Detroit Tigers: Could Kirby Yates revive his closing success?

(Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports)
(Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports) /

This offseason, the Detroit Tigers need to build up their bullpen; even if it is just one arm, something has to be done. The Tigers need a boost in the bullpen or arm barn if you like that batter.

One of the options the Detroit Tigers need to consider this offseason is Kirby Yates. In 2019 the San Diego Padres would give the ball to Yates, and the game was pretty much deemed over with. He was unreal for the Padres in 2019, garnering an All-Star appearance and even receiving Cy Young votes.

In 2019, Yates successfully closed out 41 saves out of 44 opportunities. He held a 1.19 ERA over 60.2 innings pitched with a 0.89 WHIP and 101 strikeouts on the season. It was an incredible season for Yates in the back of the Padres bullpen. However, 2020 saw him plunder immensely.

Yates would pitch in just six games, recording only 4.1 innings of work in total, where he had a 12.59 ERA and allowed seven hits and had four walks. It was a horrible season for the closer who was lights out in 2019.

Following the 2020 season, Yates would become a free agent where he opted to pursue an opportunity with the Toronto Blue Jays. He would not make it out of Spring Training as an arm injury would put a significant blow to his season. Yates missed the entire 2021 season while undergoing Tommy John Surgery.

The Detroit Tigers should take a chance on Kirby Yates.

Even though he did not pitch in 2021 and 2020 was a horrible showing, who’s to say the Tigers can’t help him revive his career. The Tigers need a closer or at least need another option in case Gregory Soto cannot keep things going.

Yates is a perfect option for the Tigers to consider. He’s coming off of Tommy John Surgery and a rough 2020 season. That means he will likely be cheaper and more cost-efficient. Sure, it’s a risky move, but if the Tigers are going to go after Justin Verlander, who is coming off of Tommy John Surgery, why not consider Yates as well.

Bringing in Yates could go one of two ways. He could not be able to find it, and the Tigers wasted some money on a one-year deal with the veteran reliever. Something may just be different, and Yates is unable to find the success that he used to have with the Padres.


The Tigers can sign Yates to a one-year “prove it” deal where he has a chip on his shoulder. If things work out, the Tigers may be able to pick up a closer at a great value and hopefully be able to retain him as this team continues to move in the right direction.

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The offseason just started, so the market is moving a little slow; the Tigers should jump on the opportunity to add a player like Yates, who could have a considerable impact on the team’s bullpen if all goes right.