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January 12, 2008

Wright, Melhuse Signed

Texas signed pitcher JAMEY WRIGHT and catcher ADAM MELHUSE to minor-league contracts.

Both moves appears harmless, but I’m a worrywart, as these aren’t truly “no-risk? signings. The risk is that they could make the team based on their Proven Veteran-ness, and play terribly.

I assume they’ll have clauses allowing them to leave by April if they aren’t on the active roster. Both can play their way to Arlington with a hot spring. Sounds implausible, but Jamey Wright did just that in 2007. A couple of solid outings and management was talking about how hard it would be to lose him. Really! Jamey Wright, who’d been released or denied arbitration ten times in thirteen years.

Wright did in fact pitch adequately last year, but the foundation of his success was awfully shaky. He allowed a .475 OBP to the first batter of an inning and was third in percentage of double-play situations permitted among all pitchers with 60 innings. A high percentage is common among good relievers, but Wright rarely entered with men on base. He inherited only six runners all season. On the upside, he induced a double play once per 20 batters faced and permitted a miniscule lie of 188/.287/.325 with runners in scoring position, but it’s hard to believe either is sustainable.

So, Wright spent much of 2007 pitching himself into and out of double-play situations. In the long run, that’s trouble. There are exceptions, but in general the pitchers with the highest percentage of double-play situations were pretty lousy (MLB leader: Vicente Padilla). 2007 seems like a one-shot deal, particularly for a pitcher who walked more batters than he struck out for the fifth time.

As for the other guy, Melhuse last posted a .300 OBP in 2004, was never much defensively, and turns 36 in a couple of months. Ron Washington extolled Melhuse’s leadership ability when first acquired in 2007. Meaning, there’s a chance Melhuse could lead his way to 150 plate appearances with a line of .220/.260/.300.

Having an insurance backup catcher is necessary, of course. I just have a hard time believing Melhuse is the best option.

I’m probably making way too much of this, but I haven’t written much lately.

Posted by Lucas at January 12, 2008 12:31 PM