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Los Angeles Angels: 7 Potential Vernon Wells Replacements

Nathan TannerContributor IIIJune 15, 2011

Los Angeles Angels: 7 Potential Vernon Wells Replacements

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    ANAHEIM, CA - JUNE 10:  Vernon Wells #10 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim waits on deck against the Kansas City Royals at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 10, 2011 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    What can be said of the Vernon Wells trade that hasn’t already been said?

    Not much. Wells has been an absolute disappointment since joining the Angels and an expensive disappointment at that.

    Rather than list all of the reasons why the Wells acquisition was foolish, let’s try and find a solution.

    The Angels are in desperate need of hitting as the team has not been able to produce runs the same way they did in previous seasons.

    They recently signed Russell Branyan to help fill the void, but he hasn’t done much to assist. As an Angel, Branyan is hitting .143 and has zero home runs.

    Despite the Angels recent challenges, they are 3.5 games back of the Texas Rangers. The AL West is still wide open and with the right moves,  the Halos could win the division.

    Should the Angels replace Wells?

    If they do, here are seven outfielders who can help get the Angels back on track.

7. Alex Gordon, Kansas City Royals

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    ANAHEIM, CA - JUNE 11: Alex Gordon #4 of the Kansas City Royals grounds out but picks up an RBI in the third inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on June 11, 2011 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    The Kansas City Royals are seven games under .500 and seven games back of the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central.

    Although they are technically still in the race, their schedule only gets more difficult from here. Of the 67 games they’ve played, 41 of them have been at home—more than any team in baseball.

    Is it already time for the Royals to begin their yearly rebuilding process?

    If so, the Angels would love to take Alex Gordon off their hands. Gordon is hitting .283/.350/.457 and has hit seven home runs this season.

    His numbers might not be tops in the league, but he is a solid player who can fill the team’s void in left field.

6. Seth Smith, Colorado Rockies

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    DENVER, CO - JUNE 12: Seth Smith #7 of the Colorado Rockies exhales after being left on base against the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 12, 2011 at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. Smith had a three-run homer earlier in the game. The Dodgers won the game 10-
    Marc Piscotty/Getty Images

    Seth Smith of the Rockies is another good option for the Angels of Anaheim.

    Smith had a breakout year in 2009 but was subpar in 2010. He has started almost every game for the Rockies this year and has made the most of it.

    Smith has proven that he can hit for both average and power. His.309 batting average ranks him higher than anyone on the Angels and his .527 SLG and .895 OPS rank in the National League top 10.

    Smith is four years younger than Wells and a move for him would show the Halos’ commitment to building their team around youth.

5. Michael Bourn, Houston Astros

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    HOUSTON - JUNE 13:  Michael Bourn #21 of the Houston Astros scores in the sixth inning on a Hunter Pence single against the Atlanta Braves at Minute Maid Park on June 13, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Most of the talk surrounding the Houston Astros has been the topic of realignment and the team’s potential move to the American League.

    Could Michael Bourn beat the rest of the Astros to the AL?

    The Angels love having speed on the base paths and the addition of Bourn would be a major upgrade over Wells.

    Bourn currently leads MLB with 27 stolen bases and ranked No. 2 in the league in SBs during 2009 and 2010. Needless to say, the guy has wheels.

    The Astros are probably not interested in trading one of their top players, but if the Halos offered the right pieces a deal might get done.

4. Jay Bruce, Cincinnati Reds

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    CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 1: Jay Bruce #32 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates with teammates after hitting a home run in the seventh inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Great American Ball Park on June 1, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds defeated the Bre
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    The Angels desperately need a power hitter. Of the 14 AL teams, The Halos have hit more home runs than only three of them—the Mariners, Twins and A’s.

    Jay Bruce has been an absolute beast this year. His 17 home runs rank No. 6 in baseball and No. 4 among outfielders.

    The Reds need to add some quality arms to their staff if they have any hopes of making a World Series run. To get a solid pitcher, they will probably have to give up a hitter in return.

    While many have said that Bruce is untouchable, the Angels may have what it takes to lure him out of Cincinnati.

3. Michael Morse, Washington Nationals

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    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 07:  Michael Morse #38 of the Washington Nationals doubles against the San Francisco Giants during an MLB game at AT&T Park on June 7, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Michael Morse is currently having his best season ever.

    Although he made his major league debut back in 2005, Morse is finally getting the opportunity to play every day.

    The 6’5” left fielder is batting .303 and has hit 10 home runs this year. He had an incredible month of May when he hit .403 and posted an OPS of 1.196.

    The Angels would be wise to acquire Morse as Wells’ replacement in left field.

    At age 29 he may not have a ton of upside, but Morse would be a great addition for the 2011 season.

2. Kosuke Fukudome, Chicago Cubs

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    PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 28:  Kosuke Fukudome #1 of the Chicago Cubs bats against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on April 28, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Diamondbacks defeated the Cubs 11-2.  (Photo by Christia
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The Chicago Cubs are having another disappointing season (surprised?).

    They are currently 10 games behind the division-leading Brewers and Cardinals, and although it is only mid-June, the Cubs don’t look like much of a threat in the NL Central.

    The Angels desperately need another bat and Kosuke Fukudome would be a great fit in Southern California where there is a strong Asian fan base.

    Fukudome doesn’t have a lot of power, but he can get on base regularly. He is currently batting .296 and has an on-base percentage of .408.

    Fukudome is in the last year of his four year, $52 million contract and could help get the Angels back on track.

1. Mike Trout, Double-A Arkansas

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    TEMPE, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Mike Trout #90 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim poses during their photo day at Tempe Diablo Stadium on February 21, 2011 in Tempe,Arizona. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)
    Rob Tringali/Getty Images

    Mike Trout is a legitimate five-tool outfielder who can throw, field, run the bases, hit for average and hit for power. He can literally do it all.

    At age 19, Trout is not only the No. 1 prospect for the Angels, but might be the No.1 prospect in all of baseball.

    Trout has been an absolute stud at every level he has played. He is currently in Double-A Arkansas and has continued to impress.

    Does it make sense for the Angels to replace Wells with outside talent when they have a superstar in the making with Trout?

    Should they bring him up to the big leagues right now?

What Should the Angels Do?

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    SEATTLE - JUNE 13:  Vernon Wells #10 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim hits a two-run homer in the seventh inning against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on June 13, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    The best outcome for the Angels would be to find another team willing to take Wells off of their hands, but I doubt any would be interested at this point.

    After 2011, the Angels will still owe Wells $63 million over the next three years. Does it make sense to give up on him after a few tough months?

    I don’t think so.  

    Although Wells is having an awful season, he has been much better since returning from the disabled list. Over the last five games he has batted .316 and hit two home runs.

    While that is a very small sample, Angels fans can only hope those are the kind of numbers he’ll continue to produce.

    The Angels would be wise to stick with Wells through the rest of the year. After that, Mike Trout should be ready to take the league by storm.

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