Chicago Cubs Sign Reliever Wesley Wright to One-Year Deal

chicago cubs logoThe 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.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

118 responses to “Chicago Cubs Sign Reliever Wesley Wright to One-Year Deal”

  1. macpete22

    Definitely have needed another Lefty out of the pen. Welcome to the Cubs Wesley Wright!

  2. Skiz

    SIGN ALL THE LOOGIES

  3. derrick

    Cano who? Let’s go Cubbies

  4. Jesse

    I like this.

    1. Ferris

      Agreed

      1. X The Cubs Fan

        Yeah quality pickup. I like it.

  5. toby

    Wright is a very good signing and should allow the Cubs the luxury to include Russell in a deal.

  6. Eric

    ETA til Len brings up that he is a lefty and his name is “wright”?

    1. Spriggs

      Good one

    2. Aaron

      I’m sure he mentioned it every time the Cubs played him when Wright was on the Astros.

    3. Jason P

      Probably his first appearance :)

    4. jayrig5

      Cubs Con.

      1. Jay

        Whoops, old user-name.

  7. Rizzovoir Dog

    Good move. Was no 1 on my non tender pickup list.

  8. aaronb

    I’m really starting to like the Cubs planning this offseason thus far. Fix the back-up Catcher and 2nd loogy roles. And just assume that the other roles sort themselves out.

    Now if we can dump Samjays salary, and maybe find somebody to take Schierholtz. We might be on to something special.

    1. X The Cubs Fan

      Dude, it’s December 4th, calm your tits.

  9. Spriggs

    Nice. The only guy in the group of non tenders who I really wanted.

  10. Jacob w

    @Eric when is opening day?

  11. Beast Mode

    Way to go Brett, you’ve been on fire lately. Anyway way you can predict we get Tanaka! Please!!!

  12. Jon

    yaaaaawnnn….

  13. mjhurdle

    Heh, signings like this really put the constant Cub complainers out of their element. Good to see them thrown off their game for a night :)

    1. aaronb

      Agreed!

      I can’t believe Sam Zell forgot to include a Wesley Wright clause in the sale agreement. Surely the 100 loss clause might be in trouble if we keep making these moves.

  14. Greenroom

    I like this. Good, consistent numbers against lefties. 1 year…In and out. nice deal. Go Cubs~

  15. Joey

    Like this deal a lot, will like it more if it directly or indirectly leads to a Russell trade

  16. woody

    Personally I think Russell sucked last year. Yes Sveum used him too much for sure. But let’s face it both Russell and Camp has decent years in 2012, but I think Russell is just a step behind Camp moving into oblivion. If we can get a decent prospect for Russel then please let’s move him.

  17. Luke

    Wright, Rusin, Raley, Rosscup, Russell… I’m noticing a trend.

    Seriously, though, I suspect this does open the path to a Russell deal if one should open. The Cubs have at least three decent options to pack in the pen with Wright already on the roster.

    1. SenorGato

      Wright and Rosscup probably have the best fastballs in the group and highest strikeout potential.

    2. Jason P

      Russell strikes me as more of a throw in in another deal. Would teams really value a soft-tossing LOOGY who’s out pitched his peripherals that highly?

      The Cubs just got an upgrade for Russell for less than 2 million and no prospects. That should tell you all you need to know about Russell’s value.

      1. SenorGato

        Agreed, Russell isn’t very valuable by himself. The Cubs’ need to deal from their depth/quantity anyway.

  18. Katie

    I like this move too. Interested to see what happens at the winter meetings as well.

  19. emrac

    another good solid move putting small pieces together. we don’t need to spend big money on sexy names to field a solid team. Just nice pieces to fill the puzzle out

  20. Die hard

    Good move .. Feels Wright

    1. Drew7

      :Rim shot:

  21. RotoChamp

    Baffled why the Rays would let this guy go for $1.5 mil. That alone makes me skeptical but I love the move based solely on his solid peripherals and handedness.

  22. Dustin S

    An essentially free lefty RP with an ERA a good chunk under 4 in over 100 IP in 2012 and 2013, plus 2 years of control…yes please. Worst-case scenario he helps the pen nicely, and if he frees up Russell to be dealt for good value, better yet.

  23. Matt D

    its good move. take some pressure off of russells arm, or include him in a deal and go with Wright and the kid they brought up last year, Rossup i think? good call on this earlier Brett.

  24. Nate

    Scrolling through these comments makes me sick. This is a Cubs website/discussion board. If you have the time to type up a comment with the intention of bashing other people and/or decisions made by the front office, you have time to go back to school and learn the definition of a rebuild. All this takes time and I am thoroughly happy with where this team is heading. Rant over.

    1. Jon

      It’s too bad you can’t take time to go back to the press conference of over two years ago when you would have heard these terms

      “Parallel Fronts”
      “Every opportunity to win is sacred”

      1. Chef Brian

        Dude, give it a rest. You are against the rebuild. Noted. Move on. Every post that Brett puts up you have to add a snarky comment. It’s getting old.

      2. hansman

        If you want to see what a good, honest, full-on tank job looks like, I encourage you check out the 2013 Astros.

        1. Blublud

          or every half garbage team in the NBA trying to get ready for next years draft. The Cubs have done to much to really be tanking and not enough to be good.

    2. Ivan the Terrible Cub Fan

      my thoughts exactly, Nate

    3. Jason P

      There has been an almost unanimously positive reaction to this signing.

      And besides, what would even be the point of a comment board if you weren’t allowed to bash FO decisions?

    4. Kyle

      The word “rebuild” Isn’t some kind of magic shield that prevents any and all criticism from touching the sainted front office.

      The team sucks. The team sucks at least partially because the front office has failed to take the necessary steps to prevent them from sucking. The fact that Theo promised you sustained success, an ice cream cone and a unicorn five years down the road, and you believed him, does not mean as much as you think it does.

      1. Chef Brian

        No one is sainting the FO nor is anyone content with every move they are making. The problem Imo is that while you say people are using the rebuild as a shield, You and a lot of others are using the rebuild as a sword. I have no issue with people being critical but the post by post bashing has got to stop. The FO isn’t all bad nor is every move they make lined with gold. Kyle, in all fairness you will grudgingly give credit but some of the others that rally behind you, bash for the sake of bashing.
        Honestly I believe in the Cubs overall direction, I just want it to move faster. I also don’t believe in “Sustained Success” not for this team. The core wasn’t there to start with, the farm system was a bottom feeder, we didn’t have any of the systems in place that a successful business needs to run. Theo had to completely rewrite the way the Cubs conducted business on the field for a century. He had to rebuild the base. Throwing money at bandaids wasn’t going to work, we all know that, see the Mets, Angels.
        So we are in for a long rebuild. Longer than even Theo or Jed probably thought initially. I will tell you this there are not alot of execs beyond Theo I’d want doing a rebuild. The Cubs did that part right. The Cubs need their fans, not more detractors. I’m not saying to drink the “Kool aid”, I’m saying give a little more rope. Just a little.

        1. Brains

          i would agree with this if we also were putting pieces in the MLB team so that rookies would actually have a team to join. jed has flubbed every single trade since he’s been here, they haven’t been creative about finding good affordable players (the key word is “good”), and they haven’t capitalized on good opportunities in the trade market, even when in dire need. besides their rapid improvement of the minors, it’s pretty difficult to even figure out what they do with their days besides looking at match.com

          1. Rizzovoir Dog

            Flubbed every trade? Explain. Start with Sean Marshall and Scott Feldman.

          2. Rebuilding

            You seriously think the Cubs flubbed the Garza trade? Come on man

            1. Kyle

              They definitely flubbed the Garza trade. He should have be gone pre-2012, but they kept holding the line on some arbitrary level of value they set until 18 months and a major injury later, he was only worth half of what they should have gotten.

              1. Rebuilding

                Really? Because when they were discussing trading him earlier to Texas Olt was rumored to be the centerpiece. It may be luck, but they ended with a better package. And as you often ask – please show me a package that was even rumored initially for Garza that beats the one we got. I’ll be waiting awhile

                1. Kyle

                  We’ve been over this before, and it’s still a particularly silly example of wrongheadedness to think that the fact that Garza was significantly devalued and that the piece we got for him had also been significantly devalued in the same time frame is not some sort of justification.

                  You can wait as long as you want, I’m not going to go back and dig through 2011-12 Garza proposals if you can’t be bothered to remember theme. We were talking about getting a young, MLB-ready starting pitcher *and* an elite prospect back then.

                  1. Rebuilding

                    Ok, just shoot me one off the top of your head then. I ask for proof of your assertion that we got half, but you have none

                    1. Kyle

                      “Argument by bureaucracy” is silly no matter what side is doing it. We were all there. We all saw all the trade proposals for Garza. The fact that you referenced Olt shows that you remember at least a few of them. The fact that I don’t feel like doing 20 minutes of googling to dig up something that you *should* remember is not some point in your argument’s favor.

                    2. Rebuilding

                      I’m not asking you to Google anything. Surely you remember 1 realistic proposal that was double Edwards, Olt, Grimm and Ramirez since there were so many

                  2. Rebuilding

                    And I will point out that “we” talk about getting Bradley and Skaggs for Samardzija. Doesn’t make it anywhere close to realistic

                    1. Kyle

                      Valid point, but the counterpoint is that you are essentially arguing that 11 starts of an older Garza were worth the same as 64 starts of a younger, uninjured Garza. There’s simply no way that happened.

                    2. Rebuilding

                      In a vacuum yes. In a world where Doug Fister gets traded for Steve Lombardozzi and a borderline Top 100 prospect we obviously don’t live in a vacuum. Different teams have different motivations at different times. I think the Rangers ridiculously overplayed because they panicked when Darvish got hurt

                    3. Pat

                      You can’t possibly be arguing that he had equal or greater value with a year and a half less control, an injury, and a continued case of the yips.

                    4. Rebuilding

                      As I said, in a vacuum with no other context you are correct. As it worked out Texas wildly overpaid (IMHO) for just such a player

                    5. Rebuilding

                      I also think that the return they got justifies (to some extent) their thinking of holding him to the deadline the year before. At the trading deadline you will often find teams that will make a deal that they wouldn’t make when everything looks great during the offseason. Texas panicked when Darvish got hurt and overplayed IMHO

                  3. Mayhem

                    The Cubs FO made a huge mistake in not trading Garza earlier but rebounded nicely by still getting a nice return. However, I feel there was some confusion all along about how soon the Cubs would be ready to compete. They traded Garza late and signed Edwin Jackson for no apparent reason that makes sense.

                    They obviously made a U-turn last year when they saw Castro and Rizzo take steps backwards, which likely forced them to go on a longer rebuild than originally planned. I would hate to think the FO didn’t have any foresight when they signed the Jackson deal or waited to trade Garza. They were hoping for some miracles that never came to fruition and finally decided they needed more time for the rebuild than originally thought necessary.

          3. Kyle

            The flubbed every trade part is silly. They’ve had a number of excellent trades, beginning with Wood+ for Marshall.

            The main problem has been that while most of the moves they have made have been good, they haven’t been sufficient considering the scale of the problems the team faces.

            1. wvcubsfan

              This right here 1000 times.

              Here’s the problem, Kyle realizes we were bad and are still bad and points out ways things that could have been done to make the team better now, last year, and the year before that. None of the facts he uses are wrong, and despite the fact that he uses the benefit of 20/20 hindsight in posts now he was promoting the same players at the time they were available. I don’t see how anyone can find fault in his stance or opinion; you may not agree with it but it’s not wrong.

              Brett one the other hand also realizes that we were a bad team and still are a bad team. He points out the moves that were made and why they were made in his opinion. None of the facts he uses are wrong and there is certainly no way anyone can disallow another person for having their own opinion. I don’t see how anyone can find fault in his stance or opinion; you may not agree with it but it’s not wrong.

              These type of people is what makes this blog enjoyable.

              Anyone can agree with either or be in the middle and no one will call you out, but when all you do is come on to complain for the sake of complaining it gets old. These types use no facts, give no opinion, and usually fail to think beyond what they are typing at that very moment. These are the people that make this board very tiresome at times like this.

  25. Steve R

    I like this move, it gives us some flexibility in whatever we decide. Should we decide to trade Russell now we have a veteran lefty to go. Along with one of the younger guys. If we keep both we have two proven lefties in the pen, making it stronger IMO, we lost a lot of close games last year, a move like this in addition to some of the promising arms we have now in the pen could reverse that trend or at least even it out somewhat.

  26. TheGuy

    Good signing. What will happen next is IF the guy is successful, the Cubs will send him to a contender on or before the trade deadline and pick up a minor leaguer or two who MIGHT be able to contribute for the big league club by 2019 and Theo/Jed will give some type of interview about the move where they bring up “The Cubs Ways” and “trying to stay patient” while they thank the fans for showing up to Wrigley just to watch their favorite baseball team suck ass…SWEET!

    But like I said, it’s a good signing.

    1. Professor Snarks

      To be fair, 28 other teams in baseball would trade their LLOGY if some team overpaid. That tactic will never go away. I do believe, however, this FO when they say they are not using the ‘flip’ as a primary strategy this year.

      1. aaronb

        True. The Astros traded this very loogy for cash considerations just 3 months ago. And his new team just non-tendered him.

        Doubt there is ever any real trade value in Wright or Russell.

        1. Tony S.

          I haven’t looked deep at Russell’s 2013 #s, but my impression was he was good enough against righties to be a pure 8th inning guy with a possible future in the ninth. All of which would equal some trade value, albeit most likely as a pot sweetener.

          Is this not true?

  27. Mints

    Break from cubs action- have you seen how often the mariners are connected to rumors this off-season? Beltran, Cano, Matt Kemp, and now David Price?!? Imagine if the 1-2 punch of King Felix and Price…wow!

    Our cubbies will get to that point soon enough!

  28. D-Rock

    Good move. Hard to not like a lefty reliever who throws heat & strikes people out. Keep making these kind of moves & it will be a successful offseason.

  29. Aaron

    I don’t have a good feeling on Russell for the 2014 season. Time to trade him while he still has decent value. Like the Wright signing. Perhaps the Cubs also have health concerns with Russell and are looking to trade him this off-season.

  30. Blublud

    I’m cool. I laying in bed, Reading a Bleachernation article on my smart TV. Knew black Friday was good for something.

    1. Blublud

      by the way, this is a good signing. These are the type of signings you get your best value for.

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