The non-tender deadline came and passed, and the Chicago Cubs have already picked up one of the better non-tendered players: lefty reliever Wesley Wright.
That is according to Bob Nightengale (and confirmed by Mark Gonzalez), who reports that the Cubs are getting Wright on a one-year, $1.425 million deal. If the name is familiar, you may have read about him today in my piece on interesting non-tender targets for the Cubs. Here’s what I said about him:
Wesley Wright is a quality left-handed reliever who was simply going to make a touch too much money in arbitration for the Rays’ tastes, so he was cut loose. But he’s a 28-year-old lefty who’s posted a 3.48 ERA and a 3.03 K/BB over the last two years. For his career, he falls more in the lefty specialist role, with lefties hitting just .231/.313/.342 off of him. If the Cubs are looking to add another lefty to the bullpen from the outside (or maybe want to have the flexibility to deal James Russell), they could do a lot worse than Wright for a million or two.
If the Cubs really have picked up Wright on the deal described by Nightengale, there’s a lot to like. Wright has been as good or better than Russell over the last two years, which should provide the Cubs with considerable cover in the bullpen. They could employ Wright as a true lefty specialist, and/or shop Russell around with more confidence now.
Assuming the Cubs keep both Russell and Wright, they’re probably done adding lefties in the bullpen, except for a minor league flyer addition. Being able to employ a lefty in a specialist/LOOGY role while still having another one available at the manager’s disposal is something the Cubs haven’t had for a couple years. I expect that Rick Renteria appreciates it.
The speed with which the Cubs signed Wright after he was non-tendered suggests they were monitoring his situation closely, and pounced immediately (giving Wright just about what he would have received in arbitration from the Rays if he hadn’t been non-tendered).
Bonus good news? If Wright is fantastic, the Cubs can control him for 2015, too, via arbitration.