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Twins get pitcher Justin Haley, lose catcher Stuart Turner in Rule 5 draft

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The Twins got creative with their number one pick in the Rule 5 draft, flipping him for the Angels’ number eight pick.

MLB: Winter Meetings
You won’t believe this, but our photo library doesn’t have any pictures of the Rule 5 draft!
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The MLB Rule 5 Draft took place this morning at 8:00 am CT, and was completed less than 40 minutes later. Since the Twins sucked the most in 2016, they got to pick first, and selected RHP Miguel Diaz from the Brewers.

But the plan was never to keep Diaz.

Instead, the Twins flipped Diaz to the Padres—but not for the Padres number three pick, Allen Cordoba (claimed from the Cardinals). Instead, the Padres traded for the Angels’ number eight pick, Justin Haley (claimed from the Red Sox), and traded that guy back to the Twins for Diaz.

Why didn’t the Twins just pick Haley first, if that’s what they eventually ended up with? It’s a fair question, but one that probably makes more sense with 20/20 hindsight. The Twins could have originally planned to do something else, but the way the picks fell, that plan didn’t pan out. We really don’t know the full story.

So anyway, the Twins ended up with 25-year-old RHP Justin Haley. Haley started 26 of the 27 games he pitched in last year between AA and AAA for the Red Sox. Over 146.2 total innings pitched in 2016, Haley posted a 3.01 ERA with 126 strike outs and a 1.12 WHIP. He’s tall (6’5”!) and said to have good deception and a good downhill plane. Although his fastball isn’t said to be that fast, it apparently spins well and gets “a lot of awkward swings and misses,” according to Thad Levine. His curve and change-up project as at least major league average.

As a Rule 5 pick, Haley will have to stay on the Twins 25-man active roster for all of 2017.

At least this new front office is being creative.

Reds claim Stuart Turner

The Twins lost one player in the Rule 5 draft—catcher Stuart Turner, who was claimed by the Reds. Turner hit .239/.322/.363 with 22 doubles and six home runs in 97 games for the Chattanooga Lookouts last season. Considering the Twins already have Jason Castro, John Ryan Murphy, and Mitch Garver on their 40-man roster, they can certain absorb the loss of Turner, who was strong defensively but weak with the bat.

Now we just have to see if he can really stay on the Reds’ active roster for the entire 2017 season.