From’s Mark Feinsand. (link courtesy Maura Johnston)

The Yankees added pitching depth to their system on Friday when they traded Gary Sheffield to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for right-handers Humberto Sanchez, Kevin Whelan and Anthony Claggett.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, in picking up Sheffield’s contract option for next season, had been determined to make a deal for the outfielder, who became expendable when right fielder Bobby Abreu was acquired from the Phillies last July.

“This trade allows us to add three quality arms to our system,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said in a statement. “I wish Gary Sheffield and his family all the best as they move forward.”

Sheff might be pissed, but there’s some silver lining to all of this. The slugger has midwestern roots, having made so many friends in his early years with Milwaukee, and he’s again reunited with Jim Leyland, the skipper with whom he won a World Series ring in 1997 while with Florida. For the lovely DeLeon Richards-Sheffield, as we all know, she’s got some big fans in the Midwest, too (Chicago, in particular).