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Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Rays trade Joey Wendle to Miami

The return is 2019’s 35th overall draft selection OF Kameron Misner.

The Tampa Bay Rays have traded 2021 All-Star 3B Joey Wendle to the Miami Marlins for 2019 first round draft pick OF Kameron Misner.

Joey Wendle was acquired as a top defensive second baseman from the Oakland Athletics four seasons ago for C Jonah Heim before transitioning to a utility role, and then solidifying himself as the top third base defender on the team in 2020, appearing as the Rays starter at 3B in the World Series.

Wendle performed at his high level in the first half of 2021, in what would be his first career season with double digit homeruns, but his offense fell below average in the second half and — due in part to pitching matchups — he was not a factor in the playoffs in 2021. After the season Wendle was nominated for a Gold Glove at third base.

The timing of the deal was necessary in order to make space on the roster for incoming RHP Corey Kluber, where both Wendle and Kevin Kiermaier were rumored to be in play for a trade.

In return for Wendle, the Rays are receiving 2019’s 35th overall draft selection Kameron Misner, a boom-or-bust style prospect on the rise after a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League, where he ranked second overall in homeruns with 7.

He’s what you’d call a three-true-outcomes hitter.

On defense, Misner has been deployed at all three outfield positions, flashing a good arm with his plus speed, but even without decent reports on defense the power bat would be enough to make this an interesting trade return.

It’s possible the Rays could have traded Wendle for or as part of something more, but with their backs up against the non-tender deadline, this is a strong return for a 32-year old part time player with two years of team control remaining on his rookie contract.

The departure of Wendle should clear playing time for switch hitting SS Taylor Walls to solidify his place on the Rays roster. Walls tracked as one of baseball’s top defenders by Defensive Runs Saves at short stop, despite appearing in just under 50 games.

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