SAN DIEGO — The Mariners added some bullpen depth but subtracted some roster flexibility on Wednesday, acquiring right-handed pitcher Mike Wright from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for minor league infielder Ryne Ogren.
Wright, 29, was designated for assignment by Baltimore on Sunday. He’d made 10 relief appearances this season, posting a 0-1 record with a save and a 9.45 ERA (14 earned, 13.1 innings pitched) with 14 strikeouts and seven walks. The overall numbers are mildly misleading. Wright allowed 13 of his 14 runs in four outings and a total of six innings pitched. In the search for positives, he posted a 1.23 ERA in his other six outings (7 1/3 innings pitched) with 10 strikeouts and four walks.
“It’s an opportunity for him to put a different jersey in a new organization and for us to see what we got,” manager Scott Servais said. “It kind of lines up with what we talked about doing coming into the season. When you think there is an opportunity to give a guy a fresh start, a guy that has some upside, why not? We’ve done it with a few guys so far and it’s paid off.”
The Mariners made a similar trade to acquire hard-throwing right-hander Connor Sadzeck from the Rangers after he was designated for assignment.
“It’s not going to work for everyone, but we are the team of opportunity,” Servais said. “You are getting guys that do have stuff and he was a pretty high draft. He just hasn’t had the success he’s looking for or the Orioles were looking for. So we’ll give it a shot. We’ll give him an opportunity to see what it looks like. There might be one or two things we can tweak a little bit and he can get it going in the right direction.”
A third-round pick in the 2011 draft, Wright has pitched in parts of five MLB seasons. He has a 10-12 record with a save and a career 5.95 ERA in 101 appearances, including 23 starts.
Like most players that are designated for assignment, Wright is out of minor league options, which is why he was available. The Mariners will have to do some roster maneuvering over the next few days. They are planning to bring up lefty Justus Sheffield to pitch on Friday after Yusei Kikuchi’s one-inning start. Servais said the trade for Wright hasn’t changed that plan. The only pitcher in the Mariners bullpen that has minor league options is right-hander Chasen Bradford. But he’s also been one of Seattle’s more reliable relievers.
Because Wright has 72 hours to report to the Mariners and be put on the roster, Seattle could get creative. The Mariners could make the roster move for Sheffield on Friday, option him out after pitching that night and then activate Wright for Saturday’s game. It would also give Wright the chance to get to Seattle and throw a bullpen session. His last outing for the Orioles was on April 20. The addition of Wright might allow the Mariners designate a reliever for assignment and hope he clears waivers to be outrighted to Tacoma.
“There will be, that’s part of it,” Servais said of the roster maneuvering. “We are just trying to gather pieces and see which one of these guys can improve and click. And if it doesn’t happen, then you go in a different direction.”
Ogren, 22, was batting .146 (6 for 41) with a double, a home run and three RBI for Class A West Virginia this season. He was a 12th-round pick in the 2018 draft out of Elon University.