I am already a big Joe Wendle fan, and he hasn’t even played a game for the Oakland Athletics.
It is not because I didn’t like Brandon Moss. I loved Moss. It isn’t because Wendle and I share the greatest first name in the world. But we do. It isn’t because this deal will save the Oakland Athletics $7 million next season. Although that is nice.
He is not a sure thing, he is not likely to hit 30 home runs, and he may not even make the major league roster. But Joe Wendle Sounds Like an “A” Already.
Oakland is where players get their shot. They come in damaged, forgotten, old, or overlooked. They leave all-stars.
I think Wendle has the chance to be the next clearance rack bargain to turn into a baseball treasure.
We said, “Who?” when we discovered Wendle was the target Billy Beane wanted to acquire in exchange for Moss. But that was the same thing we all said when Moss and Josh Donaldson started to make waves during the 2012 season.
But Beane saw something in Moss and Donaldson that made him give them a chance. It is clear the same is happening here with Wendle.
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According to Baseball America, Wendle has one plus skill, his bat. But he is fine everywhere else, can handle left handed pitching, and is a good athlete.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle cites a comment from a scout who believes Wendle has power to develop.
Maybe he turns into Mark Ellis, who hit double-digit homers, drove in an average of 56 runs, and walked nearly as much as he struck out for five straight years while playing elite defense. Maybe he becomes Keith Ginter, who walloped a grand total of 3 home runs for the A’s.
Last summer we clamored for Beane to trade for middle infield help. This winter we begged Beane not to trade our favorite players. Well, Athletics fans, unfortunately you cannot have it both ways.
We won’t ever know until baseball is played, but Wendle may turn out to be quite good. He is now on a team where traditional depth charts aren’t used and he isn’t blocked by a veteran. He might work out after all.