Angels Acquire Vernon Wells From Blue Jays for Mike Napoli, Possibly Juan Rivera
On Friday evening at 5:00 p.m. EST, I was making my blog rounds when I came across a headline that stated the Blue Jays had acquired catcher Mike Napoli in a trade with the Los Angeles Angels. Big deal, right? Actually, it is. What started out as a seemingly minor transaction quickly morphed into one of the most surprising moves of the winter.
Roughly an hour later, Ken Rosenthal reported that one of the names included in the deal was the amazingly overpaid Vernon Wells. It remains to be seen what type of financial shuffling needed to take place for Toronto to unload Wells, but he is now a member of the Angels. The Jays will certainly have to eat a significant chunk of the $86 million Wells is owed over the next four seasons.
Napoli was seeking over $6 million in arbitration — a number the Angels were unwilling to play — while Wells waived his no-trade clause to allow the deal to go through. The center fielder had his best offensive season since 2006 last year when he hit .273 with 31 homers and 88 RBI. According to Rosenthal, the Angels will likely leave Wells at his natural position and keep Torii Hunter in right. Juan Rivera may be included in this deal, but if not the Angels will look to trade him elsewhere to free up space.
For this trade to make any sense at all, Toronto will have to eat almost half of Wells’ contract. Angels fans were holding out hope that the team would sign either Carl Crawford, Cliff Lee, or Adrian Beltre this offseason and the prize they ended up with is arguably the most overpaid player in baseball. Maybe a change of scenery will be just what the doctor ordered for Wells. After all, you don’t ink a $20 million per year contract for absolutely no reason.