For Major League Baseball, it has been a relatively quiet winter in terms of player movement. Even if you count the Dodgers acquisition of right-handed reliever Corey Knebel as a big move, things in LA have been even quieter.
With that, players like Kiké Hernandez and Trevor Bauer are trying to kick start their markets via their social media pages. Baseball writers are doing their part to stir the hot stove as well. Moreover, MLB.com scribe AJ Cassavell identified two low risk, high reward arms that LA could look into as they rebuild for a 2021 World Series repeat.
Here’s what he had to say.
Two available free agents fit that low-risk, high-reward reclamation profile — reliever Kirby Yates and starter Chris Archer.
Cassavell, a Padres beat writer went on to note that both right-handers are coming off of recent injuries.
Yates, an All-Star in 2019 for San Diego, was lights out in 2018 and 2019. He appeared in 125 games posting a 1.67 ERA and 1.93 FIP while recording 53 saves. the reliever also worked a strikeout to walk ratio better than 6:1 during that stretch before elbow issues led to 2020 surgery to remove bone chips.
“If he’s healthy,” said Cassavell, “Yates and his splitter would provide an intriguing and contrasting alternative to newly acquired Corey Knebel, if Kenley Jansen can’t regain his dominance.”
As for Chris Archer, the long-time Tampa Bay Ray has struggled with health and effectiveness since being traded to the Pirates in 2018. He underwent surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome — which some Dodger fans may be familiar with during the Josh Beckett days — earlier this year, so he wouldn’t be ready until much later in the season. Even still, Archer hasn’t posted an ERA under 4 since 2015, so this move may be less ideal for LA who has prospect arms like Josiah Gray and Mitch White ready to fill meaningful innings in 2021.
The addition of Kirby Yates makes more sense for the Dodgers than Chris Archer. Looking ahead, the club is deep in starting pitching talent for the next few seasons. However, with the loss of two workhorses in Pedro Baez and Blake Treinen, the needs in the bullpen are more apparent. But to put faith in not one, but two reclamation projects with Corey Knebel and Yates might not the best approach for a defending world champion.