Grading the Vernon Wells Trade for the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Angels

Nathan TesslerCorrespondent IMarch 24, 2013

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 13:  Vernon Wells #10 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim wipes his forehead after reaching first base on an infield single during a break in action in the seventh inning of the MLB game against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 13, 2012 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are close to finishing a trade that would send Vernon Wells across the country to the Yankees.

Wells has a no-trade clause in his contract but informed both teams he would be willing to make the move to the Bronx. The trade is currently pending commissioner approval.

Wells has two years and $42 million remaining on his contract.

The 34-year-old Wells had a superb 12-year career with the Toronto Blue Jays from 1999-2010. But Wells has struggled with his form and his health ever since being traded to the Angels after the 2010 season.

From 2002-2010, Wells averaged 24.6 home runs and 88.8 RBI while hitting over .270 in all but three of those seasons. But in two seasons with the Angels, Wells missed a total of 116 games while hitting a combined .222. Wells averaged 18.0 home runs and 47.5 RBI during this span.

It is worth noting that Wells is currently hitting an impressive .361 with four home runs in only 36 at-bats this spring.

This trade fills in a need for a Yankees outfield depleted with injuries this season, while the Angels unload a hefty contract on a disappointing player.

Here are the grades for both teams for this trade:


New York Yankees

Due to several key injuries, most notably to star Curtis Granderson, the Yankees were set to go with Brennan Boesch at left field for Opening Day.

Boesch hit .240 last season and is hitting .179 in 28 at-bats this spring, so the move for Wells is no surprise. 

Wells will most likely compete for that starting left-fielder job. Wells played center field for much of his career with the Blue Jays but switched to left field upon his move to the Angels. He is certainly an upgrade from Boesch in that sense, but at 34, Wells is not getting any younger.

According to Buster Olney of ESPN, he tweeted that the Yankees will only be responsible for about $13 million of the $42 million remaining on Wells’ contract.

There's no question that $6.5 million a year is a bargain for a veteran outfielder like Wells. If he can play like he did as a Blue Jay, the trade becomes even more of a bargain.

Grade: C+

Final Analysis: The old and expensive get older and slightly more expensive. Like any aging Yankee this year, the most important thing for Wells is to stay healthy all season. Despite the advancing age, the trade for Wells is not as bad as some may think. He will fill a severe need for a viable outfielder as well as a possible right-handed DH platoon with Travis Hafner.


Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Wells’ days were numbered as soon as the Angels signed Josh Hamilton.

The impressive outfield includes Hamilton, MVP runner-up Mike Trout, speedster Peter Bourjos and even the powerful Mark Trumbo.

After two injury-riddled and underachieving seasons, it was only a matter of time before a team snatched up Wells. Unfortunately, the Angels also had to eat a huge portion of Wells’ contract due to his age and disappointing two seasons in Los Angeles.

No matter what the Angels get in return from the Yankees, this trade was never going to be a big victory for the franchise.


Grade: C–

Final Analysis: Wells is a good DH candidate for any American League team. The Angels did a good job of trading Wells to a team outside of its division, in spite of the massive contract they must still pay. But by comparison, the Chicago Cubs are willing to eat all but $10 million on Alfonso Soriano’s large contract. Considering Soriano is still capable of 30 home runs and 100 RBI, forcing the Yankees to take on $13 million from the disappointing Wells was a fairly good deal.