Vernon Wells To L.A. Angels: 5 Reasons To Hate the Trade
Shut out from signing Cliff Lee, Carl Crawford and Adrian Beltre (ouch!), the Angels overreacted and made a trade for Vernon Wells. Guess there really is one born every minute.
Wells' seven-year, $126 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays, which has been one of the worst deals in baseball since it was signed in 2006, is now the Angels' problem, or at least $86 million of it is.
But money is just one reason for Angels fans to hate this deal.
Let's take a look at some other reasons...
5. Money...Is That What the Angels Want?
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The Angels are about to invest $86 million into a player who had more than 20 home runs and 80 RBI for the first time in four years last season.
Wells will make $23 million next season and $21 million in each of the following three seasons. That's more than Beltre and Crawford will be making with the Texas Rangers and the Boston Red Sox, respectively.
Unable to sign either of those players, Angels GM Tony Reagins decided to invest even more in an inferior player. Do you think Wells will have more of an impact on the Angels than either Beltre or Crawford will on their new teams? I'm inclined to think not.
"We get Vernon from age 32 to 35. It's a four-year commitment. And you are seeing players getting longer term deals at six, seven, eight years. We felt that adding a player like Vernon for four years made a lot of sense for us and really get him at a time in his career where he's still doing some really special things," Reagins said.
Reagins does have a point there, but it's the dollars that make this deal ugly for the Angels.
4. The Blue Jays Paid How Much of Wells' Contract for Next Season?
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That's right—not only did the Angels take on Wells' contract, but they only got the Blue Jays to kick in $5 million of Wells' salary for next season?
So the Jays clear $23 million off the books for next season, and the Angels get the privilege of paying all but $5 million of Wells' hefty salary. How the Angels couldn't get the Blue Jays to kick in more money for next season is beyond me.
Between Torii Hunter ($18.5 million in 2011) and now Vernon Wells, the Angels have a lot of money running around in that outfield.
3. Blue Jays Immediately Trade for Another Bullpen Piece
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In order to acquire Wells, the Angels sent catcher Mike Napoli and outfielder Juan Rivera to Toronto.
The Blue Jays then turned around and sent Napoli to the Texas Rangers in exchange for reliever Frank Francisco and cash. The AL champion Rangers get a quality bat and the Blue Jays add additional bullpen depth.
The Blue Jays have made a ton of moves to improve their team for what is shaping up to be an intense AL East this season. But that has nothing to do with the Angels.
What makes this move more embarrassing for the Angels is that not only were the Jays able to dump Wells on them, but they didn't even feel the return they got for him was worth holding on to.
Francisco was 6-4 with a 3.76 ERA in 56 appearances for the Rangers before missing the final month of the season and the postseason with a muscle strain.
2. It's a Classic Case of Overreacting
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Angels fans were going crazy as they watched every single free agent choose every team but theirs. At one time, Crawford was considered so close to signing in Anaheim that one baseball executive commented: "It's like he's already on the team."
Well, we all know what happened from there. Crawford took his talents to Boston and the Angels watched Cliff Lee return to Philadelphia just four days later.
Say what you will about Adrian Beltre and his love of contract years, but having him would have had a much bigger impact than adding Wells. Beltre will make $16 million annually, far less than what the Angels will pay Wells over the next four seasons.
But instead of entering 2011 with an improved bullpen and a healthy Kendry Morales and waiting to see who becomes available during the season, the Angels panicked and let their fans make the decision for them.
1. Wells Doesn't Do So Well Out West
Safeco Field: .188/.212/.250 0 HR 1 RBI 32 AB
Rangers Ballpark: .306/.382/.694 4 HR 12 RBI 49 AB
Oakland Coliseum: .256/.275/.282 0 HR 0 RBI 39 AB
Wells doesn't exactly dominate in the different stadiums of the AL West. The smaller confines of Yankee Stadium, Tropicana Field and Fenway Park aren't going to be around—not that Wells was dominating in any of those places either.
The Oakland A's have a tremendous pitching staff, as well as an improved offense, and the Texas Rangers have one of the best offenses in baseball. The Angels might not have everything they need to keep up in the division, even with the addition of Wells.
Prior to the Wells trade, many baseball insiders had the Angels finishing third in the AL West. I don't think adding Wells improves that projection very much.
Yes, a change to regular grass should help Wells' knees and maybe improve his speed in the outfield, but the Angels have to bank everything on Wells having yet another bounce-back season in 2011.
It's an $86 million gamble.