Well, this is worth an eye, especially knowing as we do that the Cubs are totally going to add a reliever today, and knowing that they apparently did not land Brad Ziegler.
The Cubs are still on the Padres’ relievers, it seems:
The Cubs had someone at last night’s game, likely watching Kirby Yates and Craig Stammen.
— Dennis Lin (@dennistlin) July 31, 2018
As we discussed yesterday, the Cubs were already scouting Yates “closely”, per Bruce Levine. Here’s what we said about Yates:
Yates, 31, is a very well-travelled reliever who only got a lengthy and meaningful chance to stick in the big leagues in 2016 with the Yankees when he was already almost 30. He came up in the Rays’ system as a pure reliever, but appears to have struggled to find footing in the upper minors. But then he got that chance with the Yankees, putting up solid peripherals and a terrible ERA. That translated to a shot with the Padres the next year, and the solid peripherals remained, while translating to good results, too.
This year, however, he’s exploded: 1.60 ERA, 2.02 FIP, 49.5% groundball rate, 32.1% K rate, 7.1% BB rate, 15.4% IFFB rate. Based purely on 2018 numbers, Yates might be the best reliever still on the market.
A recent FanGraphs article pretty much sums things up on Yates with its title: “You Might Not Recognize Kirby Yates.” Indeed. But the guy has been really good, and it’s largely thanks to, among other things, developing a new splitter – the kind of thing you might bank on being sustainable, despite the fact that he only just broke out at age 30/31.
You can presume that Yates would cost a SERIOUS return of prospects, given the breakout and the team control (two more seasons after this one).
As for Craig Stammen, he’s a 34-year-old righty also having a brilliant season, after a long career of mostly being just very solid. He gets a lot of ground balls, and, with the Padres, his strikeout rate has jump up into the high-20s. He’s making $2.2 million this year, and another $2.2 million next year. He’d cost less than Yates, but would probably also require a very nice return, given the extra year of cheap control.