The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim made a significant move in the offseason by signing to what should be considered to be an overly inflated contract and an incredibly bone-headed move.
What makes this move bone-headed is the simple fact that the Angels not only gave up two wonderful players in Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli, but also the fact that the Halos are hoping Vernon Wells will duplicate his 2010 performance, which isn’t likely.
If THAT’S not enough, Wells is also owed a whopping $86 million over the next four years, and goes to a less hitter-friendly park in Angels Stadium of Anaheim than his old digs at Toronto’s Rogers Centre, making Wells’ season possibly look more arduous than the six-month repair fiasco on the Metrodome.
Enter in the fantasy factor.
Last year playing for the Blue Jays, Wells hit a solid .273/.331/.515 with 31 home runs (two shy of his career total of 33 back in 2003) while knocking in 88 RBI. This came after a three-year lull, mainly due to a broken wrist in 2008, and lingering after-effects in 2009.
But that was 2010.
Wells is 32 and is sure to take a downward turn in overall production, so the real issue is his new digs and age is sure to cause his fantasy value to dip—something you want to remember at draft time
Currently—depending on where you go really—you may find Wells ranked anywhere from 25th to 35th among outfielders which is a bit generous.
Top-50 outfielder, yes. Top-25 outfielder, certainly not!
The moral of the story is this: I understand—as most do—anything is possible in baseball. But just because anything’s possible, doesn’t mean you forget about the improbable.
Wells is not going to duplicate his 2010 performance, which means (at draft time) you should treat him as a third OF at best—perhaps even a low-end DH player with potential since he won’t hurt you with strikeouts—but wasting a quality draft pick on Wells early would be a huge waste.