Shawn Kelley Traded to Yankees for OF Abe Almonte
The M’s sent right-handed reliever Shawn Kelley to New York in exchange for switch-hitting outfielder Abraham Almonte. The M’s DFA’d Kelley recently to add Kelly Shoppach, so the clock was ticking to get a deal done; if they hadn’t traded him by the end of the week, the M’s would have lost Kelley on waivers.
Abe Almonte will turn 24 this season and is a speedy OF who can switch hit. He was never a top prospect with the Yanks, in part because it’s taken him several years to rise to AA (he played in the Eastern League in 2012), because he missed nearly all of 2012 with a labrum problem, and in part because he has very little power. He doesn’t show much in the way of platoon splits, and posted a very good walk rate last year with Trenton. He’s seen by some as a very good defensive CF, especially given that he was originally signed as a 2B, but injuries and good-but-not-great production have kept him far away from top prospect lists. He’s been eligible in the Rule 5 draft for two years (I think) and hasn’t been picked, so this isn’t a steal or anything, but when you’re trying to trade a player you just DFA’d, you set your sights a bit lower.
Many (including me) had hoped the M’s may have tried to package Mike Carp and Kelley to get a slightly – *slightly* – better return, but it wasn’t to be. Still, I sincerely hope Abe Almonte’s healthy, that he’s able to build on a sneaky good year with Trenton (30 steals to 5 CS!), and that he becomes an effective lead-off man for Tacoma.