The Tampa Bay Rays have traded All-Star infielder Joey Wendle to the Miami Marlins in exchange for prospect outfielder Kameron Misner, the teams announced. The Marlins designated outfielder Lewis Brinson for assignment to make room on their 40-man roster for Wendle.
As noted in our ongoing news and rumors live blog, the Rays found themselves in a roster crunch here with the CBA likely expiring Dec. 2 at midnight and bringing on a lockout. They have agreed to terms with veteran starting pitcher Corey Kluber, but can't officially add him to the 40-man roster -- they were at a full 40 -- until a spot was cleared. Rumors circulated that center fielder Kevin Kiermaier and Wendle were both on the block. And now this trade clears said spot for Kluber.
It's a nice move by the Kim Ng-led Marlins front office as they continue to be aggressive. Within the last two days, the Marlins have added outfielder Avisaíl García, extended frontline starting pitcher Sandy Alcantara, traded for catcher Jacob Stallings and now traded for Wendle.
In related news, the Marlins have traded catcher Jorge Alfaro to the Padres, per Craig Mish of USA Today Sports. The deal makes sense with Stallings taking over as the primary catcher. Alex Jackson and Nick Fortes are in-house options to serve as Stallings' backup.
Wendle is a 31-year-old infielder who also swings lefty. He's played mostly second, third and short and is best suited for second base, though he's proven to be mostly good at third and adequate at short. In 136 games last season, he hit .265/.319/.422 (110 OPS+) with 31 doubles, four triples, 11 homers, 54 RBI, 73 runs, eight steals and 3.8 WAR. He's in arbitration for two more seasons before hitting free agency.
The Marlins' offense still needs more work to match up with what looks like an excellent, young rotation, but they are making gains. Jazz Chisholm flashed some nice upside last season at age 23 while Jesús Aguilar and Avisaíl García could hit like middle-order types and now Wendle is added to the mix. Jesús Sánchez and Brian De La Cruz also showed promise down the stretch.
At this rate, I wouldn't expect the Marlins to get quiet until spring training. They really seem intent on putting a winner on the field soon.
As for the Rays' return, Misner is a 23-year-old outfielder who was the 33rd overall pick in the 2019 draft out of the University of Missouri. Last season between High-A and Double-A, he hit .253/.355/.433 with 29 doubles, 12 homers and 26 steals in 102 games. He played in the Arizona Fall League as well, hitting just .205 though he added seven homers in just 78 at-bats while posting a .373 on-base percentage.