Atlanta Braves sign reliever Kirby Yates to 2-year, $8.25 million contract

The Atlanta Braves have signed right-handed reliever Kirby Yates to a two-year, $8.25 million contract, the team announced Monday.

Yates will earn $1 million in 2022 and $6 million in 2023. The contract has a $5.75 million team option for the 2024 season that includes a $1.25 million buyout.

Yates signed with the Toronto Blue Jays in January but did not pitch for the team this season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in March. It was the second time in his career he had the operation.

He led the majors in saves in 2019 when he had 41 for the San Diego Padres. He had a career-best 1.19 ERA that season in 60⅔ innings pitched. He pitched only 4⅓ innings for San Diego during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season before undergoing season-ending surgery in August to remove bone chips from his right elbow.

Yates joins a highly effective bullpen that was a big reason for the Braves' surprising run to a championship. Closer Will Smith returns, along with Tyler Matzek, A.J. Minter and Luke Jackson.

Yates, 34, is 12-17 with 57 saves and a 3.54 ERA in seven major league seasons for the Tampa Bay Rays, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Angels and Padres.

The Braves also announced Monday that right-hander Yoan Lopez was claimed off waivers by the Philadelphia Phillies. Lopez was acquired last May from Arizona but spent the rest of the season at Atlanta's Triple-A club in Gwinnett.

In another move to add depth to their relieving corps, the Braves agreed to a minor league deal with 39-year-old right-hander Darren O'Day, who was highly effective in a previous stint with the Braves but has battled injuries.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.