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Yankees trade Shawn Kelley to the Padres for prospect Johnny Barbato

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The bullpen's getting another shakeup as the strikeout artist Kelley is headed west.

Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Padres have certainly had a busy first off-season under new GM A.J. Preller, and they have just added another piece to their team, courtesy of the Yankees. The Bronx Bombers have reportedly agreed to trade righty reliever Shawn Kelley to San Diego in exchange for relief prospect Johnny Barbato. This news comes from newcomer Robert Murray, who first gained attention this off-season with his news of the Billy Butler signing, so I'm inclined to believe it. YES Network analyst Jack Curry tweeted out the news while citing Murray, so that adds more credence. Here's the scoop:

It's definitely an interesting trade, and a huge signal that the Yankees are either planning something else for their bullpen or have a lot of faith in young relief arms like Jacob Lindgren, Tyler Webb, Nick Rumbelow, and company. Kelley wasn't a bad reliever by any stretch of the imagination, but he was hardly irreplaceable. In his two seasons with the Yankees, he was a strikeout machine with 138 whiffs in 105 innings, a superb 11.8 K/9. However, his control wasn't the greatest at 3.7 BB/9 and he had a shaky 4.46 ERA (89 ERA+) despite a good FIP. He was also due a raise in arbitration this year. I don't blame the Yankees for seeing what they could get for him, and it doesn't seem like Barbato is a bad pickup. Plus he's a mobster who is known as "Johnny Sausage!" [citation needed]

The 22-year-old righty was a sixth round pick in the 2010 draft, and last year in Double-A San Antoni, he recorded a 2.87 ERA, 3.31 FIP, and a 1.149 WHIP in 27 games (31 1/3 innings). He struck out 9.5 batters per nine innings while notching 2.9 BB/9, a fine strikeout-to-walk ratio. Curry said that he might need Tommy John surgery, but even if that's the case, it's not like surrendering Kelley will doom the team. Baseball America Vince Lara-Cinisomo had some positive things to say about him as well:

Looks like the Yankees made a nice addition to their likely Triple-A Scranton bullpen, someone who could also play a role in the big league 'pen as soon as this season. The Yankees are putting a great deal of faith in their youngsters, but I didn't have much faith in Kelley anyway. Welcome to New York/Scranton, Barbato!

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