The Marlins and Joey Wendle have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal with a mutual option for 2023, reports Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald. The terms have not been disclosed.
Wendle qualified for arbitration for the first time last year as a member of the Rays, earning a salary of $2.25MM. He had been projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz for a modest raise to $4MM this year. Due to the lockout, the salary negotiation process was put on hold and delayed substantially, with hearings now set to take place in season. That creates the potential for awkward situations where a team lays out a player’s flaws in front of an arbiter in order to argue against the player’s salary request, but then expects the player to go out and produce on the field after. Wendle and the Marlins can now avoid such a fate, after agreeing on terms for 2022.
Acquired from the Rays in an offseason trade, Wendle has between four and five years of MLB service time. That means he’s currently lined up to reach free agency after the 2023 season. This deal won’t affect that timeline, but will merely provide a bit of cost certainty, at least for this year. Wendle is off to a great start as a Marlin, hitting .323/.382/.419 in his first ten games.
The Marlins recently reached a similar deal with Jesus Aguilar, although that situation is slightly different in that Aguilar is one year closer to free agency. If the mutual option is not triggered by both parties, he will become a free agent. In Wendle’s case, he could still be controlled by Miami for 2023 via arbitration.