— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) November 30, 2021
The Braves were rumored to have interest in Yates last offseason, but they were worried about his medicals, which resulted in him signing with the Blue Jays.
The Braves were right, too. Yates never threw a pitch for Toronto in the regular season. During Spring Training, he was announced out for the season and underwent Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career. He also dealt with injuries throughout 2020. However, before this string of unfortunate events, Yates was one of the best relievers in the majors. In 2019, he led the league in saves with the Padres and posted a minuscule 1.19 ERA, which came after a 2018 campaign in which he recorded a 2.14 ERA over 63 innings.
Yates won’t be ready for Opening Day, but he doesn’t need to be. The Braves hope he will be back to full strength when it matters next season and in 2023. This is a risky move, but for just $8.5 million over two years, it has the potential to pay substantial dividends.