The Rays are exploring the trade markets for both infielder Joey Wendle and center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, tweets Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Earlier today, Matt Gelb of The Athletic reported that the Phillies have had trade talks surrounding Kiermaier as they continue to search for an option in center field.
Wendle, 31, was one of the Rays’ whopping 19 arbitration-eligible players entering the offseason, and teams have until 8pm ET tonight to determine whether to tender contracts to those players. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects a $4MM salary for Wendle next season, but the Rays are deep in infield talent with the likes of Wander Franco, Brandon Lowe, Yandy Diaz and prospects Vidal Brujan and Taylor Walls.
There’s little chance the Rays would simply non-tender Wendle. He’s coming off a solid .265/.319/.422 batting line (106 wRC+) through 501 plate appearances in 2021, and beyond his contribution with the bat, he played above-average defense at each of second base, third base and shortstop. He’s also controlled another two seasons via arbitration, so a team in need of help at second and/or third base would surely be intrigued by the possibility of swinging a deal with the Rays.
Kiermaier is in an entirely different situation. The 31-year-old is entering the final guaranteed season of a six-year, $53.5MM contract extension and is due to earn $12MM next season (plus at least a $2.5MM buyout on a $13MM option for the 2023 campaign). His name has been kicked about the rumor mill for years now, largely on account of his salary naturally increasing in the latter stages of that extension.
Though Kiermaier has struggled to remain healthy throughout his MLB career, it’s obvious why a Phillies club that has been defensively inept for several years would have interest in adding him to the mix. When healthy, Kiermaier is among the best defensive players on the planet, regardless of position. And while he’s been inconsistent with the bat, his composite .243/.321/.401 batting line dating back to 2016 is only about five percent below average, by measure of wRC+. Kiermaier also provides ample value on the basepaths, evidenced in part by a 77% success rate in stolen-base attempts during that time.
The Phillies have about $171MM in payroll commitments for the 2022 season and a near identical mark in luxury-tax obligations, per Roster Resource’s Jason Martinez. Kiermaier would add $12MM to their bottom-line payroll but only about $8.91MM to their luxury ledger, thanks to the backloaded nature of his contract extension.
Philadelphia has been seeking an upgrade in center field for several years now and has already missed out on top free agent Starling Marte this winter. The Phils also held interest in Minnesota’s Byron Buxton, but the Twins signed him to a seven-year extension with a full no-trade clause, firmly closing the book on any such possibility.
It’s at least plausible that the Phils could have interest in a combo deal with the Rays that would send both Kiermaier and Wendle to the City of Brotherly Love. The Phillies have been loosely tied to infield upgrades, and while it’s not reported to be a top priority for them, Wendle would give them some cover on the left side of the infield where both Didi Gregorius and Alec Bohm are coming off lackluster seasons.
The Rays have a full 40-man roster and still need to make room for the formal addition of right-hander Corey Kluber, who agreed to a one-year, $8MM deal with Tampa Bay on Sunday.
He’s a 4 war player. Teams will be lining up for him. Surprised the rays wouldn’t look to dump someone else even with their plethora of infielders. Wonder if they would take edmundo sosa, zac Thompson and Jhon Torres. Or anyone in the cards system not named gorman, libertore or burleson
Article doesn’t mention the expected return. Game is played on the field and forget WAR or surplus value when a team like the Rays just signed Franco long term. He’ll too be traded before the big dollar years come due. Keirmeier is an exception. Until the Rays find a way to get fans to attend, this is the way they have to go. At least they historically have found a way to win so many trades. Anyone trading with them needs to think twice before pulling the trigger.
The Rays have blown plenty of trades.
Chipper Jones' illegitimate kid
True, the Rays aren’t better than any team in terms of acquiring talent. They excel at maximizing their talent. No one does that better. Meanwhile teams like the Mets and Padres excel at minimizing their talent at all costs.
Uh, the Rays do more (wins) with less ($) than any other team in the sport. Plus, their ability to recognize and develop talent is first rate.
of course if you get in the game, your going to lose now and then. They have a track record if doing more with less than anyone else. Considering the changes at the top, their system is second to none.
There’s a team called the Oakland Athletics that would disagree with ya. They have just as much success as Tampa even though they, too, have little money compared to the big market teams. In fact, they’ll basically rebuild in one winter if they get what Bassit, Montas, Olson, Manaea, & Chapman, etc, are worth, imho. Also, in terms of developing talent, the Cardinals are excellent as well. And Cleveland is outstanding at developing pitching in particular. Too bad the Angels don’t have any of that developing young pitching talent, lol.
Nelson Cruz comes to mind
I wouldn’t mind seeing Wendle on the Cards and have them spend some money on more pitching. Between Wendle, Sosa and Edman (and maybe Gorman) they’d get decent production out of the middle infield. Still would like to see DeJong moved to Oakland as part of a package for Bassit or Manaea.
That would be a fantastic thing if it happened for the Cards…
I don’t know what Oakland is looking for in a Bassit/Manaea trade. But if they want cost-controlled MLB-ready players, I think a package of DeJong and Knizner with a mid-tier prospect or two would be reasonable. DeJong is due $19m over the next three years (with two club options following that) and was a 5-WAR player (per baseball reference) in 2019. He’s got the glove and the power, he just can’t make contact. I’m personally sick of watching him but he has value, I think.
Dejong has negative value– the A’s are trying to cut payroll, not add $15M+ in guarantees for a bad shortstop (look at how that worked out for them this year.) Knizer is worthless. If you included Dejong, the A’s would ask for Liberatore or Nootbaar, in addition to one or two high minors guys with decent potential.
What a terrible trade proposal
Dude, Javy Baez is going to make $23m next year. DeJong is going to make $6m. There is no effing way DeJong has “negative” value.
I have no idea what the As want to do next year. If they’re tearing it down, then obviously they don’t want DeJong or probably any established MLB player. If they want to try to compete while retooling, I think DeJong offers production and cost certainty to a small market team.
And yeah, I was wrong about what’s left on his contract. He’s owed $15m over the next two years (not $19m over the next three), followed by two club options.
They already took Piscotty off the Cardinals hands. You cant pawn all poor early extensions off on the As.
Get MLB studs in return, the farm is full
Chipper Jones' illegitimate kid
Studs for just solid players? What are you smoking?
Kiermaier is one of the few contract missteps the Rays have made. They couldn’t move him before his salaries started escalating.
Nope. Kiermaier has been a key player these last few years: stellar defense, some clutch hitting (his numbers after the bream this year were pretty solid), and clubhouse leadership. The Rays could have dumped him these last couple years, there is a reason they didn’t beyond the return. The Rays do want to win, you know.
I am correct. Kiermaier has talent, but you know how the Rays operate. Buy out a few free agent years, push the more expensive years to the latter seasons, with the plan to trade the player while there is still value. All was on plan in 2017 when he was cheap, and productive. They had to move him by 2020 when he started to get expensive for the Rays. Unfortunately, for them, from 2018-2020 he put up an 82 OPS+, became more injury prone and he went from a 5-7 WAR player to a 2 WAR player. No one is going to pay for that so they couldn’t move him but you always heard rumors they were trying. Now they’re facing a $14.6MM goodbye year. They’ll do everything they can to avoid that when they have replacements for him. They’ll attach a player, they might even have to attach some money (gasp).
As you appear to be one of the few Rays fans here, I have news to break to you gently. Their plan is to trade Franco after year four of the deal. Don’t be upset. They’ll get a king’s ransom. It’s all part of the Rays way. No need though to buy an expensive Franco jersey. Go for the cheap one.
The problem is he can’t ever stay healthy. He’s never played more than 130 games in a season twice. The Rays can’t afford to handout $10+ million AAV contracts to players who can’t stay healthy.
Mets…McNeil for wendle
If they trade McNeil, it’s not going to be for another infielder.
McNiel to WSox for Kimblow
Voice recognition is a b*tch, isn’t it?
Why would the Rays want McNeil? They have a ton of infielders, and more in the minors.
Good point. Wishful thinking on my part.
“Mr. Wendle has freedom
A freedom that you and I think is dumb
Free to be without the worries of a quick to diss society
For Mr. Wendle’s a bum”
—Arrested Development… the band, not the TV show
“I prematurely shot my wad on what was supposed to be a dry run and now I have a bit of a mess on my hands.”
– Arrested Development….the TV show, not the band
When aren’t they discussing Kiermaier in trades
Good point. He’s mentioned every offseason. No takers at his contract price.
I could see the giants align in this trade also… could save whatever team a fortune compared to signing Bryant or Taylor depending on the prospects. Maybe the rays bundle them to shave salary for KK. Could be a significantly lower investment than that of 75-120 million for Taylor or Bryant.
I feel like the Giants are bigger on Taylor over Bryant. I could definitely see Kiermeier there in CF as an alternative
Wendle makes sense for a few teams. The Nationals, Phillies, White Sox, Cubs, all could use him
WSox will take both for Kimblow
Oh, my bad, was trying to give you a pass earlier. It’s just an attempt at cleverness. Got it.
It’s not that clever of a nickname, you can quit spamming the comments with it now. It’s not even good, why not like Dreg Kimbrel?
You going to keep at it until someone pays attention to you? You must be one of those people that try to explain jokes when no one laughs.
Wendle should be easier to move than Kiermaier, but I doubt they will get much value back.
as for kiermaier a bag of popcorn might even be a plus at this point.
TB might have to include them together to get a swap approved.
I could see some sort of deal centering around Kimbrel for both. Wendle is an upgrade at 2B. Kiermaier is a bit of a surplus in the OF for a team that already has Engel, but Sox could have the best defensive OF in all of baseball if they ran out those two around Robert. And last year showed everyone how important depth is. There might also be room for a three-team deal with the Phillies where the Sox wind up with Segura and Kiermaier with Kimbrel as the centerpiece going to the Phillies. I just don’t want the Sox to start the season with Garcia as their 2B or Kimbrel as their setup guy.
Trading with the Rays is like sports betting. They almost always know more than you do.
Rays will take an L on keirmeier to be rid of that contract no matter how many GGs he could achieve he is in full decline at the plate
“he is in full decline at the plate”
His career OPS+ is 98.
His 2021 OPS+ was 104.
Please explain how 104 is a decline from 98?
The Rays are exceptional at scouting and developing. Their trades don’t always work out. They’re a very smart team, sure, but they’re far from infallible.
Yes. And very good at maximizing trading talent. Didn’t work out with KK but it usually does. It’s easier for them. They don’t have to worry about fan attendance and negative fan reaction when trading players, so they’re free to trade anyone at anytime.
For months, dating back to June or July, Mariner fans have speculated over a future match-up with Tampa and those two specific names fit even better today.
Seattle would still need an impact bat(s) and still need another starting pitcher, but they’d be a much deeper team if they were to acquire both players.
Throw in Glasnow in a package and I’d be good. He’s out next year due to TJ but looking at it long term!
I know Joe Doyle sparked the Glasnow hype, but he really doesn’t make any sense for Seattle. By the time he’s ready to pitch, Kirby, Brash, Williamson, and possibly both Hancock and Stoudt, will be options for the Mariners.
Better to focus on what they need now: A viable starter, an infielder, and someone at least capable of handling CF.
I don’t get to watch the Rays a ton on the west coast. How does he handle SS? Could he be a full time SS do you think?
Yes. That was his original position. Hellie good defender at any of the three positions, really.
Right on thanks. Was thinking the angels could be a good fit. Affordable salary, need at SS, left handed bat.
Wendell will be an Angel
As Buck Showalter says, there isn’t a manager in MLB who wouldn’t want Joey Wendle. Decent bat, great attitude, plays a variety of positions WITH SKILL, unlike many of the so-called utility types. I noted a couple of months ago (to much ridicule) that I thought the Rays might pair the two in order to save some money. ‘
It actually makes some sense. Rays are deep in CF-types (including Josh Lowe and Brujan, who belongs there instead of SS), not to mention Margot and Phillips. Moving Wendle gets Wander off SS (where he’s less valuable) and over to 3B, where he’d be above average defensively. That way, they keep Walls at short , where he excels. .
A KK/Wendle combo saves money, and sets other players up for sucess. It’s the right move.
Tough as nails. A real ballplayer. Buck is right.
I don’t think the comment about his backloaded deal changing luxury tax implications is accurate. The tax simply uses AAV and it doesn’t care if the salary is paid upfront or 23 years from now. MLBTR?
Kiermaier to Texas in a trade involving Isaiah Kinerfalefa
Wendle would look good on the south side
heya Dave, how about both?
Serious question Philly fans, is that kid moniak they drafted #1 overall like 8 years ago is that dude ever gonna reach the majors or is he just a big draft bust?? Lol thought he was supposed to be the CF of the future. Still odd to me he has yet to reach the bigs full time.
Phillies probably not counting on anything from Moniak – question still revolves around which department has hurt them the most; talent evaluation or player development? Recent collapses would certainly include Kingery, Moniak, Bohm, Haesley, Randolph and potentially Nola.
Looks like a typical Phillies bust.
Why not Mullins for Bohm?
That would make some sense
I’ll get Bohm’s bus ticket down to Baltimore
LOL very generous, I am not sure if all O’s fans would like this deal
I ran it by them last night and they were not buying it, I would, but who knows
I would love for Cleveland to bring Wendle back home. (They’re the team that drafted him.)
He could play second for the time being while they figure out who out of Rosario/Gimenez/Arias/Freeman/Rocchio/Tena can be a long-term fit, and he’s versatile enough that he can move positions if they decide not to block any of those guys. The Guardians just need good players, period, and he’s a good player. He’s the kind of Swiss Army knife that Francona loves, but just with better offense.
Wouldn’t mind the Dodgers trading for Joey to be an affordable alternative to Taylor. Can fill in for J.Turner and Lux when needed.
old man hub
Personally, I’d like to see KK on grass in Wrigley, I think his brother is on the grounds crew there and suspect the family came up as Cub fans.
You might need him as a defensive replacement for Frazier, although Clint should be the DH most of the time if the Universal DH comes about.
Hahn: two LH bats with strong defense, just what we need. Look into it please.
RIP LaMarr Dewey Hoyt. 1983 ALCY.
Joey Wendle can help any team in baseball. It’ll be a sad day when he goes for any Rays fan. He’s just that kind of a player. So much more than his stats.
I have an interesting comp. Two players that can play 2nd, 3rd and SS, with a little OF. From 2018-2021:
Player A: Total WAR 10.4. WAR/650 PAs 3.7
Player B: Total WAR 1074. WAR/650 PAs 4.7
A is Taylor and B is Wendle. It feels like Wendle is way more valuable for two years than Taylor will be at $68M/4.
Philly should take both. Absorbing KK’s salary will help alleviate the prospect cost. They need a CF, and could probably use a SS while giving Stott more time to develop.
Or. from my perspective, I’d like to see KK on the RS, depending on how much cash TB kicks in. KK in CF and Hernandez back to 2nd would do a lot for our defense, without a big cost.
I don’t know if it was pointed out yet, but Kiermaier had a really good second half, at least for his standards. .825 OPS, 129 wRC+. With his defense, he doesn’t have to be a 130 wRC+ hitter to be productive. Even if he keeps producing at an overall league-average level hitting is good enough to justify him getting regular playing time in the outfield.
Kiermaier for Hoskins. Please DD. And maybe ask for Glasnow
The Saber-toothed Superfife
IF Al Avila has any sense, BIG IF; He would offer to take on that glorious Gregorious contract in exchange for prospects.
Same with Kiermaier……
Big I F
Don’t know about you guys but I’ve never seen so many commenters from various teams express a desire to get a guy as Wendle. Scherzer would probably have fewer defenders. The Wendle-for-prospect deal still looks sufficiently lopsided to me that I think there will be future considerations .between the teams.
(You BET they do that.)
As a Rays fan I hate to see him go.
The comment Regarding KK’s surprisingly good second half is spot-on too…