With an emphasis on bolstering the bullpen, the Los Angeles Dodgers turned to a familiar name in December of 2013 when they signed right-handed reliever Jamey Wright to a one-year, $1.8 million deal. Working on a minor league contract with the Dodgers in 2012, Wright appeared in 66 games, posting a 5-3 record with a 3.72 ERA in 67.2 innings of work. Wright then spent the 2013 season with the Tampa Bay Rays.
2013 stats: 66 games pitched, 70.0 innings, 2-2 record, 3.09 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 65 strikeouts, 15 games finished, six holds.
Wright’s 77.0 innings pitched with the Rays last season was his personal best since he pitched 79.0 innings for the Kansas City Royals in 2009. He also set career marks with a 1.20 WHIP and ERA+ of 124 in 2013, at the age of 38. However, while it’s an extremely small sample size, Wright’s playoff stats leave plenty to be desired.
The right-hander appeared in two playoff games with the Rays last season, managing to pitch just two innings over the span of two games. He surrendered four hits, four earned runs, had a 3.50 WHIP and 18.00 ERA. Wright pitched in four games where he had at least three strikeouts in two or less innings worth of work. His single-game high for strikeouts in 2013 is four, which he did on two occasions.
Heading into the 2014 season, Wright faces immediate competition from Brandon League, Chris Perez, Chris Withrow and potentially once healthy, Chad Billingsley. When comparing Wright’s stats from last season to that group of pitchers, he clearly outshines all, with Withrow emerging as the biggest threat. Natural attrition could set in and create an opportunity for Wright if he’s able to stay healthy. League certainly had his share of struggles in 2013 and it’s difficult to envision the inconsistent reliever suddenly turning it around in 2014.
2014 prediction: Fresh off somewhat of a renaissance season, Wright could develop into a valuable arm that helps alleviate the workload placed on the other relievers. His ability to pitch multiple innings is likely why the Dodgers brought him in and his addition makes it likely Withrow starts the season as the odd man out.
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