NEW YORK (AP) Jaret Wright was traded by the New York Yankees to the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday for right-handed reliever Chris Britton. As part of the deal, the Yankees will pay $4 million of Wright's $7 million salary next year. New York had until Sunday to opt out of Wright's contract, a move that also would have cost the Yankees a $4 million buyout.
Wright, a right-hander who turns 31 on December 29th, will be reunited with pitching coach Leo Mazzone. When the pair were with the Atlanta Braves in 2004, Wright went 15-8 with a 3.28 ERA.
After agreeing to a $21 million, three year contract, Wright had a pair of disappointing seasons with the Yankees. He injured a shoulder early in the 2005 season and was 5-5 with a 6.08 ERA in 13 starts, then went 11-7 with a 4.49 ERA this year, not pitching more than 6 1-3 innings in any of his 27 starts.
New York heads into the free-agent signing season in need of starting pitching. Chien-Ming Wang is the only given, although it appears likely Mike Mussina will stay with New York. The Yankees have until Wednesday to decide on his $17 million option, which carries a $1.5 million buyout, but the sides have been working on a two-year contract in the $20 million to $25 million range.
Randy Johnson is coming off back surgery and Carl Pavano hasn't pitched in the major leagues since June 2005 because of shoulder, back, buttocks, elbow and rib injuries.
Britton, who turns 24 on December 16th, was taken by Baltimore on the 8th round of the 2001 amateur draft. He made his major league debut last season, going 0-1 with one save and a 3.35 ERA in 52 relief appearances with the Orioles. He also was 1-0 with a 2.81 ERA and two saves in 13 games for Bowie of the AA Eastern League.