How will Wright signing impact Matusz?

It’s become the most popular question of the week following news that the Orioles reached agreement with left-hander Wesley Wright on a one-year deal worth $1.7 million.

Well, it may slot second behind “Who?”

As I’ve written, Wright is a southpaw reliever who’s 10-18 with a 4.17 ERA in seven major league seasons, the first 5 1/2 with the Astros. He was 0-3 with a 3.17 ERA in 58 games this season with the Cubs, who non-tendered him last month.

Wright, who turns 30 next month, has held left-handers to a .238/.315/.331 slash line. Right-handers are batting .264/.354/.479 against him.

The Orioles will have four left-handers in their bullpen, including closer Zach Britton, Brian Matusz and T.J. McFarland. That seems extreme considering they’re likely to carry seven relievers on opening day, including Darren O’Day, Tommy Hunter and Brad Brach.

They also have two pitchers from the Rule 5 draft, right-handers Jason Garcia and Logan Verrett, and may need to move one of their six starters into the bullpen. And what about Ryan Webb, who’s owed another $2.75 million in 2015? He posted a 3.83 ERA in 51 appearances with the Orioles this season and a 4.76 ERA in 11 appearances with Triple-A Norfolk.

matusz pitch grey sidebar.jpgExecutive vice president Dan Duquette told reporters at the Winter Meetings that he also was searching for another right-handed reliever. The Orioles must figure there’s strength in numbers.

Wright’s arrival doesn’t necessarily impact Matusz. The Orioles wanted another left-handed reliever as soon as they realized how much it would cost in years and money to re-sign Andrew Miller. Matusz always has been available in the right deal, but Duquette isn’t actively shopping him.

In other words, Wright and Matusz can coexist if that right deal doesn’t come along. Matusz is viewed as more of a lefty specialist.

The Orioles may try again to keep McFarland in Norfolk’s rotation, where he began the 2014 season. However, manager Buck Showalter likes having McFarland in long relief to back up his right-handed starters.

Britton isn’t going anywhere. I checked with Captain Obvious.

So the Orioles have a surplus of relievers and a continuing search for outfielders. The Padres have a surplus of outfielders after yesterday’s three-team trade, and the Orioles were linked to Seth Smith at the Winter Meetings.

Smith, a left-handed hitter, posted a .367 on-base percentage in 136 games with the Padres this year. He’s a career .265/.347/.453 hitter in eight major league seasons.

Smith is owed $6 million next season and $6.75 million in 2016. His contract also includes a $7 million team option for 2017.

The Padres have Smith, Matt Kemp (if he passes his physical), Wil Myers, Will Venable, Cameron Maybin, Abraham Almonte, Rymer Liriano and Carlos Quentin. They’re not done dealing.

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