Shawn Kelley has 120 games under his belt and yet he is still just 28 years old. He could be the type of "bridge-the-gap" player to help the New York Yankees get the ball into Mariano Rivera's hands when they have a lead. That's the plan at least now that New York has acquired Kelley from the Seattle Mariners.
Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times says the Yankees acquired Kelley for Double-A outfielder Abraham Almonte. The deal is expected to benefit both sides as the Yankees could use further bullpen depth and the Mariners need outfield help. The Yankees are exchanging player control and youth for a proven pitcher in Kelley.
Kelley was drafted by the Mariners in the 13th round of the 2007 draft. He has spent the last four seasons in Seattle working out of the bullpen. In his time there, Kelley has posted a 3.52 ERA. The righty can be used in spot situations and long relief if necessary. In fact, Kelley has some emergency starts under his belt in the minors (four total). He has four years of team control left and a minor league option left. This is certainly a good move for the Yankees who hope they are set with their current outfield and believe the future of their outfield still lies waiting in the minors.
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Almonte has yet to make it to Triple-A, but it should not be much longer. He posted nice numbers at Double-A Trenton last season. Almonte is a international signee. The Yankees had hoped he could develop into one of their future outfielders, but after seven minor league seasons, the team seemed tired of waiting. In his minor league career, Almonte has hit .263/.340/.388. He has speed as proven by his 176 stolen bases.
In many cases, a trade will have a clear-cut winner. This trade does not have one. It could easily benefit both sides equally. While Almonte has taken longer than most would like to develop, he is still just 23 years old. He's got plenty of time to become a fixture in the Mariners' outfield for years to come. Kelley is simply ready now, which the Yankees will need as they look to defend their American League East crown.