Yankees acquire Shawn Kelley for Abe Almonte

Gonna need a new number, kid. (Presswire)

Gonna need a new number, kid. (Presswire)

The Yankees had a surplus of Double-A and Triple-A outfielders, so they turned one of them into a serviceable big league reliever. New York traded Abe Almonte to the Mariners for right-hander Shawn Kelley, the team announced. Alex Rodriguez was placed on the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man roster spot.

Kelley, 29 in April, was designated for assignment by the Mariners when they signed Joe Saunders six days ago. Buster Olney confirmed Kelley has a minor league option remaining, meaning he’s likely ticketed for the Triple-A bullpen to start the season. He and Cody Eppley figure to ride the Scranton-Bronx express this summer. Kelley will earn $935k in 2013 following his second trip through arbitration as a Super Two. He can’t become a free agent until the 2015-2016 offseason at the earliest.

A two-time Tommy John surgery survivor, Kelley owns a 3.52 ERA (4.12 FIP) in 128 big league innings spread across the last four seasons. He misses bats (career 8.58 K/9 and 22.6 K%) with a low-to-mid-90s fastball and a power mid-80s slider, and his walk rate (2.74 BB/9 and 7.4 BB%) is strong as well. Ten of his 39 walks as a big leaguer were intentional, so that walk rate is inflated a little bit. Kelley is a fly ball pitcher (29.5% grounders) and homer prone (1.34 HR/9 and 9.7% HR/FB), which is not ideal. As long as he’s working low-to-mid-leverage innings, it won’t be the end of the world.

Almonte, 23, did not make my annual Top 30 Prospects List. He hit .276/.350/.392 (106 wRC+) with 30 steals in 359 plate appearances for Double-A Trenton last summer. Once an infielder, Almonte moved to the outfield full-time in 2008 and has experience in all three spots. He re-signed with the team after becoming a minor league free agent in October, then went unclaimed in December’s Rule 5 Draft. With Slade Heathcott, Tyler Austin, and Ramon Flores ticketed for Double-A and Zoilo Almonte, Melky Mesa, and Ronnie Mustelier in line for Triple-A — don’t forget about Adonis Garcia and Thomas Neal either — Almonte was completely expendable.

The big league bullpen is pretty much set at this point, but extra arms are always going to be needed. The Yankees used 17 different relievers just last season, for example. Kelley adds some depth and they traded a player they won’t even notice is gone thanks to all the outfielders at the upper levels. I wouldn’t say it’s something-for-nothing, but they definitely used their minor league surplus to help the big league club.

Categories : Transactions


  1. vicki says:

    so we’re down to our last almonte.

    • dalelama says:

      Wow this is the big move we have been waiting all winter for.

      • Steve (different one) says:

        So, after the post about the minor league OF situation, you bitch about how there won’t be space for everyone.

        Then the Yankees clear a space and get something useful in return, and you bitch because it is not exciting enough.

        IOW, classic trolling. Well done.

  2. Dropped Third says:

    Charity for the montero deal….

  3. Fernando says:

    They seem to have a lot of bullpen options, but that presumes a healthy Joba & Aardsma. Any options remaining for Kelley?

  4. davey says:

    I’m waving around my shirt like Muscle Man from “Regular Show” over this….

  5. Jacob the OG(formerly Jacob) says:

    At first look I was quite confused on why they would trade an OF in a pretty dry system, until I remembered which Almonte he was and saw Kelley has been in the MLB not AAA. Nice move especially with the uncertainty of Aardsma and Joba.

    • Govin says:

      I’ve seen a couple articles worrying about the Yankees having to many outfielders in the upper levels, possibly blocking the impact prospects. It good to see the Yankees take care of the problem and getting something in return.

    • renzostew says:

      Abe Almonte has more tools than Zoilo Almonte who will never play in the major leagues.Abe Almonte is a good center fielder,great speed and a switch hitter.I would have rather seen Zoilo go who is a terrible fielder.

      • Havok9120 says:

        That’s nice and all, but all those reasons you mentioned MIGHT just be why the Mariners preferred Abe.


      • Govin says:

        ya its not like the Yankees released the guy. They got a backup reliever that has actually pitched in the majors.

      • RetroRob says:

        Neither Almonte is a quality MLB player. It’s as simple as that. Neither is Melky Mesa, although he has more to offer than the Almonte’s. They have their value as filler, emergency replacement, etc. Kelley’s first pitch wearing a NY Yankee uniform will be more valuable than anything Abe would contribute more to the Yankees.

        Sorry to sound negative toward these guys, but I’m always surprised when I see RABers talking about them as if they have great value. They don’t.

      • Joe says:


  6. Jerkface says:

    Hard throwing + strike out stuff seems to be the kind of guy Cashman likes, but righthanded+extreme flyball pitcher seems to not be a fit for NYS.

    He had an .880 OPS against on the road last year.

  7. joe one-leg says:

    abe almonte will be missed

  8. MB923 says:

    I don’t know how much I’d like him in Yankee Stadium though. His career GB% is only 29.5 and career HR/9 is 1.34

  9. You should have shot Arod says:

    Would someone stop cash from dumpster diving . We are strong in relief pitchers and weak in cf prospects and he gives away one of the guys with big upside. Mason williams is years away and healthcott is injury prone the other almonte sucks too. Why is he going after right handed relief pitchers?

    • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting) says:

      Almonte has big upside?

    • Get Phelps Up says:

      Almonte is a career .263/.340/.388 hitter in 2,469 minor league PAs. That’s not someone with big upside.

    • Govin says:

      WE may be weak in center field prospects but were not weak in mlb center fielders(which Seems to be slightly more important)Granderson ,Gardner, and possibly Ichir, can play center field well. Also we have Gardner the year after giving our top prospects two full years to develop.

    • Dropped Third says:

      The dude has assembled some pretty good bullpens the last few years out of pick-ups like these. Abe was like the 7th or 8th best OF in the system. And the bullpen is not exactly a sure thing this year with all the injuries. Getting a hard thrower with mlb experience whose 28 with a minor league option remaining for a prospect with the ceiling of a bench player is a sweet deal.

    • Brandon says:

      Weak cf prospects? Mason Williams and slade heathcott are top fifty prospects, and you can’t count on joba or aardsma to be solid. This move clears space for prospects to move up and gets us a backup power arm that could always be retraded if unused. Almonte was never going to see New york. Good move Cashman.

    • trr says:

      I would say that Cashman has no other options besides “dumpster diving” due to financial constraints

      • Havok9120 says:

        ….wait, really? That’s your response? Nothing about all the good bullpens we’ve put together with “dumpster diving” or even the fact that this really ISN’T dumpster diving? Or that Abe Almonte was the franchise’s 5th or 6th best option in CF?

  10. Greg says:

    Heard the Angels like Kelley. Maybe we can get that Trout kid.

    • Cris Pengiucci says:

      Sounds like it might be a fair deal, but maybe they can get the Angels to throw in that Hamilton guy also. And, of course, to keep things even, eat most of his salary.

  11. LarryM., Fl. says:

    The little moves can have an impact. If you can get a hard throwing relief pitcher for a spare part that was not going to make the club than why not?

  12. You should have shot Arod says:

    This will keep montgomery in minors all year too. Kid has an guidry type slider absolutley sick.

  13. Robinson Tilapia says:

    Pour some licka for my boy, Brian S., who just lost an Almonte today.

  14. You should have shot Arod says:


    Where does Kelley fit in?

  15. BTG says:

    A-Rod on the 60 day DL.

  16. You should have shot Arod says:

    Maybe a joba trade for another aaa catcher

  17. Cool Lester Smooth (Formerly YanksFanInBeantown) says:

    Damn you Cash!! Almonte was totally ever going to be more than a 6th outfielder on the Yankees!

  18. You should have shot Arod says:

    Eppley is pissed.

  19. Robinson Tilapia says:

    I wonder if the “a” in “stuart a” stands for “almonte.”

    No caps, of course.

  20. Govin says:

    I find that I can be over optimistic at times lets see if I can get this pessimism thing down.

    My next pessimistic post will be on how the farm system is doomed because we don’t have any good pitchers in it.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Goddamn prospect-hugger.

      • Govin says:

        Im guessing my pessimistic post for last week would have been.

        I have to give credit to some of the pessimistic posters on here they can find a shadow in the lightest room.

    • Havok9120 says:

      You’ve got this down. Next you have to vote a 3 on the confidence poll because the Orioles got Dickerson and Canzler.

  21. Pat D says:

    I just realized this is kinda sorta the anti-Kontos trade.

  22. ClusterDuck says:

    I like Kelley’s numbers. Makea me wonder if we got another Seattle sore arm.

  23. jjyank says:

    Thanks for the entertainment to take my mind off of my aching shoulder everyone. Almonte is almost a non-prospect and they got a guy with MLB experience (and some success) to help out the real team if needed. Calm the hell down people. Or not. I may need more entertainment.

    • Govin says:

      I agree i think it was a good move.
      I’ll try to help.

      patient: Doctor Ive been suffering from short term memory loss.
      Doctor: Really how long has this been going on.
      patient: How long has what been going on.

      Patient: Doctor doctor I think I swallowed a spoon.
      Doctor: are you choking.
      patient: no Im serious.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        Not speaking for myself, as I am taken, but a couple of the guys here want to marry you.

      • Herby says:

        Time to trade you to the Mariners

      • jjyank says:

        Hah, thanks dude. I’ll be fine, I just joined a competitive dodgeball league a few weeks ago and my right arm isn’t used to throwing objects as hard as I can on a semi-regular basis.

        You catch on quick around these parts though.

        • Govin says:

          Thanks for the compliment JJ. I used to play dodgeball in school. I really enjoyed it (except for the time a six year old kid got me out, that was not fun)

          • jjyank says:

            It’s fun as hell. We play in racquetball courts too, so it’s really intense. I can always count on coming home to RAB to take my mind off the aches and pains in either direction (meaning amusing posts by normal people or laughing at stupid posts). Glad to see you join the ranks of the former. Come Game Thread time, we’ll need more of that when the Yankees are down by 2 runs in the first inning.

            • Govin says:

              Hopefully I’ll be able to stick around. This has been my favorite blog since I found it. Both because of the great job Mike does, and the other guys to a lesser extant, and because of some of the great posters.

  24. Robinson Tilapia says:

    Cashman thought he was getting Casey Kelly. Cashman failed.

  25. RetroRob says:

    Thanks heavens. Two Almonte’s was too confusing.

    I can’t say we kept the good one, since I’m not a fan of either.

    • Govin says:

      The first time I saw them on the thunder roster I checked everywhere to see if they were brothers.

      • RetroRob says:

        We’re all brothers if we go back far enough!

        The Yankees have a developing logjam with these guys (the two Almonte’s and Melky) with the real prospects in Heathcott, Williams and Austin, and then down a notch with Flores, needing space soon.

        It’s funny. When the Cliff Lee fell apart the media stories all talked about the fractured relationship between the Yankees and the Mariners. As usual, they had no idea what they were talking about. Cash and Jack are on speed dial!

  26. vicki says:

    shawn kelley for abe almonte. 117 comments.

  27. Cuso says:

    “What in the hell did you trade Abe Almonte for?!!”


  28. Grover says:

    Another wise move by Cashman.

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