Pirates Sign RHP Trey Haley, Release Guido Knudson

The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed right-handed pitcher Trey Haley on a one-year deal, per a team press release. Haley is a hard thrower who was previously in the Cleveland Indians’ organization. He was a second round pick in 2008, and can throw 100 MPH, but has dealt with control problems throughout his career.

Last year he pitched in Double-A and Triple-A in the Indians’ organization, putting up great numbers in Double-A, but struggling in Triple-A. He had a 2.38 ERA in 34 innings in Double-A, with a 10.1 K/9 and a 2.9 BB/9. That did come in his fourth year at the level, as he also spent time in 2012-14 at the same level. He made his first jump to Triple-A, and the results didn’t go well. He did have a 2.57 ERA in 21 innings, but more importantly, he walked 21 batters, which doesn’t lead to the same results over the long-term.

Haley has a plus fastball that sits mid-90s and can hit triple digits. He also has a plus curveball. That combination makes him a high upside arm to watch for the bullpen, although the control makes him far from a guarantee. This is just another guy in what is becoming a trend this year for the Pirates to add high velocity right-handed relievers who have dealt with control problems. After signing Neftali Feliz yesterday, and Haley today, they have the following options who have hit 97 MPH or higher: Neftali Feliz, Juan Nicasio, Arquimedes Caminero, Rob Scahill, Yoervis Medina, John Holdzkom, Jorge Rondon, Trey Haley, and Curtis Partch. Six of those nine players were acquired this off-season, and they acquired Allen Webster as another option earlier in the off-season, before letting him go to Korea.

Haley was a minor league free agent, but the Pirates signed him to a MLB deal. This is the second minor league free agent they’ve signed to a MLB deal. The other was Jake Goebbert, who was signed earlier in the off-season as a bench option. These deals are pretty much the equivalent of waiver claims, with the exception that these guys have options remaining, allowing them to easily be placed in Triple-A. Haley has two options remaining.

There have been some injury problems with Haley, as he’s spent time on the disabled list every year since 2012. All of his injuries were minor, but that is something to watch, along with his control.

Overall, Haley is a high upside arm with no risk taken by the Pirates. That’s a common trend this off-season, and the hope is that one or two of these guys will step up to give the Pirates a really strong middle of the bullpen.

Update 5:00 pm: It looks like a roster spot was already open on Tuesday for this move(or Perez) as pitcher Guido Knudson was released two days ago. When he was picked up on waivers, he seemed like the type who would probably be put on waivers later in the off-season to open up a spot. Knudson didn’t have much of a chance to make the Pirates and they have picked up a lot of big arms this off-season since claiming Knudson, so he fell even further down the depth chart.

  • Man, this team is holding onto Florimon like it’s a fat kid and he’s an ice cream cone.

  • MLB deal means he will cost league minimum for a pre-arb player? It’s unprecedented. I’ve never seen a guy this extra-ish get an MLB deal.

  • Guido, we hardly “Knud” you. That ones for Lee.

  • Geedo we hardly knew you. They dropped him
    like Fredo Corleone from his row boat into Lake Tahoe! Dam Neil Sollozo

  • Tim Williams, what do they see in Scahill? Could of swore he was next on the chopping block?

  • I’m celebrating National Bobble Head Day with my bobbing “Winlsow Homer Bobble Head”. He “played” on the rocky coast of Maine, with paints and canvass. I have “it” proudly sitting on my mahogany desk, from my grandfather from the 1940s….But, I’d rather have a Roberto Clemente bobble head – any body want to trade their Roberto for my WInslow?

  • This feels to me like a move for next year more than this year, a guy who might be able to step in to replace Feliz/Nicasio next season. We’ll have a year to see if he’s a guy who can do it, and to get him comfortable with the team’s approach to pitching.

  • Yikes. 399 IP in the minors. 358 H. 287 BB. 380 K. 1.617 WHIP. 4.76 ERA.

  • I don’t mind the move at all. Sounds like caminero with options. Should have focused on these types of deals over bigger money Perez type bullpen signings and allocated more money to the rotation

  • Please no St.Ray Searage the miracle dust worker from West Liberty will fix him comments.

  • The more the merrier!

  • Hmm. Chris Carter signed with Brewers and NH said most likely Melancon is the closer. 0-2, Arthur.

    • Carter-Alvarez pseudo platoon would be f*cking awesome in Miller Park tho

      • Baltimore bound if Davis doesn’t resign.

      • From a fan standpoint that would b awesome to watch

        • And frankly, for a team that isn’t going to have a chance of contending, what would be the downside? You could probably get Alvarez for as much or less than Carter and if I was a betting man I wouldn’t go near even odds the current Bucco platoon outhits them. They’d also be terrible at fielding and probably no more than a hair above replacement overall, but again, not exactly something a team like the 2016 Brewers has to worry about.

          40 bombs between the two of them at least would catch some fan attention.

      • Especially for those who make baseball blooper reels.

        • And all the bratwurst they can eat.

          • Anxiously awaiting Boras explanation for what happened to Pedro’s value. He’s been pretty quiet. Normally he is talking up his crew and indicating which teams would be wise to pay big bucks for Pedro but nary a syllable. Guess he has to focus on finding Chris Davis a home (and a new pharmacy) first.

            • Lipstick on a pig, is still a pig. Not even Boras could sell that. Boras is smart. I’m sure he realizes what he has in Pedro. Getting him to be an AL DH to rebuild value would be the best thing for him. I’m surprised a team on the bottom doesn’t take a chance at him and see if they can fix his D at third.

    • I’m as confused about what Milwaukee is trying to do as I am about Cincinnati.

      Damn, it’s good to be out of the basement and away from decision makers like those.

      • My only thing with that Brewer 1st base thing: They apparently did not think much of Jason Rogers.

        • A starting CF and a young 2nd Round SP? 3 or 4 years ago the Pirates would have been all over it from the other side of that trade. Does that mean we have arrived?

          • I think they were better off hanging on to Supak.

          • If “arrived” means acquiring 28 yo year rookies then hoooweee welcome to the big show.

          • I didn’t like that trade…at all…but I don’t think the Pirates gave up much.

            I loved seeing Broxton turn himself around…he wasn’t going to be anything in P’Burgh though…and, really, he may be a starter, but only on a bad team. On a quality roster, he doesn’t crack the top-3.

            Supek? He may amount to something…but he’s at least three years away and there are going to be plenty of bumps in the road.

            That said…I think those pieces were more valuable than what the Pirates got in return.

            I’d like to be proved wrong…hopefully I am…but Rogers just doesn’t impress me.

            • I was more disappointed that another million dollar high school arm left the organization with marginal, if any, impact than disappointed in losing Supak himself. More fuel to the prep arm dumpster fire.

              • I’m surprised they had to give up Supak at all in that deal…and I think the Pirates are too…

                Hence the reason for running out and signing another Trey so quickly…


              • I’m with you on this one NMR. I have no problem with acquiring prep arms and treating them at some point for a veteran who will impact the team . Is Rogers going to impact this team is Rogers going to even make this team what position will Rogers play on this team I’m pretty sure all his positions are filled by others.
                So we traded talent for what is Rogers a utility guy know I know he has a bat I just can’t see his bat winning a spot on the roster unless they move someone else .

      • I live 45 minutes from Milwaukee and work across the Interstate from Miller Park. I say that to say this, Brewers fans, for the most part, could care less if the team wins or loses, and long as they provide entertainment. They don’t care about OBP, or OPS, and definitely don’t care about WAR. They care about fun, they love homeruns, beer and brats. Going to a game is an event for them. They show up 3 hours early so that they can tailgate, they have a 50/50 raffle and the stupid ass sausage race, they care more about who wins that race, than they do who wins the game.
        There are a few that are diehard fans that want to see the team succeed, but I would say that better than 60% just care that they are around .500 come September.
        So as for the signing of CC, if he can hit a bunch of homeruns, they will love him, they may wish he hit for a little better average, but my goodness, if he can hit 30 homers, he will be loved. Yes, that is exactly how they think.
        For the record, they HATE this new young GM, he has no clue what he is doing, they are OK with the trades, but why can’t they get major league ready players in return? Yes, major league ready prospects for 1 year of Adam Lind and Jason Rogers, that would have been fair.

        • Very interesting perspective.

          The only thing that makes me scratch my head in the “prospects for Rogers”. I’m kinda guessing that Broxton has a 50/50 shot to be a regular in the OF…Santana may keep him out, but maybe not. I think he’ll do just fine on a team like the Brewers and contribute more than Rogers would have for the team.

  • So I guess the plan is to sign a lot of guys who have “high upside” that their old teams never found a way to develop into anything close to MLB value and sprinkle them with Pirate Magic Pixie Dust and hope for a miracle.

    Investing in players like Park – or Bastardo for slightly more $$$ is not nearly as much fun or challenging

    • JoseGuillensArm
      January 7, 2016 4:14 pm

      Bastardo is looking for 3 years at ~$6 mil annually so I don’t know how that is a marginal difference…

      • Proven MLB pitcher – lefty – control for 3 years vs AA righty for a year – I don’t know I think a real team would prefer the first over the second…

        • We can disagree with process and evaluation of this guy, but “real team” is a dumb way to phrase it since it implies PGH isnt a real team because it doesnt regularly pay relievers in FA 6 AAV.

          Considering this guy is likely to make league minimum, thats a large difference. Id love Bastardo, but he aint worth 6 million to PGH. BOS can be the “real” team paying relievers market price all they want.

        • Real “smart” teams don’t pay $6mm/year for 3 years to a former PED user who’s a little long in the tooth to pitch the 7th inning.

          • To be fair to this idea, PGH isnt without a former PED user as it is.

            Not sure fans of any team should get sanctimonious about a player with a PED history since its likely each team has or will have a guy like that on the roster in any given year.

            • Scott Kliesen
              January 7, 2016 7:52 pm

              Agreed. Pirates organization is neck deep in drug problems going all the way back to the cocaine days of early 80’s.

              As long as teams keep giving lucrative contracts to PED users like Bastardo and many others, there will be PED’s in the game.

          • When MLB gets serious about PEDs it might matter – really hypocritical when PED enablers like LaRussa are in the HOF and Bonds/McGwire/Clemens are not…

            • Scott Kliesen
              January 7, 2016 7:44 pm

              I mentioned PED’s because if he gets caught again he’s out for year.

              As for HOF, I’m with you. Voters are hypocrites. It appears to me they will vote for PED users if they were nice to them in the locker room.

              I’m of the opinion many voters are against Bonds getting in because he’s an ass, and just using his PED charges as an excuse.

              • Right on. Also, I have no idea if he did peds or not but, it always seemed Griffey got a free pass from any ped speculation just because people loved him and he did good interviews.

                Dudes career was wrecked by injury with torn muscles and ligaments, etc. IIRC what I’ve read, those all could be steroid use symptoms.

                The hof should be about who was great at baseball.

        • A real team? As opposed to the fake 98 wins and three straight playoffs? I agree with your sentiment, not the hyperbole.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    January 7, 2016 3:15 pm

    MLB contract – so I assume he is on the 40 man and will be in Spring Training with the big club?
    How old is he….25/26??

  • I assume, not on 40 man roster?

    Not invited to spring training?

  • I don’t mind the signing, but the thing I’m concerned most about is who is removed from the 40 man roster to make room. That’s why I most would’ve preferred a minor league contract.

    If Tony Sanchez, a once top prospect, was expendable yesterday, who is valued even more than him and will leave now?

    • They’ve got plenty of guys who could be safely optioned…Florimon comes to mind.

    • I bet its Pedro Florimon…they already have Gift…no need for 2 guys like that.

    • Florimon is my guess as well, and while I think the team would like to carry another reserve middle infielder on the bench throughout the season (other than Sean Rodriuez), I’m sure there are better options for Opening Day (Gift being one of them).

    • I’ll help Scahill pack.

    • piraterican21
      January 7, 2016 3:04 pm

      Have the same concern, roster stands at 41, maybe ngope?

      • I would hope we would part with Florimon before Ngoepe. We know what Florimon is at the big league level. Let’s at least give Gift a chance after spending years in the minors and finally making it to where he can be considered for the roster.

    • BuccosFanStuckinMD
      January 7, 2016 3:16 pm

      we had a few stiffs on that 40 man, at least we did heading into the Rule 5 draft…

  • I feel like the starters in Indy are gonna be pissed when the bullpen down there walks their quality starts away constantly. All these wild bullpen arms are going to be a problem until they can turn them around.

  • Several of these guys share common characteristics….high velocity, high strikeout, high walk rates. Unless he shines in spring training (and who knows he might), he’ll likely start in AAA and they’ll work on his control. If they can do that, he could be another weapon available for the bullpen.

  • Mayne Juan Nicasio will be the long man and spot starter this season

  • This sounds like Ernesto Frieri 2.0 to me. Has some good tools, but hasn’t ever had control of them. Hopefully I’m wrong, but this isnt a guy who has had passed success at the MLB level. It might work it might not, but IMO, this wasnt worth the 40-man spot.

  • Melancon to dodgers ,for a lefty reliever and prospects. maybe 3 team trade. This is just my opinion.

  • Throws really hard but very wild. Sounds like a great guy to use against Rizzo, Coghlan, etc. the first time we face the Cubs.

  • Read he throws 4 seamer upper 90s, 2 seamer good movement. Throws hard, gets hit hard. Health issues.

    Hey, their mold. They’ve fixed him before. Some pedigree too. Feels like Blake Wood.

  • Wilbur Miller
    January 7, 2016 2:15 pm

    This is a major league deal? A guy who’s never reached the majors?

    • Can still send him down. He has options remaining. Not the only team to do it this off-season.

    • I was going to say the same thing. I hope this is a minor league deal, or at least league minimum.

  • They must be getting ready for a Melancon trade, they’re filling up the bullpen with these guys and we still need another lefty in the pen.

    • Sure feels that way. Hughes and Watson are going to end up as the soft tossers of the pen at 93-95. Lol

    • Why trade Melancon? They are still in their perceived budget, and don’t have any glaring holes that need to be filled. There are positions that we would all like to see upgraded, but that is different from needing to be filled.