The Yankees announced that they’ve traded right-hander Johnny Barbato to the Pirates in exchange for a player to be named later or cash. Barbato was designated for assignment by the Yankees last week. THe Bucs entered the day with a pair of open spots on their 40-man roster, so a corresponding move isn’t required. Pittsburgh announced that Barbato has been optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis.
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The 24-year-old Barbato, originally acquired in the trade that sent right-hander Shawn Kelley to San Diego, struggled in his Major League debut with the Yanks last season, as he surrendered 11 runs in 13 innings of work. On the plus side, Barbato did post an impressive 15-to-5 K/BB ratio in that short time while averaging 94.6 mph on his fastball. Barbato’s numbers in Triple-A last season were solid as well: a 2.61 ERA with 9.1 K/9, 4.3 BB/9 and a 46.3 percent ground-ball rate in 48 1/3 frames.
There’s no immediate room in the Pittsburgh bullpen for Barbato, as manager Clint Hurdle’s relief corps is fairly well set with Tony Watson (the current closer), Daniel Hudson, Felipe Rivero, Juan Nicasio, Antonio Bastardo, Trevor Williams and long man Wade LeBlanc providing a nice blend of both left- and right-handed options. Bastardo has gotten off to a rough start, but his $6.5MM salary probably gives him a bit of a leash to right the ship. For now, Barbato will join relievers such as A.J. Schugel and Pat Light on a Triple-A pitching staff that is fairly well stocked with depth options for the big league pitching staff (both in the bullpen and in the rotation).