An offseason trade sent Joey Wendle to Tampa Bay from Oakland, where he had steadily been toiling in Triple-A. Wendle has consistency on his side; in each of the past three seasons, he has appeared in at least 118 Triple-A games and recorded an OPS between .756 and .776. Unfortunately, that means Wendle hasn't exhibited the growth the Athletics wanted to see in order to give him a chance to become their starting second baseman. Wendle has neither the pop nor the plate discipline to fully overcome his strikeout problem, as he has struck out 308 times against just 67 walks over those three Triple-A campaigns. Expect him to open up the season as a backup to Daniel Robertson at second base in Tampa, but if Robertson is as underwhelming in 2018 as he was in 2017 (.634 OPS, five home runs in 218 at-bats), Wendle could get his first big-league opportunity for a starting job.
Wendle was traded from the A's to the Rays in exchange for a player to be named later, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports. The two teams worked out a deal after Wendle was designated for assignment by the Athletics last week. The 27-year-old spent most of the 2017 campaign with Triple-A Nashville, though he did earn a September callup and hit .308/.357/.615 in eight games for the big club. Wendle will fight for an Opening Day roster spot as infield depth, though it's possible he winds up at Triple-A Durham to start the season.
Wendle was designated for assignment by the Athletics on Thursday, MLB.com reports. The move clears a spot on the 40-man roster for Yusmeiro Petit, who was recently signed as a free agent. Wendle spent most of the 2017 season with Triple-A Nashville, compiling a .285/.327/.429 line with eight homers and 13 stolen bases in 118 games. He held his own during a September callup, hitting .308/.357/.615 in eight games, but it apparently wasn't enough for the Athletics to keep him on the 40-man. He'll now run through waivers to determine his next landing spot.
Wendle went 1-for-4 with a grand slam in Sunday's 6-3 win over the Phillies. The 27-year-old's 381-foot shot to right with the bases jammed in the sixth erased a 3-2 deficit and ended up being the difference in the contest. Wendle had only seen five at-bats with the big-league club coming into Sunday's contest, and his timely round tripper was only the second of his brief major-league career. He figures to continue logging occasional starts for the balance of the regular season.
Wendle was recalled from Triple-A Nashville on Tuesday. A shoulder injury delayed Wendle at the start of the season and he went on to post an underwhelming .285/.327/.429 line with Nashville. The 27-year-old can help out all around the infield, but he's not a key part of the club's long-term plans and thus probably won't be given much of a look in the weeks ahead.
Wendle was reinstated from the disabled list and optioned to Triple-A Nashville on Saturday. Wendle hit the DL on April 1 with a shoulder injury, but he's now fully recovered and should return to action with Nashville within the next few days. The infielder has already seen time in six games for Nashville on the year, amassing eight hits in 22 at-bats to go with three RBI. Last season, Wendle hit .279 across 491 Triple-A at-bats.