Rays Acquire Wesley Wright

Bob Levey

The Rays have acquired another reliever this off season, claiming the longest tenured Astros player Wesley Wright.

The southpaw was placed on irrevocable waivers, presumably due to salary concerns. He was the highest paid Astro on staff at $1.15M this season, $500K higher than the next player (Jose Altuve). The move also allows Houston to recall Phillip Humber from Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Wright has played for the Astros since 2008, and has performed above replacement level since 2011. He sported a 57.1% and 54.9% ground ball rate in the last two seasons, but that number had dropped to 47.2% preceding his waiver.

The LOOGY has 41.1 IP over 55 games this season, owning a 27.1% strikeout rate, and 8.7% walk rate (both superior to the team averages for relievers this season). The Rays will send cash considerations to the Astros  to complete the trade.

Wright is a breaking ball pitcher that features a 91 MPH sinker and 83 MPH slider, with the latter pitch the most whiff worthy of the two, including 10 swings and misses in the month of August. He owns a five pitch mix, dabbling with a four-seamer at 91 MPH (which he transitioned away from relying upon in 2011), a 79 MPH 11-5 curve, and an 85 MPH change.

I would expect Wright's change up usage to increase with his transition to the Rays staff, easily capable of a 15" horizontal break and Jim Hickey's expertise to follow. The sinker likewise has excellent movement, with a similar sweep and 5" vertical lift.

"I'm excited," Wright told MLB.com's Brian McTaggart:

"It's an opportunity to go pitch for a contending team and something I've always wanted to do, and to get this opportunity now is kind of shocking, but I'm also excited about it."

You can follow the newest Rays pitcher on twitter @RealWesWright.

UPDATE:

RHRP Josh Lueke was optioned back to Triple-A Durham to make room for Wes Wright on the 25-man roster.

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