Orioles Sign Wesley Wright; Matusz and Snider Trade Pending?


Apr 4, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Wesley Wright (53) delivers a pitch during the seventh inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday evening the news brought word that the Baltimore Orioles have signed left-handed reliever Wesley Wright to a one-year contract. With T.J. McFarland and Brian Matusz in the fold, this fuels more rumors of perhaps a second shoe falling with a trade of Matusz for Travis Snider.

The statistics of Wright and Matusz are indeed rather similar, with Wright having a bit of edge against right-handed hitters, while Matusz is more dominant against lefties. In fact, Wright actually has poorer numbers against left-handed hitters than righties.

Wright, who will soon turn 30, pitched in 2014 for the Cubs. Prior to that he had 16 games with the Rays after 5.5 years with the Astros.

It would be difficult to sell Wright as an upgrade on Matusz, other than he may come a bit cheaper when the numbers are all known. Wright made $1.425 million with the Cubs in 2014 and was non-tendered. This is probably a matter of getting what you pay for, and Wright can be a free agent after this next season.

It is honestly easier to see Matusz as the better reliever, especially considering how well the Orioles’ former first-rounder pitched in the final months of the past season.

What does this mean for Matusz?

It was a stated goal of the Orioles to add an additional left-handed reliever in the absence of Andrew Miller. But does this mean that Matusz is now expendable? With McFarland, Zach Britton, and now Wright in the bullpen, would the O’s actually carry four lefties?

Discussions have arisen in recent days about a Matusz trade for Travis Snider of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Like Matusz, he was a first-round pick – two years earlier in 2006. So the trade would be one underperforming first-rounder for another; however, Snider cannot be a free agent until 2017.

Looking at Snider’s stats, this lefty/lefty honestly looks to me about like an Alejandro De Aza / David Lough version 3.0 … the skill sets are relatively similar.

Snider Career17068850.246.310
De Aza Career217610338.268.330
Lough Career597299.268.308
Snider 20143221513.264.338
De Aza 2014528248.252.314
Lough 201419464.247.309

De Aza has the better overall average and OBP, while Snider presents more power. Lough has a sample size that is too small to fully evaluate. As well, are the end of the year performances from De Aza and Lough more representative of what they would be, or are the career numbers the true barometer?

Having laid this out, I feel better about a Snider acquisition than I did at the start. However, it still seems to me that a re-signing of Delmon Young far exceeds anything we are looking at here (other than defense of course), as well as him being a right-handed hitter.

Maybe getting both Snider and Young would work. I could go to war with that for 2015.

Next: De Aza as Leadoff Hitter?