NATIONAL HARBOR, MD. – Justin Haley has a reason to never forget the 2016 Rule 5 draft.
He began the day as a member of the Red Sox and ended it with the Twins. But to get to the Twins, the righthanded pitcher was briefly shipped to the Angels and then sent to the Padres.
Four teams. Four different divisions. In a span of a couple of hours.
It was part of a crazy Rule 5 draft, during which the Twins dealt the first overall pick and Padres kept making moves until they landed the first three players selected in the draft. The Twins needed an hour after the draft before they could announce the deal — so all the players and their agents could be notified and have the complexities of the deals explained.
Haley, 25, seemed to take the news in stride.
"What an exciting morning," wrote Haley on Twitter (@justincasehaley). "I had been with the same team for my entire five-year career, and in the span of an hour I had been with four. I owe a huge thank you to Boston for giving my career its start. For the past five years, you guys have been my family away from my family and the organization where I've grown so much as a player. Not to mention that without my guys, I never would have met my wife.
"I'm so incredibly honored and humbled for this opportunity with the Minnesota Twins. I'm so fired up. The real work starts now."
The Twins selected righthander Miguel Diaz with the top pick but agreed to trade him to the Padres. The Angels, with the 10th overall pick, selected Haley but then dealt him to San Diego for cash or a player to be named later.
The Padres then flipped Haley — plus a player to be named later or cash — to the Twins for Diaz. The Twins, more than likely, will receive cash and not another player.
"That was a calculated decision on our part," Twins General Manager Thad Levine said. "That's where it was very appealing to us to know that we would still be able to get Haley in this deal. It was speculative. We didn't know he if would still be there at that juncture."
Haley was 13-10 with a 3.01 ERA between Class AA Portland and Class AAA Pawtucket last season. In 146⅔ innings, he struck out 126, walked 45 and gave up only nine home runs. In fact, he's given up only 0.5 home runs per nine innings in his minor league career.
He throws a low-90s fastball, a slider and a curve.
"He is one of those guys who can pitch up in the zone with a fastball above the barrel," Levine said. "He has very good deception. He's had success throughout the minor leagues."
The Twins believe Haley can be used in long relief, short relief or as a spot starter, versatility that makes him a good Rule 5 option. Since 2007, the Twins have made Rule 5 selections six times — all on righthanded pitchers.
Under baseball's rules, the player selected has to remain with the Twins for the entire 2017 season, or be offered back to his former team for half of the $50,000 draft price.
The Twins lost catcher Stuart Turner to the Reds in the second round of the major league phase of the draft. He was a third-round pick in 2013.
Haley was drafted by the Red Sox in the sixth round out of Fresno State. While he was at Class A Lowell (Mass.) in 2012 and Class A Greenville (S.C.) in 2013, his pitching coach was former Twins righthander Paul Abbott.
Cleveland actually first drafted Haley out of high school in the 46th round in 2010. Twins Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey was with the Indians at the time.
"I certainly remembered him — particularly what I knew about the makeup," Falvey said. "But that wasn't a factor in his selection [Thursday]. Our guys have really liked him as a good fit for us."