Lukewarm Stove: More James Russell Smoke, with a Side of Wesley Wright, um, Also Smoke

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Lukewarm Stove: More James Russell Smoke, with a Side of Wesley Wright, um, Also Smoke

Chicago Cubs

james russell cubsYesterday, we discussed possible trade interest in Chicago Cubs lefty James Russell, noting that his name had apparently popped up in discussions this weekend, according to Peter Gammons. According to Chris Cotillo, it wasn’t just Russell getting attention – it was also fellow lefty Wesley Wright.

If there’s interest out there in James Russell, it only makes sense that there would be interest in Wesley Wright, likely from just about all of the same teams. Wright, like Russell, is a situational lefty with a solid ERA and decent peripherals this year. Wright’s been a little more effective than Russell, posting a sparkling 2.86 FIP to go along with his 2.22 ERA. He’s not striking out a ton of guys (19.8%), but he’s walking nobody (5.9%).

Like Russell, Wright is in his late-20s (Wright is 29, Russell is 28) and has one more year of arbitration after this season. Wright makes $1.425 million this year, while Russell makes $1.775 million. Overall, their values are probably similar, with Wright getting the slight edge. Neither will return a franchise-changer, but as we saw with Joe Thatcher, a quality, inexpensive lefty can net a relevant prospect.

Cotillo describes the interest in Russell and Wright as “significant,” which is likely in part because the Cubs are but one of a few clear sellers at this point. That will likely change by the end of July, and there will be much more competition on the market. (And, for that reason, some buyers may prefer to wait a couple weeks before pulling the trigger on a reliever deal.)

Until then, we’ll have to see if talk about the Cubs’ relievers picks up even further. For now, there are no specific mentions of interested teams, though it’s not hard to survey the landscape and see that a number of contenders could stand to add a lefty.

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.