The Yankees flipped a young outfield prospect with a history of shoulder and hamstring issues for a relief pitcher that was once kicked in the face by his own teammate. On the surface, this is one of those trades that means very little. It is doubtful Abraham Almonte ever turns into Mike Trout much in the same way it is doubtful that Shawn Kelley ever turns into Craig Kimbrel. However, this is the type of late winter trade news that is begging for a bit of brief over analysis. To the Excel Cave!

The Good

Shawn Kelley, a lifer in the Mariners organization until now, actually has decent strikeout potential, averaging 8.5K/9 over 128 career big league innings. Strikeouts are good and strikeouts by relievers are a very valuable commodity. Kelley’s swinging strike percentage in 2012 was above the league average for qualified pitchers. He essentially throws two pitches, a fastball and a slider, each of which demonstrated an above average whiff rate in 2012. Last year wasn’t a fluke with regards to strikeouts as he has shown good punchout ability throughout the minors.

The Bad

Shawn Kelley puts the ball in the air at an above average rate. His FB% was over 15% higher than the league average for qualified relievers in 2012. To a certain extent this seems to be asking for it in Yankee Stadium. While Kelley posted an above average HR/FB ratio in 2012, how much of this could be attributed to the fact that he got to pitch in cavernous Safeco where even your grandmother had a fighting chance of keeping the ball in the park?

So what’s the takeaway here? On the one hand this could be a very ninja move wherein Cashman gets a relatively cheap reliever with strikeout shutdown potential. On the other hand, fans in the stands might want to consider preemptively shielding their heads when Kelley is on the mound.