of baseball over the last few weeks. There may have been concerns surrounding his ability to routinely produce when rumors swirled at the trade deadline, however, Yates has seemingly put those concerns to bed.
Yates has logged a career-high 59 innings, posting a 5-3 record and 2.11 ERA (2.55 FIP). He’s currently striking out 36% of hitters and walking a career-low 6%, all while limiting hitters to a .183 batting average. With a 1.7 WAR, Yates is second among all Padres pitchers behind only his fellow bullpen mate, Stammen.
The trade value for Padres relievers plummeted after a flooding of relievers on the market at this year’s deadline, however, Yates and his value may never be higher once the offseason begins. He is three years younger than Stammen and could bring back a bigger haul.
With Jose Castillo, Robert Stock, Phil Maton, Miguel Diaz, Matt Strahm, Trey Wingenter, and many others already working at the major league level and a full list of other names sure to join the party next year, more than one name may be on the move.