Jamey Wright Rumors

Rangers Release Jamey Wright

The Rangers have released righty Jamey Wright, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports on Twitter. Wright would have been owed a $100K bonus to keep him in the minors.

Wright, 40, has spent 19 years in the big leagues. Last year, he tossed 70 1/3 frames for the Dodgers, putting up a 4.35 ERA with 6.9 K/9 against 3.5 BB/9. He is sure to draw interest given his long track record of durability and solid results.

AL Notes: Wright, Vazquez, Russell, Pelfrey

Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News writes Spring Training is broken. Grant suggests reversing the current reporting schedule of players with minor leaguers and non-roster invitees reporting at the beginning of camp and the 40-man roster showing up ten days later. Grant also proposes expanding the roster to 28 for the month of April with 25 designated as active for games. This would allow teams, Grant reasons, to carry more pitching in April, as the hurlers continue to build their durability.

In today’s news and notes from the American League:

  • In a separate article, Grant reports the Rangers have informed Jamey Wright he will not make the team, but the right-hander has decided to remain in camp. “If they change their minds, I’m still here,” said Wright, who is an Article XX(B) free agent. “But, if not, I’m showcasing for all the other teams.” As an Article XX(B) free agent, the Rangers must pay Wright a $100K retention bonus, if they decide to keep him in their organization.
  • Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez has an appointment with Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday increasing speculation his recent MRI results could lead to Tommy John surgery and the end to his season before it begins, according to Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal.
  • Despite the uncertain status of Vazquez, the Red Sox have not engaged the Blue Jays about Dioner Navarro, tweets CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman. With Vazquez’s injury, Heyman notes the Red Sox will give prized catching propsect Blake Swihart an extended look during the final week of Spring Training.
  • James Schmehl of MLive.com tweets he wouldn’t be surprised if the Tigers take a flyer on James Russell, even though the left-hander has had a terrible spring. The 29-year-old was released by the Braves Sunday morning.
  • The Tigers will only go as far as their veteran stars take them, but there is some important young talent on the roster and their performance could prove pivotal as the franchise bids for its fifth straight AL Central title, opines MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince.
  • Twins GM Terry Ryan did not address whether Mike Pelfrey has requested a trade in the wake of the right-hander’s comments yesterday after losing the battle for a rotation spot, tweets Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Pelfrey threw one inning of perfect relief against the Orioles today needing just eight pitches in lowering his spring ERA to 1.23.
  • Ryan Madson, in camp with the Royals on a minor league contract, calls his comeback from elbow injuries “a challenge” and knows he can pitch again at the MLB level, writes MLB.com’s Barry Bloom. “If it doesn’t happen here, I will see if there’s any other interest and will go from there,” said Madson, who has a May 1st opt-out. “I mean, I came in not knowing whether I could pitch on consecutive days or three times a week, and now I’m past that. I know what I can do and I want to pitch again in the Major Leagues.

Rangers Sign Jamey Wright To Minor League Contract

The Rangers have signed right-hander Jamey Wright to a minor league contract, the team announced in a press release.  The deal contains an invitation to Texas’ Major League Spring Training camp.  Wright will earn $1MM if he makes the Rangers’ big league roster, Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest reports (Twitter link).  Wright is represented by Excel Sports Management.

The well-traveled Wright has pitched for 10 different teams over his 19-year career, and this is his second stint in Texas, having previously pitched for the Rangers from 2007-08.  The team was known to be looking for bullpen depth options, though they’d recently been linked to left-handed options like Joe Thatcher and Phil Coke.

Wright threw 70 1/3 innings for the Dodgers last season, all but two of them (coming in a spot start) out of the bullpen.  Wright posted a 4.35 ERA, 6.91 K/9 and a 2.0 K/BB rate for the Dodgers, turning in reverse-splits numbers by limiting left-handed batters to a .620 OPS while allowing a .737 OPS against right-handed hitters.  The ground-ball specialist posted a 56.3% grounder rate last year, right in line with his 55.9% career mark.  Though Wright is entering his age-40 season, he is still very durable, having averaged 71 innings per season from 2008-14.

Quick Hits: Wright, Pedroia, Duquette

39-year-old Jamey Wright will start against the Cubs tomorrow for the Dodgers, with Dan Haren taking the ball Monday as the Dodgers scramble to find starters in the wake of Hyun-Jin Ryu‘s injury. Wright will presumably pitch a few innings, then be followed by a succession of relievers. As ESPN Los Angeles’ Mark Saxon tweets, Sunday will be only the second start for Wright in the past seven seasons. Wright has had a long second act as a reliever, and with reasonable numbers and the ability to pitch multiple innings, he’ll probably get another shot to pitch out of some team’s bullpen next season. It’s not as likely that he’ll get another chance as a starter, however. The Dodgers will be the eighth team for which he’s started, with his first start coming all the way back in 1996 as a 21-year-old with the Rockies. Here’s more from around the game.

  • At the end of his career, Derek Jeter is a “diminished product,” and a number of other franchises could soon watch their icons throughout long periods of decline, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. For example, the Mets still owe David Wright $107MM, and he’s in his early thirties and in the midst of a mediocre season. Sherman notes that Dustin Pedroia could turn out the same way for the Red Sox. That’s might not be such an obvious case, however — Pedroia’s offense is down this season, at .278/.337/.376, but he’s still produced a healthy 4.3 fWAR thanks to his strong defense. He is, however, signed through 2021.
  • Dan Duquette was the right choice to lead the Orioles, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald writes. Duquette wasn’t the Orioles’ top choice when they hired him in 2011 — other candidates were wary of working with owner Peter Angelos. Since then, though, they’ve been successful, easily winning the AL East title this season despite injuries to key players like Manny Machado and Matt Wieters. “What Duquette brought to the table was he was a magician … in terms of getting players who have been sent down from other organizations, fallen out of favor, maybe they’re not the prospects anymore, so they have that chip on their shoulder to succeed,” says outfielder Adam Jones.

NL West Notes: Butler, Rockies, Dodgers, Wright

The NL West makes a strong showing on Jim Bowden's list of the offseason's seven most underrated transactions (ESPN Insider account required).  The Giants and Dodgers combine for three of the seven moves, while the Diamondbacks find themselves on possibly the wrong end of one of the deals — Bowden believes the White Sox got the best end of the three-team Sox/D'Backs/Angels trade since Adam Eaton fills a big need in Chicago and Bowden doesn't rate Hector Santiago too highly.

Here are some more items from around the NL West…

  • The Rockies didn't push harder for more fifth starter depth since they didn't want to block right-handed pitching prospect Eddie Butler, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Sulia link).  Butler, the 46th overall pick of the 2012 draft, pitched very well last season, including an 0.65 ERA in 27 2/3 Double-A innings.  If he continues to progress next year, the Rockies could call Butler up by late May or early June.  Juan Nicasio and Jordan Lyles are currently slated to battle for the fifth spot in the Colorado rotation behind Jorge De La Rosa, Jhoulys Chacin, Tyler Chatwood and Brett Anderson, though Anderson's health history will create a need for depth.
  • The Rockies added Raul Fernandez to the 40-man roster rather than risk losing him in the Rule 5 draft, as Colorado has been cautious about losing even low A-ball prospects to the Rule 5 draft since the Padres took Everth Cabrera from their roster in 2008.  Baseball America's Jack Etkin profiles Fernandez, who owns a 96-mph fastball and projects as a back-end reliever.
  • Jamey Wright signed his first Major League contract since 2005 when he agreed to a one-year, $1.8MM deal with the Dodgers last week.  Fangraphs' Mike Petriello looks at how Wright has revived his career by adding a cutter to his arsenal, which led to more strikeouts and more success against right-handed batters.
  • Right-hander Javy Guerra has become little more than a minor league depth option for the Dodgers, and Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times opines that Guerra could become trade bait.  Guerra (who is out of options) emerged as the Dodgers' closer in 2011 but hasn't been nearly as effective since, pitching in just 10 2/3 Major League innings in 2013.

Dodgers Sign Jamey Wright

TUESDAY, 8:23pm: Wright's deal is worth $1.8MM, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.

1:55pm: The Dodgers confirmed the signing via press release.  Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times (on Twitter) confirms that it's a big league contract.

MONDAY, 4:38pm: The Dodgers are in agreement with right-hander Jamey Wright on a one-year deal, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times (on Twitter). Wright is represented by agent Casey Close of Excel Sports Management.

Wright, who will celebrate his 39th birthday tomorrow, was excellent in his age-38 season with the Rays, pitching to a 3.09 ERA with 8.4 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and a 50.8 percent ground-ball rate. The 70 innings were the most Wright had thrown since his 2009 campaign with the Royals. This will mark Wright's second stint with the Dodgers, as he also spent the 2011 season in Los Angeles' bullpen. Earlier this month it was reported that the veteran was choosing between returning to the Rays or returning to the Dodgers.

Wright is the second right-hander with whom the Dodgers have reached a one-year agreement today, as GM Ned Colletti also brought Chris Perez into the fold this morning. Wright will serve primarily a middle relief option for manager Don Mattingly, who continues to see his bullpen depth bolstered. The Dodgers parted ways with Ronald Belisario this offseason but re-signed Brian Wilson to pair with Kenley Jansen late in the game. The Dodgers' strong bullpen will also feature the likes of Paco Rodriguez and J.P. Howell. Brandon League will be in the mix as well, and while he struggled in 2013, he pitched to a 3.14 ERA over a three-year span from 2010-12. Right-hander Chris Withrow, who was outstanding as a rookie in 2013, is another option or could be included in a trade for a more established pitcher with Wright now on board.

Jamey Wright Choosing Between Rays, Dodgers

Jamey Wright's free agent choice will come down to his most recent two teams, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, who tweets that the right-hander is choosing between the Rays and the Dodgers.

Wright, 38, has been effective as a relief pitcher over the last two seasons, posting a 3.40 ERA and 7.8 K/9 in 132 total outings. He spent the 2012 season with the Dodgers before pitching for the Rays in 2013. He'll represent a low-cost, low-risk bullpen arm for whichever team lands him, considering he has signed for a base salary worth less than $1MM for each of the last several years.

Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reported earlier today that Wright was on the Dodgers' radar.

Dodgers Notes: Kemp, Ethier, Tanaka, Uribe, Wright

Matt Kemp may eventually get dealt this offseason, but it doesn't look like the Dodgers and Red Sox will reach an agreement involving the outfielder. We heard earlier this afternoon that Boston's talks for Kemp were unlikely to get serious, and Rob Bradford of WEEI.com backs that up, writing that there's "nothing to" the rumors of Boston's interest. Here's more on the Dodgers:

  • While Kemp probably won't be headed to the Red Sox, the Dodgers remain in discussions with four teams on trade possibilities involving him or Andre Ethier, tweets ESPN.com's Buster Olney.
  • The Dodgers will be interested in Masahiro Tanaka if and when he's posted, but that interest may be more lukewarm than exepected, says Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Shaikin hears from two sources familiar with the team's thinking that L.A. won't pursue Tanaka with the sort of "win-at-all-costs mentality" that marked the club's pursuit of Hyun-jin Ryu a year ago.
  • Having not heard back yet from free agent infielder Juan Uribe, the Dodgers are preparing to move on from him, reports Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com. GM Ned Coletti indicated that the team could shift its focus to acquiring a third baseman via trade.
  • Jamey Wright is on the Dodgers' radar as a potential long man, according to MLB.com's Ken Gurnick.

Rays Designate Robinson Chirinos, Stephen Vogt

The Rays have announced they have designated catchers Robinson Chirinos and Stephen Vogt for assignment. The Rays now have ten days to trade, release, or outright Chirinos and Vogt to the minors.

The moves were needed to open space on their 40-man roster for first baseman/DH Shelley Duncan and relievers Jamey Wright and Juan Carlos Oviedo. Oviedo was then transferred to the 60-day disabled list, as he continues his recovery from Tommy John surgery.

Duncan's promotion was necessitated by a right calf strain suffered by Luke Scott, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list. Executive VP of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman told reporters, including Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter), Duncan won the job due to his extra base-hit ability and because he adds value with his power.

Chirinos was acquired in the Matt Garza trade and appeared in 20 games for the Rays in 2011 producing a slash line of .218/.283/.309 in 60 plate appearances. He sat out the 2012 season due to a concussion.

Vogt, a 12th-round selection by the Rays in the 2007 draft, made his MLB debut last season, but went hitless in 25 at-bats. He has fared much better at the plate during his six-year minor league career (.290/.360/.448), including numbers of .272/.350/.424 in 396 plate appearances in 94 games at Triple-A Durham in 2012.

Article XX(B) Free Agents Update: Tuesday

Major League Baseball's new collective bargaining agreement contains a provision that allows certain free agents who are signed to minor league contracts to receive a $100K retention bonus if they are not on the team's 25-man roster or the Major League disabled list five days prior to the season.

Free agents who qualify for this distinction are those who have at least six years of Major League service time and had a Major League contract expire at the end of the previous season, but signed a minor league deal ten or more days prior to Opening Day.

MLBTR has confirmed with MLB that the deadline for teams to decide on these players is today at 11am central time. By the deadline, teams with these players in camp need to decide whether to:

  • Add the player to their 25-man roster or Major League disabled list (or agree to do so in writing).
  • Grant the player his outright release from the minor league contract so that he may pursue opportunities with other teams.
  • Pay the player a $100K retention bonus to keep him in the organization beyond the deadline and send him to the minors.

Here's the latest news from around the league on Article XX(B) signees and their roster statuses with their respective teams (newest updates on top).