The Yankees' bullpen makeover continued Monday with the trade of righthander Shawn Kelley to the Padres for Double-A righthander Johnny Barbato.
Kelley, 30, who earned $1.76 million in 2014, is due for a salary bump in his final year of arbitration but likely would have had a further marginalized bullpen role. The quick rise of Dellin Betances eventually bounced him from the setup job last season, and with Kelley due $2 million or so in 2015, the Yankees evidently didn't think he was necessary for the late-inning mix after signing Andrew Miller (four years, $36 million).
Kelley briefly filled in at closer last April for David Robertson, who was sidelined early by a groin strain, and finished 3-6 with a 4.53 ERA in a career-high 59 appearances. He also was 10th among AL relievers with 11.67 strikeouts per nine innings.
Barbato, 22, seems to figure into the Yankees' recent youth movement if he's healthy. He didn't pitch after June 10 because of an elbow injury but was effective when on the mound, with 16 saves and a 2.87 ERA as the closer for Double-A San Antonio. His status for the start of this season is unclear.
The Kelley trade also opens a spot on the Yankees' 40-man roster. They're currently at 39.