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Bucs sign righty reliever Haley to 1-year deal

Hard thrower likely to begin season at Triple-A
MLB.com

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates added another hard-throwing reliever to their roster Thursday, signing right-hander Trey Haley to a one-year contract.

Haley, 25, spent last season in the Indians' Minor League system. He went 4-4 with one save, a 2.45 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 43 relief appearances between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus.

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates added another hard-throwing reliever to their roster Thursday, signing right-hander Trey Haley to a one-year contract.

Haley, 25, spent last season in the Indians' Minor League system. He went 4-4 with one save, a 2.45 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 43 relief appearances between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus.

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To clear a spot for Haley on their 40-man roster, the Pirates released right-hander Guido Knudson, according to the club's transactions page. Pittsburgh claimed Knudson off waivers from Detroit in November.

Haley began his career as a starter, but has primarily pitched in relief since 2011. A Minor League free agent signed to a big league deal, Haley has only pitched in 18 games above the Double-A level, none of them in the Majors. He will likely compete for a bullpen spot in Spring Training and begin the season with Triple-A Indianapolis.

Selected by Cleveland in the second round of the 2008 Draft, Haley owns a 20-30 record and 4.76 ERA over eight Minor League seasons. He throws a high-octane fastball, which has touched 100 mph and sits in the mid-90s range. He has posted high strikeout totals -- 8.6 per nine innings in his career -- but struggled with his command, walking 6.5 per nine innings.

In that regard, Haley's signing continues two recent trends for the Pirates. 

They have continued to bet on their ability to help hard-throwing pitchers with previous control problems, a strength they've shown throughout their three-year run of success, most recently with reliever Arquimedes Caminero. And they have seemingly targeted velocity each year under general manager Neal Huntington, particularly this offseason.

In 2007, the Pirates ranked 24th in the Majors with an average fastball velocity of 90.4 mph. Since then, as velocity has continued to tick up throughout baseball, Pittsburgh has consistently climbed toward the top of the leaderboard.

Last year, its staff recorded the highest average fastball velocity in the Majors at 94 mph, according to PITCHf/x data. Pittsburgh has ranked in the top 10 in terms of average velocity each of the past three seasons, from 10th in 2013 (92.5 mph) to third in '14 (93.2) then first a year ago.

So far this winter, the Pirates have added several hard-throwing relievers to their bullpen competition, including Neftali Feliz, Juan Nicasio and Yoervis Medina. They also acquired another in Allen Webster, but eventually released him so he could pursue a career in Korea

Now, you can add Haley's name to the list of big arms in the Pirates' stable of hard-throwing relievers.

Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pittsburgh Pirates