January 21, 2011

Vernon Wells is coming to Anaheim

I have a really cool season ticket rep named Arthur. He’s so cool that when he read about the Mike Napoli for Vernon Wells trade on mlb.traderumors.com, he emailed me with the news. All I knew from the email was that Napoli had been traded and I had to go to mlb.tradeurmors.com for the details. The details are that Vernon Wells is coming west... to Anaheim!

My gut reaction? I gave a slight nod of approval with my head and then I went surfing. So, here’s what I know…

Vernon Wells is 32 years old. He is signed through 2014; however, he can opt out of his contract after the 2011 season. He’s due to earn $23 million this year and $21 million in each of the following years. Those are big numbers and I have to believe he’s not likely to opt out of this contract. Wells also has a full no-trade clause (which he waived to come to Anaheim).

What about his numbers, right? After all, it’s all about the numbers. Wells rebounded in 2010 after a disappointing 2009. He smacked 31 homeruns with an .847 OPS. I’ll take those numbers any time.

What I like about the deal…

This is the kind of “out of the box” deal I thought the Angels should make. The deal comes from a position of strength in that they have some depth at catcher. Wells will provide some protection for Kendry Morales and plays solid defense. He hasn’t won a Gold-Glove since 2006, but given what we saw in the outfield last year, he has to be an upgrade. If he ends up in left field with Torii Hunter in right and Peter Bourjos in center, the Angels will have three center fielders patrolling the outfield. Kind of cool.

I also like the fact that Wells wants to come to Anaheim. Given the way some free agents have shunned the Angels of late, this is a welcome change.

What makes me skeptical?

He’s going to earn some big dollars, the kind of dollars that Angels were reluctant to give some of the marquis free agents on the market. It just raises some questions for me, but I have to wrap my head around all that a little more before I blog about it.

At the end of the day, I think this is a move in the right direction. We still need to see all the specifics in the deal, as there are reports that Juan Rivera could also be a part of the deal. In any case I’m optimistic at this point.

It’s actually nice not to be ranting for a change. Just saying.

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