Earlier this winter, I put together a trade idea between the SF Giants and Miami Marlins. Given how the offseason has transpired, it probably does not make a ton of sense at this point but there is another move that does between the two teams.
The SF Giants should connect with the Marlins on a trade for middle infielder
The Giants have quietly had a nice offseason by solidifying the starting rotation with Sean Manaea and Ross Stripling and bolstering the outfield with Mitch Haniger and Michael Conforto. They have added to the bullpen as well after signing Taylor Rogers to a three-year, $33 million contract.
It has been a productive offseason. That said, it is lacking the big-time move, and perhaps, the opportunity to make that type of move has passed. The Giants still have holes to fill on the roster and have done little to address a defense that ranked as one of the worst in baseball last year.
Middle infielder Joey Wendle would check off several boxes for the Giants. Most notably, he would give them a strong defensive glove. Plus, he brings a left-handed bat to the table for an infield alignment that leans a little too heavily on right-handed bats.
The 32-year-old is in the final year of arbitration before hitting free agency. The Marlins held a $6.3 million mutual option for next season, but declined it in favor of arbitration in a maneuver that will save Miami a little bit of change.
He slashed .259/.297/.360 (86 OPS+) with three home runs, 32 RBI, and 27 runs in 371 plate appearances last season. This includes a 4.0 percent walk rate against a 13.5 percent strikeout rate. Wendle does not offer a ton of offensive upside, but he has produced several above-average seasons with the bat.
However, he generates plenty of value with the glove. The middle infielder was worth +6 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and +3 Outs Above Average (OAA) at shortstop in 2022. He was even better at second base, registering +9 DRS and +2 OAA. This is not an outlier but a continuation of a trend throughout Wendle's seven-year career.
It is not a perfect fit by any means, but the front office needs to address the defense at some point. Given that Wendle is on an expiring contract, his trade value is minimal. I put a trade proposal into the 'ol trade simulator and it accepted a move that sends Wendle to San Francisco in exchange for pitcher Sean Hjelle and middle infield prospect Jimmy Glowenke.
Hjelle is pretty far down the depth chart after posting a 5.76 ERA in eight appearances for the Giants last year. Glowenke's bat has not developed since being selected in the second round of the 2020 draft, but he has flashed more power than expected.
This is the type of trade capital that the Giants can tolerate while addressing an immediate need. The free-agent market has thinned out on defensive middle infielders, so the trade market might be the best way for the Giants to bolster the defense.