The Cubs have inked LH reliever Wesley Wright, who was non-tendered by the Tampa Bay Rays, to a one-year, $1.42 million deal. Wright will be used as a lefty specialist out of the bullpen, and his arrival definitely fills a need the Cubs had this past season.
Last year’s bullpen was atrocious to start the year, and even though things solidified with Pedro Strop’s arrival and the emergence of guys like Blake Parker and Hector Rondon, the pen was far from being effective. James Russell ended up being overused by former manager Dale Sveum for the second consecutive season, and his effectiveness decreased as the season advanced.
Wright’s arrival will definitely relieve some pressure off of Russell’s shoulders. While his numbers aren’t eye popping (3.69 ERA last season and a career of 4.37), he can miss bats (9.22 Ks/9IP) and he’s used to working frequently (71 games last season) so he could a nice option to give Russell some rest from time to time.
It’s fair to say that Wright was prone to surrendering home runs last season, but if pitching coach Chris Bosio can help him keep the ball inside the park, Wright could be very effective for the Cubs. His role will be to provide some support against lefties, and even though most of the fans won’t be excited by his arrival, these are the kinds of moves the organization needs to make to improve the roster.