Blue Jays sign 2019 MLB saves leader Kirby Yates to 1-year deal: reports

The Toronto Blue Jays are hoping they have acquired the 2019 version of Kirby Yates.

Yates, 33, reportedly signed a one-year contract on Tuesday with the Blue Jays, pending a physical. Toronto lost closer Ken Giles for the upcoming season after he had Tommy John surgery on Sept. 30. Giles saved 23 games in 2019 and had expressed a desire to stay in Toronto even though he was slated to become a free agent this off-season.

The former San Diego closer, Yates led the major leagues in saves in 2019 before struggling to open last season and requiring surgery to remove bone chips in his right (throwing) elbow last August.

Six different pitchers, including Giles, recorded saves for Toronto last season, led by Anthony Bass (seven) and Rafael Dolis (five). Canadian-born Jordan Romano also flourished out of the bullpen with two saves and set a pair of club records for innings (8.2) and batters faced (29) without allowing a hit to start the season.

But Yates, who sported a 1.19 earned-run average, 41 saves and 101 strikeouts in 60 2/3 innings two years ago with the Padres, possesses huge comeback potential.

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