Milwaukee Brewers Trade for Lefty Wright, Sign Righty Mendoza

Lance LeQueAnalyst IFebruary 5, 2009

(some text courtesy

The Milwaukee Brewers have traded for former Yankees minor-league lefty Chase Wright, and have signed former Yankees reliever Ramiro Mendoza to a minor-league contract and invited him to Spring Training.

Wright learned Wednesday morning that he had been traded from the Yankees to the Brewers for outfield and catching prospect Eric Fryer. The two roster moves were aimed at augmenting Milwaukee's pitching depth.

Wright, who turns 26 on Sunday, has one Minor League option remaining, and was added to the Brewers' 40-man roster, which is now full.

He was the Yankees' third-round pick in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft and made a brief Major League debut in 2007, when he went 2-0 in three appearances despite a 7.20 ERA and a dubious distinction. On April 22, 2007, at Boston's Fenway Park, he became the second pitcher in major league history to surrender four consecutive home runs.

Wright spent all of 2008 in the Minors, going 10-3 with a 2.72 ERA for three of New York's affiliates.

"I felt like I definitely had a good run," Wright said. "The '07 season was my first year out of [Class] A-ball and I had two good starts at Double-A before I got called up to the Yankees, and I knew that if I put together a good run [in 2008] I would have a shot at an opportunity. It just didn't happen. The Yankees system is just loaded, and unfortunately, I kind of got buried."

Milwaukee could offer a better opportunity. The Brewers plan to break camp with Yovani Gallardo, Dave Bush, Jeff Suppan, Manny Parra and Seth McClung in the starting rotation but they have precious little insurance against injuries.

Former All-Star Chris Capuano will be in camp on a Minor League deal, but he is recovering from Tommy John elbow ligament transplant surgery and won't be an option until May. Fellow left-handers Lindsay Gulin, Sam Narron and Chris Narveson will also be in camp, but none of those pitchers are on the 40-man roster.

My Take

I like the trade simply because it gives us another left-handed option. The Brewers don't have very many lefties, and I can see Wright being a productive option if there are any injuries in the bullpen. Look for this guy to be pretty good in Nashville, and maybe we'll see him sometime during the upcoming season.

As for Mendoza, I have no idea why we bothered to sign him. He hasn't pitched a major league game since 2005, and hasn't had extensive time in the majors since '04. He used to be a pretty decent player early in his career (from 1997-2002), but then he simply disappeared. He has played his entire career with the Yankees and Red Sox, so he has no experience in the National League.

For the past couple years, the Brewers have signed old, washed up relievers late in the off-season. Why? I have no idea. Last year it was Scott Cassidy and Randy Choate.

Cassidy retired shortly after the deal was made, and Choate never appeared in a Brewers uniform. I'm sure the deal is not for very much, but the Brewers could either be "saving" this money for an in-season move, or they could be using it towards a player that will actually produce for the team.