Reliever Wesley Wright attends his first FanFest as a member of the Orioles.
Reliever Wesley Wright attends his first FanFest as a member of the Orioles. (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun)

In terms of players, there were very few new faces at FanFest on Saturday – an obvious result of an offseason in which the Orioles have not made any major moves.

The club's biggest acquisition, outfielder Travis Snider, had previously committed to going to the Super Bowl and therefore was unavailable to join his new teammates Saturday after being traded by Pittsburgh on Tuesday. (Snider, a Washington state native, is a huge Seattle Seahawks fan. It will be interesting to hear his take on the intercepted pass at the goal line that ended Seattle's chance at a victory.)


Even most of the minor leaguers who were on hand Saturday at the Baltimore Convention Center have been around for some time in the organization, with the exception of Rule 5 picks Logan Verrett and Jason Garcia.

So perhaps the most intriguing newcomer at the event was lefty Wesley Wright, who was non-tendered by the Chicago Cubs this winter and signed by the Orioles to a one-year, $1.7 million deal on Dec. 14. It would be somewhat surprising if he didn't make the Opening Day roster.

My first impression: Wright sure doesn't appear to be nearly as tall as his listed 5-foot-11. My second thought: He should be a solid interview for reporters. He seems like one of those guys who ponders questions and attempts to offer articulate responses – so he'll fit in well with a bullpen that is accessible and accommodating.

But the real question is how will he fit in baseball-wise? The 30-year-old said he is up for the challenge of pitching in the American League East for the defending division champs.

"It's a great organization, a winning team coming off a great season. I just want to come in and do what I can to continue that winning situation," said Wright, who had a 3.17 ERA in 58 games for the Cubs in 2014. "It's a great opportunity for me, at this stage in my career, to kind of show what I can do in the AL East against some great competition."

Wright, who has a career 4.17 ERA in 360 major league games (356 relief appearances) over parts of seven seasons, has been pretty good against left-handed hitters in his career. He's limited them to a .238 batting average (though they hit .273 against him last year). He's solid against right-handers too, allowing a .264 career average and a .255 mark in 2014.

"I consider myself kind of a jack of all trades. I'm pretty good against lefties and I hold my own against righties." Wright said. "I'm a guy that likes to compete. That's one thing you'll know if you see me pitch over time, that I like to compete, get at them. I'm not really afraid of any situation. I'm an emotional guy, but I don't show a lot of emotion while I am pitching. I try to stay as calm as possible."

Wright is armed with a 90-mph fastball, a good sinker and solid off-speed pitches. He's not sure exactly what his role will be: multiple inning reliever, one-inning guy or lefty specialist. He's not concerned with that.

"I just want to go out and pitch, that's what I enjoy doing. I really don't care what inning it is. I just want to go out there and help this bullpen," he said. "They've had a great bullpen the last couple of years, so I just want to fit in and do what I can do."

Wright said there was some unknown when he was non-tendered by the Cubs, but things quickly came together for him – signing a new deal with the Orioles within two weeks.

"I kind of felt like things were up in the air. You never really know what type of interest is going to be out there when you get non-tendered," said Wright, who pitched most of his career in Houston, but was traded to Tampa Bay in Aug. 2013 and played in the playoffs with the Rays.

"When I heard that the Orioles were a team that was interested in me it really piqued my interest because of the situation here and how good they've been over the past couple of years," he said. "When we got close to making this deal happen I was really excited about the future and the possibilities of coming here and getting a chance to get back in the postseason."

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