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Padres claim Kirby Yates off waivers, option Kevin Quackenbush

A righty reliever is added, a righty reliever is taken away.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo Day
You see this face, Gary? This is my game face.
Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images

After the outright assignment of Christian Bethancourt yesterday, a spot on the roster was vacated. That spot has now been filled with right-handed reliever Kirby Yates, claimed off waivers from the Angels. In a corresponding roster move, Kevin Quackenbush has once again been optioned to El Paso.

Kirby Yates has seen MLB service time each of the last three years. He was drafted by the Red Sox in 2005, but did not sign. Perhaps he regretted that decision, because he didn’t enter professional baseball until 2009 when he was signed by the Tampa Bay Rays. (Were they still the Devil Rays at that time?) He made his MLB debut with the Rays in 2014 and had a pretty good season that year, posting a 3.75 ERA over 36 innings of work across 37 games. His 2015 season wasn’t so good with the Rays, so he went to the Yankees by way of the Indians in the offseason, then made 41 unspectacular appearances for the Yankees in 2016. The Yankees DFA’d him in the offseason, and the Angels snagged him. He was really good with their AAA club but got roughed up in his one appearance with the big league team. Being out of options, the Angels designated him for assignment, and that’s when the Padres snatched him up.

Yates features a pretty typical reliever’s fastball-slider repertoire, with some curveballs and changeups mixed in for good measure. His fastball runs into the mid-90’s, and he’s consistently posted high K% numbers through his career. His stats from this season show a bump up in his K% and a low BB%, which is promising. He seems to profile as a fly ball pitcher, which could work well in the spacious NL West parks. It appears that a lone longball in his MLB appearance was his undoing with the Angels. Here’s a writeup from our friends at Pinstripe Alley.

At some point you sorta have to feel for Kevin Quackenbush, who’s been a bit of a MLB-AAA yo-yo these last three seasons. He’s done well with his limited opportunities this season, posting five scoreless innings over four games with eight strikeouts, five hits, and no walks. It’s got to be tough being the odd man out at the end of the roster, but he seems well prepared for the gig:

The bullpen has been taxed heavily over the last week or so, and it doesn’t get much better with little time off in the coming weeks. If Yates can hit the ground running with the team, it might take some pressure off the rest of the ‘pen. Heck, maybe this could be a turning point in Mr. Yates’ career and we have a nice trade piece in a month or two.