BRADENTON, Fla. — Right-hander Tyler Yates, a hard-throwing reliever who probably wasn’t going to make the Atlanta Braves’ opening day roster, was traded Wednesday to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Double-A right-hander Todd Redmond.
The 30-year-old Yates will be used as one of the Pirates’ setup men, an unexpected addition to a bullpen that has been overly crowded all spring with more than a dozen relievers competing for jobs.
The Braves had the same problem, which meant Yates probably wasn’t going north with them.
"They have a couple of guys out of options, (right-handers Chris) Resop and (Blaine) Boyer, who have really thrown the ball well for them this spring and, as a result, they had extra pitching and we benefited from that," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said.
Yates has thrown his fastball from 92-97 mph this spring, his slider from 87-90 mph and will give the Pirates another of the power arms Huntington likes.
"He can get a strikeout and can overpower people," Huntington said.
Yates, who broke into the majors with the Mets in 2004, has a 6-12 record in three seasons. He was 2-3 with a 5.18 ERA in 75 games last season after going 2-3 with a 3.96 ERA in 56 games in 2006.
"They said they’re excited to have me and I could pitch myself into a very prominent role in the bullpen. I think it could be a good career move and I could get into a role I feel like I need to be in," Yates said.
Yates had several rough months with Atlanta last year, giving up runs in seven of his 14 appearances in July and five of his 10 games in September.
"I did go back and look at a lot of video and the conclusion I came to was I just was behind in the count a lot, 1-0 and 2-0 a lot, and having to come over the middle of the plate for strikes," Yates said. "It makes the hitters start sitting on pitches a lot easier. That’s one reason I gave up a lot of hits and a lot of runs."
The 22-year-old Redmond was one of the Pirates’ few prospects at the Double-A level, but struggled in 2007 by going 8-13 with a 4.39 ERA in 28 starts at Double-A Altoona and Class-A Lynchburg. If he reaches the majors, he expects to be a No. 4 or No. 5 starter.
"We were in a predicament and we got a nice prospect," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "It’s good for them, good for us."
The trade means the Pirates must make moves with two of their remaining nine relievers.
Certain to make the staff are right-handers Matt Capps, Franquelis Osoria and Yates, and left-handers Damaso Marte and John Grabow. Right-handers Hector Carrasco and Rule Five pick Evan Meek and left-handers Sean Burnett and Phil Dumatrait are competing for two jobs.
Right-handers Byung Hyun-Kim and Jaret Wright and left-hander Juan Perez were released Wednesday by the Pirates and Japanese pitcher Masumi Kuwata, who turns 40 on Monday, retired. Wright, a former Indians and Braves starter who failed to win a bullpen job, is deciding whether to accept an assignment to Triple-A Indianapolis.