The Rays have never been a trade deadline team, and that sentence is ever more accurate regarding the waiver period. Other than the Scott Kazmir trade in 2009, the Rays have done almost nothing between July 31st and August 31st, let alone do anything significant. When the Astros played left-hander Wesley Wright on waivers, the Rays could not pass him up.
Wright, 28, has delivered solid numbers this season for the Astros, going 0-4 but with a 3.92 ERA, an 8.7 K/9, a 3.5 BB/9, and a 1.1 HR/9 in 54 appearances and 41.1 innings pitched. Wright gives the Rays something they haven’t had all season: a player that can come end and get lefties out. They have featured a couple of lefties in their bullpen all season, but Jake McGee has emerged as a setup reliever while Cesar Ramos has gravitated to long relief. Wright will be a pitcher Joe Maddon can resort to when the other team sends their big lefty hitter to the plate and know that his chances of sending him down will be quite good. Lefties have just a .236/.319/.346 line against Wright for his career. And what’s special about Wright is that he isn’t just a stretch run addition. He’ll be arbitration-eligible for the next two seasons after making $1.25 million this season and could be a valuable part of the Rays bullpen in the coming years. The Rays had an opportunity to improve their bullpen for this year and potentially the next two seasons for only cash considerations. The Rays weren’t desperate for a lefty reliever, but as was the case with the Jesse Crain trade, they saw a chance to improve their team at minimal cost and refused to let it pass them by.