The Diamondbacks signed left-handed reliever Wesley Wright to a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, according to a tweet from the team’s Triple-A affiliate. The Reynolds Sports client, presumably, will compete for a bullpen job in Spring Training with the D-backs.
Wright, 31 later this month, totaled just 7 1/3 innings in the Majors last season between the Orioles and Angels, as a shoulder strain kept him on the disabled list for more than three months. While 2015 was somewhat of a lost season for the lefty, Wright had put together a solid track record across the four prior seasons when he worked to a combined 3.25 ERA with 8.5 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9 in 166 1/3 innings between the Astros and Cubs.
Wright yielded a huge number of fly-balls in last season’s small sample of work, but he’s historically been more of a ground-ball pitcher, as evidenced by the 52.7 percent ground-ball rate that he recorded during that strong run from 2011-14. Wright doesn’t throw particularly hard, but his 90 mph fastball has enough life considering his handedness, and he’s held left-handed batters to a .237/.313/.334 batting line across parts of eight Major League seasons. Of course, on the flip-side of that equation, he’s yielded a .263/.353/.476 batting line to right-handed batters, so the D-backs would likely need to be cognizant of playing matchups in most situations were Wright to make the club.
The Diamondbacks have a number of right-handed arms that will compete for spots in the bullpen, but there’s a lack of left-handed options for manager Chip Hale in the bullpen. Andrew Chafin enjoyed a strong season in 2015 due in large part to his impressive ground-ball rate, but Matt Reynolds is the only other lefty relief option with notable Major League experience, and he struggled quite a bit in his return from 2014 Tommy John surgery. Elsewhere on the 40-man roster, Keith Hessler struggled in his big league debut last year, and Will Locante needs more minor league time before being a realistic option for the MLB club.