The Minnesota Twins have expressed interest in San Diego Padres closer Kirby Yates. Will the Friars let him go? It seems unlikely.
Kirby Yates delivered his 30th save of the year for the San Diego Padres on Sunday afternoon, and the All-Star break has only just begun.
The Friars sit at 45-45, perfectly even at the unofficial halfway point of the season. While the Padres weren’t tagged as playoff contenders in March, the conversation has shifted after 90 games.
Yates has undoubtedly been a driving force behind the Padres’ first-half success. Sporting a 1.15 ERA and 0.795 WHIP, Yates is completely deserving of his All-Star nod. With his best season so far, the front office had to expect trade offers from other playoff contenders to start filing in for the All-Star closer.
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The Twins are leading the American League Central with a 56-33 record, owning the 4th best win percentage in the MLB.
Needless to say, they’re in the playoff hunt as they sit 5.5 games ahead of the Cleveland Indians, who are second in that division.
Minnesota has been banged up this season, with six active players currently on the 10-day IL. One of those players is starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi, who will likely return after the All-Star break.
Regardless, the Twins are apparently seeking pitching relief across the rotation, ranging from starting pitchers like Zack Greinke to closers such as our own Kirby Yates.
The Twins are exploring their options, though, which includes seeking help from within their own system.
LHP Adalberto Mejia and RHP Zack Littell are new additions to the rotation, and Minnesota is expected to consider both pitchers extensively before formally reaching out to other teams.
Neill III speculates that the Twins might try to leverage some prospects from their farm for a trade, including 1B/OF Brent Rooker, SS/2B Nick Gordon, and LHP Stephen Gonsalves. Each are Top-15 prospects in the Twins’ system, but none have cracked the Top-100 list in the league.
There are several reasons why the trade is unlikely to happen, however.
First, the Padres have already expressed interest in retaining Yates, even with the massive return they’d likely receive. Kirby has been an undeniable strength for the Padres, becoming the lifeblood of a once-dominant bullpen that has struggled mightily this season. Per AJ Cassavell:
"“Kirby’s well-equipped to handle whatever noise comes,” Padres manager Andy Green said of the Trade Deadline. “We want Kirby here, though. There’s no other message. We want Kirby closing games for us. We plan on contending and winning, and a guy like him is incredibly valuable to that.”"
For Yates, the feeling is mutual:
"“I’d prefer to stay here…I don’t want to go anywhere else. I want to win here. I’ve built a lot of strong relationships here with staff members and my teammates. My family likes it here, my wife likes it here, and the way the Padres organization has treated me and my family has been awesome.”"
Second, the Padres have Yates locked into a contract until 2020. The Friars are clearly invested in his development and the upside he brings at this point in time — they won’t want to trade him just as the playoff window is opening. All of a sudden the wild card doesn’t seem so far-fetched, and Yates would be a boon to this team in achieving that goal.
Finally, it just doesn’t seem like a good fit. The Padres already have nine players in the Top 100 prospects list and are locked in at first base and shortstop.
Gathering prospects should always be considered, but developing current talent is just as important. Yates has proven to be dependable and wants to stay with the Padres, while the front office has reciprocated that sentiment.
Let’s keep our lone All-Star in the city of San Diego.
For complete coverage on the San Diego Padres’ 2019 season, be sure to visit Friars on Base all season long.