2012 in brief: Veteran retread was surprisingly adequate as only reliever to remain on active roster from wire to wire.
2013 status: Free agent.
Hey, did you know that Jamey Wright made the Dodgers on his seventh consecutive season as a non-roster invite? Me neither, because it was something that was never brought up or mentioned about him, ever.
Besides, teams sign dozens of these guys per year, so when Wright landed with the Dodgers in early February, it didn’t merit a whole ton of attention:
Unrelated and obviously far less interesting, the Dodgers have signed 37-year-old veteran Jamey Wright to a minor-league contract and an invite to camp. Wright was a first-round pick of the Rockies way back in 1993; he made his debut in 1996 and was in Dodger Stadium three days later for his second career game against a Dodger lineup that featured Chad Fonville, Mike Blowers, and Greg Gagne. Despite being a soft-tossing righty, he has managed to last for sixteen seasons with eight teams, with two stops apiece in Colorado and Kansas City. Wright got into 60 games for the Mariners last year and actually posted a career-best 3.16 ERA, though the 4.30 FIP doesn’t quite back that up. As far as non-roster guys go, he’s par for the course and fine by me, though I’m not exactly sure I see how he has a prayer to make what looks to be a pretty full roster unless the injuries really pile up in camp.
As it turned out, the Dodgers had signed Wright back in 2009 but the deal was canceled when he failed a physical, so I suppose we shouldn’t have been surprised when he did actually earn a roster spot, in no small part due to Blake Hawksworth‘s ongoing health problems. When we learned on March 26 that he’d officially made the roster, we were excited to the point where I couldn’t even analyze it with any seriousness.
Wright very nearly made an emergency Opening Day start when Clayton Kershaw came down with the flu — which, thank whatever deity you believe in for “very nearly”, because that’s not a reality I’m prepared to live in — but he didn’t make a very favorable impression on us in his second outing, on April 7:
That came an inning earlier than usual tonight, where after breezing through four scoreless, Capuano gave up a single and three walks, leaving the bases loaded for Jamey Wright. Wright – doing Jamey Wright things, don’t you know – then proceeded to walk each of the next two on eight straight balls, forcing home two runs, before being relieved himself; Scott Elbert allowed another run on a wild pitch and yet another on an Orlando Hudson single, during which the inning mercifully came to an end when catcher Nick Hundley was thrown out attempting to score.
Still, Wright was surprisingly effective though April, not allowing a hit in his first six appearances, including a high point on April 19 when he struck out Rickie Weeks, Nyjer Morgan, Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez & Corey Hart in succession.
Despite our expectations that Wright would get replaced at nearly any second, the constant flux in the bullpen made it so that he was never really in as much danger of losing his job as you’d think. Perhaps that wouldn’t have been the case if Matt Guerrier & Kenley Jansen & Scott Elbert & Javy Guerra all hadn’t hit the disabled list, and if Ronald Belisario hadn’t missed the first month, and if Josh Lindblom hadn’t been traded, but all those things did happen, so he managed to skate by.
That’s not quite the same thing as being good, of course, because he did allow two or more earned runs a surprising nine times, which along with allowing more than a hit per inning and a high 4.0/9 walk rate isn’t exactly ideal. Still, he did post a career-high strikeout rate and simply managed to stay healthy and not awful all season, which is a lot more valuable than it sounds — especially for a guy making the minimum.
So here’s to you, Jamey, for being Ned Colletti’s token non-roster guy who contributes of 2012. Now let’s hope we never see you in Dodger blue again.
Next up! Finally, we’re done with player reviews: it’s Ronald Belisario!!