Trading Kirby Yates a possibility with emergence of Andres Munoz

Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: AP Photo

Andres Munoz is waiting in the wings if the San Diego Padres decide to trade All-Star closer, Kirby Yates. Munoz is young but has the stuff to be a dominant force.

Kirby Yates is arguably the most dominant closer in the Major Leagues, currently leading the MLB with 39 saves, three more than the Yankees’ Aroldis Chapman in second place. The Hawaiin pitcher also has a minuscule ERA of 1.29 and a very impressive WHIP under one at 0.916.

Batters are hitting just .191 off of Yates, and he has only allowed eight earned runs in 55 games. However, while these numbers are amazing, Brad Hand also had spectacular stats, and the Padres were able to move past him with Yates.

Dominant closers are always in high demand and have tremendous trade value as shown by Brad Hand, who was dealt to the Cleveland Indians for catcher Francisco Mejia. The Padres clearly still need to make some significant moves to be competitive in the NL West and Kirby Yates may be able to help to get those final pieces.

While bullpen arms like Yates are hard to come by, the Padres have had a long history of producing talented relievers. The pitcher that will eventually take the torch from Yates has possibly already been found in Andres Munoz, who has been a revelation this season.

The 20-year-old fireballer can reach speeds of over 100 miles an hour and has already reached 102 in the major leagues. The Mexican reliever is currently a reliable arm for the Friars in the seventh or eighth inning and has inclusively already notched his first MLB save, back on Aug. 30, against the San Francisco Giants.

That save was an exceptional one as Munoz set a Padres’ record by becoming the youngest pitcher ever to record a save for the club. The record was previously set by Lance McCullers, who was 21 years old when he recorded his first save against the Cincinnati Reds on Aug. 12. 1985.

However, there is still the worry that comes with any pitcher that throws as hard as Andres Munoz does. That worry came to life earlier in the season when Cardinals’ closer Jordan Hicks tore his UCL and now needs Tommy John Surgery.

There have also been several other recent cases like that of Reds’ prospect Hunter Greene, who is also 20 years old. While some fans may not like the idea of relying on a pitcher who seems bound to have a surgery at some point in his career, Munoz’s talent is undeniable.

Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Munoz is by no means a safe pick; there will always be a risk when talking about a pitcher that can reach speeds over 100 miles an hour. There is the apparent injury scare that has been discussed and the worry that his speed will simply not be enough to maintian like Jumbo Diaz or Maikel Cleto.

However, the Sinaloa native has been getting progressively better with each inning that he has thrown, and he has proven that he is not just about speed. Munoz has held a very nice 1.77 ERA since making his MLB debut and has a similar WHIP to Kirby Yates at 0.984.

At 20 years old Munoz is still developing as a pitcher, and he has thrown a slider that is becoming a fantastic pitch. Even at such a young age, the Mexican hurler has shown that he can work under pressure and get out of jams as well.

Kirby Yates is by far a safe option, he can go on to have a very nice career, but there are other vital needs on the team that need to be addressed and trading away Yates can be a great help to address some of these needs. The Hawaiin closer has had a fantastic season, but he has not proven to be in any way an indispensable piece to this project.

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Francisco Velasco
Francisco, 21, Chula Vista area, Journalism student at Southwestern College. I have been a Padres fan all my life, did most of the series previews and recaps in the Padres' 2016 season for EVT. Now I focus more on the Tijuana Xolos soccer team, get press passes for every home game and write consistently about the team for EVT.

4 thoughts on “Trading Kirby Yates a possibility with emergence of Andres Munoz

  1. You do not get better by trading your best players. If this organization had a theme song it would be “Road to Nowhere”.

  2. Kinda late for that ephifany. Should have traded him at the deadline. Not sure of the number but couldnt have more than 7 or 8 opportunities since.

  3. Nice piece on Munoz but I just have to argue that Kirby has indeed shown that he’s indispensable (as far as relievers go) what more does he need to do?? What makes someone “indispensable” I think it just varies with every position and every team need. But overall, I’d say Yates is our best pitcher right now; point blank period.. but nice piece anyway bro

  4. Uhhhhhhh………what????
    Trade Yates???
    So trade a dominate closer to further weaken a train wreck of a bullpen already?
    Um…..at this point in time, lets remind ourselves how well last years trade of a dominate closer went.
    Brand Hand AND Adam Cimber for a catcher that can’t catch…..and still hasn’t hit enough to be considered more than average. And now is being considered as OF option. The Padres got fleeced in that deal and everyone in Cleveland knows it!
    The Padres were all too accommodating again this season with Cleveland…..but that is a story for another time. Hopefully it works out in a couple years…..so far….not so much.
    Having two additional quality options out of the bullpen this year (one of them an All Star) to go with Yates and Munoz……I’m thinking 8 – 9 more wins than our current situation (deeper bullpen….less reliant on one guy to put the fires out). Which, puts us firmly in the Wild Card race.
    Safe to say, last years move was self destruction….for this season.
    Not sure repeating history is a good idea for next season.

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