You see the New York Mets sign Luis Severino and figure that’s all they’ll do on the penultimate day of November. Only shortly thereafter, you find out the team has also inked free agent infielder Joey Wendle to a deal as well.
You’re both praying your newborn son has another goodnight’s rest while also gleefully watching through some of the latest episodes of Squid Game The Challenge deciding if there’s actually anyone worth rooting for.
All the while, you’re wondering about Wendle. You know the name but have you ever really taken the time to look at what he does well? You check the next morning. You’re delighted to realize the Mets didn’t just replace Luis Guillorme, they upgraded.
Joey Wendle can do the things Luis Guillorme never did
Wendle is coming off of a down year with a career-worst .212/.248/.306 slash line. Only the slugging percentage has been lower in the past. It was his first year when he played only 28 games for the Oakland Athletics.
The thing about a “down year” for a utility infielder is that they’ll happen as unexpectedly as a really good one will. It was only back in 2021 when Wendle had his opportunity to play regularly for the Tampa Bay Rays and even get selected to represent the team in the All-Star Game.
But it’s not the honor of playing in the Midsummer Classic making Wendle a solid pickup for the Mets. It’s the tools he has showcased in past seasons. He has hit as high as .300 in a year in which he received 545 plate appearances. He has consistently stolen bases and although the power isn’t massive, it’s a lot more than Guillorme showed with the Mets in his tenure.
The Mets didn’t ink Wendle to mash home runs or win a batting title. He’s here for a little support, likely at third base more than anywhere else. He has over 1500 career innings there. He has been well above average there and everywhere else he has played for that matter with maybe only an exception being the small number of games he found himself roaming the outfield grass.
Wendle has never posted a negative WAR in his career. He’s coming off a 1.1 effort for the Miami Marlins last year when all he did was play shortstop for them. A gifted defender for sure, he even covers the one area where Guillorme was most entrusted and perhaps to a better degree.
The Mets added a guy with starting experience to their bench which always seems solid enough. There aren’t too many other roster consequences as a result other than Zack Short will be designated for assignment later on.
Prepare to see Wendle often standing at third base with Edwin Diaz on the mound. He might even be a regular pinch running option as well. It probably depends on who the DH is. Stay tuned.
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