Saturday, April 6, 2024

Rangers Add Former MLB Saves Leader To Bullpen

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The defending champions are not letting up one bit.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported on Tuesday that the Texas Rangers have agreed to sign veteran reliever Kirby Yates in free agency. Yates will be getting a one-year contract from Texas pending a physical.

Rangers manager Bruce Bochy was being interviewed on MLB Network when the news broke, leading to a great live reaction. Take a look.

The right-hander Yates, 36, led Major League Baseball in saves during the 2019 season, collecting 41 of them in 44 opportunities with the San Diego Padres. He also earned an All-Star nod for the stellar campaign but had a major setback in 2021 when he underwent Tommy John surgery and missed most of the next two seasons. Still, Yates looked pretty good for the NL-best Atlanta Braves in 2023, going 7-2 with a 3.28 ERA and 11.9 K/9 over 61 total relief appearances.

Yates doesn’t work as a closer these days, instead operating in a setup role. That should still bring plenty of value for the Rangers though as veterans Aroldis Chapman, Will Smith, and Chris Stratton are among the free agents in their bullpen this offseason. Texas also remains in the mix for an even bigger-name reliever.

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