Wesley Wright Rumors

Angels Designate Alfredo Marte, Drew Rucinski

The Angels announced that they’ve designated outfielder Alfredo Marte and right-hander Drew Rucinski for assignment in order to clear space on their 40-man roster for September callups (Twitter link). Among that wave of September moves is left-hander Wesley Wright, whose contract has been selected to the 40-man roster.

Marte, 26, has spent most of the season at the Triple-A level, where he’s posted a strong .313/.377/.465 batting line, albeit in the very hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. He received eight plate appearances with the big league club in 2015 and has spent time in the Majors in each of the past three seasons, totaling a .181/.249/.284 line in 170 plate appearances.

Rucinski, also 26, made four appearances (one start) for the Halos this season and allowed six runs on 10 hits and six walks with four strikeouts in seven innings of work. After an outstanding season in Double-A last year, Rucinski was hit hard at the Triple-A level in 2015, posting a 5.76 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 106 1/3 innings.

Wright, 30, began the season with the Orioles after agreeing to a one-year, $1.7MM free agent contract. He spent the 2014 season with the Cubs and enjoyed good success as a member of the Chicago bullpen, making him a somewhat surprising non-tender. Last year, Wright pitched to a 3.17 ERA with 6.9 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and a 52.1 percent ground-ball rate while holding opposing lefties to a .273/.321/.273 batting line. He battled shoulder woes earlier in the season which limited him to 1 2/3 innings with Baltimore. He signed a minor league deal with the O’s in late July.

Angels Sign Wesley Wright To Minor League Deal

The Angels have signed left-hander Wesley Wright to a minor league contract, according to a tweet from Wright’s representatives at Reynolds Sports Management. The veteran reliever will report to Triple-A Salt Lake for the time being.

Wright, 30, began the season with the Orioles after agreeing to a one-year, $1.7MM free agent contract. He spent the 2014 season with the Cubs and enjoyed good success as a member of the Chicago bullpen, making him a somewhat surprising non-tender. Last year, Wright pitched to a 3.17 ERA with 6.9 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and a 52.1 percent ground-ball rate while holding opposing lefties to a .273/.321/.273 batting line.

In 2015, though, Wright has been plagued by a strain and inflammation in his left shoulder. He spent three months on the disabled list before being activated and promptly designated for assignment. Wright tossed just 1 2/3 innings for the Orioles this year but has been a reasonably effective relief pitcher for much of his career.

Dating back to 2011, Wright has a 3.27 ERA with 8.4 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9 in 168 innings of relief between the Astros, Cubs, Rays and Orioles. He could emerge as a left-handed relief option for the Angels, who currently have lefties Cesar Ramos and Jose Alvarez pitching well in the bullpen.

Minor MLB Transactions: 7/22/15

Here are some recent minor moves from around the game:

  • The Mariners have acquired Triple-A reliever Tyler Knigge from the Phillies in exchange for cash, Jake Kaplan of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports on Twitter. Knigge, 26, was a 12th-rounder back in 2010 that has advanced as far as Triple-A. He’s spent time there in both 2014 and 2015, working to a 4.89 ERA with 5.5 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9 in 70 innings. His numbers at Double-A and Class-A Advanced were markedly better.
  • Braves reliever David Carpenter was outrighted to Triple-A after clearing waivers, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. Carpenter — not to be confused with the former Atlanta reliever and current Nationals reliever of the same name — has worked 3 2/3 innings in the bigs this season and 46 2/3 innings at the Major League level as a whole. He’s struggled to a 5.40 ERA, though the 27-year-old has a more palatable 2.73 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 over the life of his minor league career.
  • The Dodgers recently released righty Ryan Buchter after he opted out of his deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). The 28-year-old notched a stellar 1.65 ERA with 39 strikeouts against 16 walks in 32 2/3 innings at Triple-A this season.
  • And the Rays released infielder Vince Belnome, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports on Twitter. The 27-year-old Belnome has been solid throughout most of his Triple-A tenure, but he’s slumped to a triple-slash of just .169/.293/.225 in 191 plate appearances this season.
  • The Brewers announced yesterday that they’ve signed lefty Jeremy Horst and released right-hander John Ely. Horst, 29, saw a fairly significant amount of Major League action from the 2011-13 seasons with the Reds and Phillies. He has a career 3.32 ERA with 8.7 K/9 against 4.0 BB/9 in 72 2/3 innings. Horst began the season with the Dodgers’ Double-A affiliate, where he tallied a 1.64 ERA with 42 strikeouts against 16 unintentional walks in 38 1/3 innings. As for Ely, the now-29-year-old Ely logged 115 2/3 innings with the Dodgers from 2010-12 but hasn’t appeared in the bigs since. Injuries have played a role in his absence from the league, but he also struggled to a 7.42 ERA in 13 1/3 innings between Rookie ball and Triple-A this season.

Orioles Release Wesley Wright

JULY 22: The Orioles announced that Wright has been released. The Reynolds Sports Management client is free to sign with any club.

JULY 15: The Orioles have designated lefty Wesley Wright for assignment, the team announced. The MLB.com transactions page first cited the move. Wright had been on the 60-day DL, but now hits DFA limbo immediately upon being activated.

Wright, 30, only made it into two big league games this year after signing a one-year, $1.7MM free agent deal with Baltimore. Shoulder issues have plagued the southpaw, who has struggled to a 7.71 ERA in ten rehab appearances at Triple-A, striking out five and walking seven in 11 2/3 innings. Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com adds that Wright has struggled to regain his usual velocity.

Last year, Wright was an effective member of the Cubs bullpen. Over 48 1/3 frames, he put up a 3.14 ERA with 6.9 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and a 52.1 percent ground-ball rate. Wright was especially dominant against opposing lefties, and should get another look from a team in need of depth in that specialty.

AL Notes: Twins, Bonilla, Rua, Wright

Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com runs down the laundry list of less-than-productive pitchers who have logged significant innings for the Twins in recent years after being acquired via trade, claim, or free agency. It is, as Mackey notes, not a happy read for Minnesota faithful.

Here’s more from the American League:

  • The Rangers have lost another pitcher to Tommy John surgery, as righty Lisalverto Bonilla will need the procedure, Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports on Twitter. Bonilla, 24, threw 20 2/3 innings (including three starts) for the injury-ravaged Texas club last year. He has split his time as a professional evenly between starting and relief, and looked like a useful depth piece for the club.
  • Rangers outfielder Ryan Rua, meanwhile, has a fracture in his right foot, Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest tweets. He will be in a walking boot for at least three weeks, and will obviously need some time after that to get back up to speed.
  • The Orioles learned today that they will be without lefty Wesley Wright for four to six weeks, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun tweets. He will require rest, but not surgery, after an MRI found shoulder inflammation. Baltimore has another southpaw in its current pen mix in Brian Matusz, along with lefty closer Zach Britton, and can also call upon T.J. McFarland from Triple-A.

Minor Moves: Florimon, Peguero, Adrianza, Tracy

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league.

  • Reds pitcher Raisel Iglesias will make his major league debut tomorrow, writes Jason Haddix for MLB.com. He’ll be opposed by Cardinals hurler Carlos Martinez. The Reds committed to a seven-year, $27MM contract with Iglesias during the 2014 season.
  • The Orioles selected the contract of knuckleballer Eddie Gamboa, writes Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com. Wesley Wright was added to the disabled list in a corresponding move. Gamboa, 30, had yet to reach the majors although he figures to bounce back and forth this year. He’ll serve as depth in case Kevin Gausman is needed in long relief in the next couple games.
  • Pirates utility man Pedro Florimon has cleared waivers, tweets Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He has been outrighted to Triple-A. Per Brink (also Twitter), since Florimon has been outrighted before, he can decline and become a free agent. Brink is told no decision has been made.
  • The Rangers have announced that they’ve selected the contract of corner outfielder Carlos Peguero and recalled pitcher Jon Edwards. They’ve also moved Derek Holland (shoulder) to the 60-day disabled list and Ryan Rua (ankle) to the 15-day disabled list. Peguero is in the Rangers’ lineup tonight. The 28-year-old Peguero has played briefly, and not particularly impressively, for the Mariners and Royals in parts of four big-league seasons, but he’s demonstrated serious power in the minors (with 30 homers for Triple-A Omaha last year) and in Spring Training.
  • The Giants have outrighted infielder Ehire Adrianza to Triple-A Sacramento, MLB.com’s Chris Haft tweets. The team designated Adrianza for assignment last week. Adrianza, 25, hit .237/.279/.299 in 106 plate appearances while playing mostly shortstop and second base for the Giants last season.
  • The Yankees have announced that they’ve promoted lefty Matt Tracy. To clear space for Tracy on the 25- and 40-man rosters, the Yankees optioned lefty Chasen Shreve to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and moved Ivan Nova to the 60-day disabled list. Tracy will need to be added to the Yankees’ 40-man roster. Tracy’s stay on the roster could turn out to be short, however — the Yankees can use some quick bullpen reinforcements after their 19-inning game against the Red Sox last night, and Tracy would presumably join the team for that purpose. The 26-year-old posted a 3.76 ERA with 5.3 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 150 2/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A last year.
  • Two players remain in DFA limbo, via MLBTR’s DFA Tracker: lefty Sam Freeman (Rangers) and outfielder Carlos Quentin (Braves).

Rosenthal’s Latest: Rays, Utley, D-Backs, Matusz

Here are the highlights from an enormous notes post by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:

  • There’s the potential for lots of trade activity between now and Opening Day, with an unusual number of teams with logjams at particular positions. But there aren’t many good pitching options, and many teams are already close to their payroll limits.
  • The Rays are one of several teams looking for starting pitching, but they’re currently focusing their efforts on depth, figuring they only need to cover for injured starters Alex Cobb and Drew Smyly for a month or so.
  • If the Phillies struggle early in the year, trade whispers involving Chase Utley could grow louder, with the Padres, Angels and possibly Giants looming as potentially interested teams. Utley would, of course, have to waive his no-trade clause, but he has West Coast roots.
  • The Diamondbacks are currently unwilling to trade Mark Trumbo, but that could change if they become dissatisfied with their outfield defense.
  • The Orioles discussed trading lefty Brian Matusz to the Rangers before Texas acquired Sam Freeman, and have listened to other clubs interested in Matusz as well. But the Nationals might be more willing than the Orioles to trade a lefty reliever — some within the Orioles see Matusz as a better option than either T.J. McFarland or Wesley Wright.

Orioles To Sign Wesley Wright

TODAY: Wright is set to receive a guarantee of about $1.7MM, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com tweets.

YESTERDAY: The Orioles have agreed to terms on a one-year contract with left-handed reliever Wesley Wright, reports Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (on Twitter). Wright, a client of Reynolds Sports Management, was non-tendered by the Cubs at the beginning of the month.

Wright, who turns 30 next month, posted a 3.17 ERA with 6.9 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and a 52.1 percent ground-ball rate in 48 1/3 innings with the Cubs this past season. In 85 plate appearances, opposing left-handed hitters batter just .273/.321/.273 against Wright. He’s been reasonably effective against left-handed hitters throughout his career, as they’ve batted .238/.315/.331 against him. Right-handed hitters, on the other hand, own a .264/.354/.479 batting line against Wright, indicating that he’s best suited for a role as a lefty specialist.

Left-handed relief wasn’t necessarily a clear area of need for the O’s, who already have a southpaw closer in Zach Britton and a pair of left-handed relief options in Brian Matusz and T.J. McFarland. However, Matusz’s struggles against right-handed hitters were more pronounced, and he’s projected to earn a presumably more expensive $2.7MM. Matusz’s name has come up in trade talks recently, and it stands to reason that Wright could present an alternative if the former first-rounder Matusz is dealt to another club.

2014-15 National League Non-Tenders

Major League clubs have until 11pm CT tonight to tender contracts to players for the 2015 season. We’ll run down the list of National League non-tenders here, and update it as reports come in. Remember that you can track all of the action using MLBTR’s Non-Tender tracker, and we offer a full list of non-tender candidates (in the estimation of MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes). Also important for reference is the set of arbitration salary projections from MLBTR and contributor Matt Swartz. Click here for an explanation of the process, and be sure to check out this piece featuring some interesting observations from Tim regarding non-tender considerations.

  • The Rockies have non-tendered lefty Kraig Sitton, the team announced.
  • The Pirates have non-tendered Gaby Sanchez and Chaz Roe, the club announced. Sanchez was in DFA limbo.
  • The Cardinals will non-tender Daniel Descalso, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweets. That move seemed rather likely, as MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reported last night.
  • Lefty Wesley Wright and catcher John Baker have been non-tendered by the Cubs, the team announced. Wright certainly qualifies as a surprise, as the 29-year-old was solid for the Cubs and was projected to earn just $2MM.
  • The Reds have non-tendered righties Logan Ondrusek and Curtis Partch, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports.
  • Meanwhile, the Giants have tendered all arb-eligible players contracts, Alex Pavlovic of the Mercury News reports on Twitter.
  • The Mets have announced that Eric Young Jr. has been non-tendered, ESPN.com’s Adam Rubin tweets.
  • The Braves have dropped the biggest non-tender news of the day thus far, releasing Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy to the open market. Otherwise, the only teams announcing to this point have decided to tender all of their players.
  • There will are no non-tenders to report for the Diamondbacks, who have announced that they have tendered contracts to all eligible players (via MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert, on Twitter).
  • The same holds true for the Marlins, per MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro (Twitter link).
  • The Nationals have announced that they have tendered contracts to all ten eligible players, per Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com (via Twitter). Washington had previously agreed to avoid arbitration with one other player from the packed class (Kevin Frandsen).

Quick Hits: Urias, Braves, Burnett, McCutchen

17-year-old Dodgers lefty Julio Urias wowed observers at the Futures Game, leading to chatter about the possibility that he could make his big-league debut as soon as next year, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports writes. “This guy’s got the ability to pitch in the big leagues at 18,” says Dodgers scouting director Logan White. That doesn’t mean the Dodgers will promote Urias that soon — he’s currently at Class A+ Rancho Cucamonga, and he’s only pitched 52 1/3 innings because the Dodgers are concerned about overworking him. But his stuff (he can touch 97 MPH) and composure are impressive beyond his years. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.

  • The Braves badly need lefty bullpen help and particularly like the Red SoxAndrew Miller, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. Luis Avilan‘s struggles on Sunday are an example of the problems the Braves have had, O’Brien writes — Avilan entered in a 10-4 game in the eighth and faced three batters, giving up a single and two walks. By the time the inning was over, it was 10-7, and a blowout had suddenly become a save situation. Miller, who has struck out 14.4 batters per nine innings for Boston this season, would be a big upgrade. The Braves also like James Russell and Wesley Wright of the Cubs, O’Brien writes.
  • The Braves should release second baseman Dan Uggla, writes Mark Bradley of the Journal-Constitution. The $19MM the Braves owe Uggla through 2015 is a “sunken cost,” and the Braves won’t be able to find a team willing to trade for him. Uggla is hitting an execrable .162/.241/.231 in 145 plate appearances this season. Uggla received only 15 plate appearances in June and only has three so far in July. The Braves also suspended him for a game on Sunday for being late arriving at Wrigley Field Saturday.
  • A.J. Burnett wants to stay with the Phillies, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki writes. “I’m not a guy who looks for an out or wants to get out because things aren’t going the right way,” says Burnett. “If that happens, then it happens, but I’m not looking to move on. This is my team.” Burnett has a limited no-trade clause, and says he isn’t sure how he would respond if the Phillies asked him to waive it.
  • The rash of pitcher injuries this season might affect the salaries of free-agents-to-be like Max Scherzer and Jon Lester, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. Recent injuries to Masahiro Tanaka and C.C. Sabathia and the questionable or disappointing contracts of pitchers like Justin Verlander and Johan Santana show how risky long-term deals for star pitchers can be. Scherzer and Lester have performed well this season, but other pitchers’ recent histories might affect the market this winter.
  • Pirates GM Neal Huntington wants Andrew McCutchen to be a Pirate for life, although he’s realistic about how difficult McCutchen will be to keep, Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. “We truly hope Andrew McCutchen retires as a Pirate. That is going to be incredibly challenging to do, but that is our long-term goal,” says Huntington. The Bucs already control McCutchen through 2018 at bargain rates — his yearly salary through his age-31 season never exceeds $14.5MM.