Jamey Wright reportedly signs with Dodgers

Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

Wright will head to spring training with a major league contract for the first time since 2005.

The Dodgers are bringing back an old friend in the bullpen, coming to terms with Jamey Wright on a one-year contract, per Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.

The right-hander chose the Dodgers over the Rays, who were said to be dueling with the Dodgers for his services.

This ends a streak of eight consecutive seasons for Wright making a team as a non-roster invitee to spring training on a minor league contract.

Wright was effective in both middle relief and as a long man with the Dodgers in 2012, and was even better with the Rays in 2013. He put up a 3.09 ERA in 66 games with Tampa Bay this season, with 65 strikeouts and 23 walks in 70 innings.

General manager Ned Colletti said after the signing of Brian Wilson on Dec. 7 that a long reliever was on his bullpen wish list.

"We've also had conversations with somebody who could be a genuine long man," Colletti said. "We really didn't have that this past year. We mixed and matched a few guys in that role."

Wright led the Dodgers in 2012 with eight relief appearances of two innings or more. In 2013 Chris Withrow led the club with 10 such appearances, but the Dodgers would prefer his power arm in more of a setup role. But now, with the reported signings of Wright, J.P. Howell, Chris Perez and Wilson, there isn't much room left in the bullpen.

When he made the Dodgers in 2012, beating out southpaw John Grabow for the team's final bullpen spot, Wright's streak was at seven straight years. He said of his annual NRI battles, "It gets more stressful, but it's exciting every time."

The string of minor league contracts began with the Giants in 2006, followed by the Rangers in 2007, Texas again in 2008, the Royals in 2009, the Indians in 2010, the Mariners in 2011, followed by Los Angeles and Tampa Bay.

Wright, who turns 39 on Christmas Eve, has had quite a remarkable career. He has pitched for 18 big league seasons, and is 101 outs shy of 2,000 innings in his career. He hasn't been Dennis Eckersley, but a late-career switch to relief has worked wonders for him.

In his career Wright has a 5.13 ERA in 247 career starts, with an 11.8% strikeout rate. In 411 career relief appearances Wright has a 3.91 ERA and a strikeout rate of 16.7%.

He has pitched in at least 60 games in five of the last six seasons. His 378 games pitched during that span, 11th in MLB. His 51.1% ground ball rate in 2013 ranked 27th among 125 major league relievers with at least 50 innings pitched, and his 59.2% ground ball rate in the last three seasons ranks 10th in MLB among relievers with at least 100 innings.

Once the signings of Wright, Perez, Howell and Juan Uribe become official, the Dodgers will have a full 40-man roster.

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