Hawaii Major Leaguers find new homes through free agency

Hawaii Major Leaguers find new homes through free agency
Hawaii in the MLB (Source: Twitter/@MLB)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - As Major League Baseball’s free agency season continues, some of Hawaii’s biggest names in the majors will be playing for new teams next season.

It was announced on Tuesday, that former All-Star closer and Kauai native Kirby Yates has agreed to a deal with the Toronto Blue Jays.

The 33-year old spent the last four seasons with the San Diego Padres, where he was limited in 2020 due to injury, but in his 2019 campaign Yates dominated with a 1.19 earned run average with 41 saves, a 15.0 SO/9 rate and a 3.0 WAR in 60 appearances.

It was also announced last week, that MLB veteran catcher Kurt Suzuki finalized a deal with the Los Angeles Angels, who are looking to rebuild after losing season in 2020 and a complete overhaul of its front office.

The Maui native has been in the MLB for 14 years, most recently with the Washington Nationals, where he helped capture Washington’s first World Series in 2019 and in 2020 the Baldwin graduate hit .270 in 30 games played with two home runs — Suzuki’s deal is reportedly worth $1.5 million.

Mid-Pacific’s Isiah Kiner-Falefa also got a new contract, but the third baseman is staying put with the Texas Rangers, after agreeing to a one-year $2 million deal last week.

Kiner-Falefa had a monstrous 2020 season, earning his first Gold Glove Award at third base, however the Rangers said that the former Owl will go into spring training with the opportunity to be their starting shortstop.

The last big name in Hawaii baseball, Kolten Wong, has yet to find a new home after the Saint Louis Cardinals did not pick up the former University of Hawaii standout’s option, allowing the Hilo native to test free agency with the chance he returns to the Lou on a restructured deal.

Spring Training for the 2021 MLB season is set to officially kick off on February 27th.

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