1. Joey Wendle
He’ll annoy you much less if he’s on your own team!
As Isiah Kiner-Falefa gets deeper and deeper into the season, he’s begun to agitate some forward-thinking fans more and more. After all, his role isn’t as a run producer, but rather as a hard-nosed “gamer”. Some diehards approach that situation and say, “Why…exactly would we employ someone who intentionally does not produce runs?”
IKF is an interesting case. He’s a “stopgap” who’s probably better suited to a utility role. He makes consistent contact, which occasionally results in hard liners, but typically results in rollovers to short. His defense is solid and sometimes special, but there have been plenty of high-profile clunkers mixed in, too. The power may never come; he enters July homerless, with only 11 doubles to his name.
The Yankees are probably planning to roll with him moving forward…but if not…why not trade for a “gamer” who does all the little things and some of the big things? Specifically, eternal thorn-in-their-side Joey Wendle, no longer on the Rays and resting on the Miami Marlins’ IL since late May.
When healthy this season, Wendle produced sans-batting gloves, hitting .284 with a .340 OBP and 114 OPS+, clearing IKF’s bar significantly. He’s basically a DJ LeMahieu clone who can also play shortstop (LeMahieu’s fatal flaw!), and would fall into a nice rotation with Kiner-Falefa that could eventually send Marwin Gonzalez to the outfield more often and Matt Carpenter potentially packing.
If acquired, the Yankees will be able to put their trust in Wendle at multiple positions — and it’s not like he doesn’t have postseason expertise. If the goal is to grate your opponent like sandpaper, Wendle could certainly help, and shouldn’t cost much.