The Tampa Bay Rays executed a trade sending All-Star infielder Joey Wendle to the Miami Marlins in exchange for outfield prospect Kameron Misner, per Craig Mish. The deal was struck so that the Rays could clear room for newly signed starting pitcher Corey Kluber.
Tampa is notorious for keeping costs down by trading key players from their roster before they reach free agency. Wendle is projected to earn $4.5 million in arbitration this year before his last of arbitration in 2023.
Wendle and his now former teammate, center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, were connected to the Philadelphia Phillies prior to this trade being finalized. This trade removes not only Wendle, but potentially Kiermaier as well from Philadelphia’s wish list.
With Wendle’s salary off the books and a roster spot cleared for Kluber, Tampa has less urgency to move on from Kiermaier. As a perennial Gold Glove threat, Kiermaier looked to be an ideal candidate to fill the Phillies’ hole in center field. The Rays could still opt to shed the $12 million owed to Kiermaier this year and the $13 million club option for 2023, however, the need is no longer dire.
From here, the Phillies could pivot to blue chip trade candidate outfielders such as Cedric Mullins of the Baltimore Orioles or Bryan Reynolds from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Should they find those price tags too high, Ramón Laureano could likely be had as a part of the Oakland Athletics fire sale for a less prospect capital and would have a similar defense-first impact to that of Kiermaier.