Apparently there really is one born every minute:
- The Los Angeles Angels, shut out in several bids to acquire free-agent hitters this winter, have acquired three-time All-Star Vernon Wells from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for catcher Mike Napoli and outfielder Juan Rivera.
The Angels were beaten out in efforts to land Carl Crawford and Adrian Beltre earlier this winter, but acquiring Wells shows that their willingness to spend money this offseason is in earnest. Wells is owed $86 million over the next four seasons -- $23 million next season and $21 million in each of the following three seasons.
The Blue Jays had been trying for years to free themselves from the financial weight of Wells' contract. Friday's move could make it easier for the Blue Jays to extend the contract of slugger Jose Bautista.
Toronto general manager Alex Anthopolous said Anaheim was one of the few places to which Wells would have waived his no-trade clause.
"It made sense for them and it certainly made sense for us the way this deal was structured," Anthopolous said.
Wells, a resident of Texas, has played all 12 of his major league seasons in Toronto and had a comeback season in 2010, batting .273 with 31 home runs, a .515 slugging percentage and 88 RBIs.
The team has had discussions involving leadoff man Scott Podsednik, an addition that would allow the Angels to use Bobby Abreu at designated hitter. The Angels prefer that route to using Abreu, who turns 37 in March, in the outfield on a daily basis.
If the Angels can't land Podsednik, they could go after a designated hitter. They have been linked to ex-Angel Vladimir Guerrero.
Man, this is just so wrong on so many levels.
If the Angels can't land Podsednik? Like that's a good thing? The only important roster question left involves Scott Podsednik?
Yes, Vernon Wells enjoyed a nice comeback in 2010 after a lousy 2009 ... just as he'd enjoyed a nice comeback in 2008 after a lousy 2007.
I don't really believe in patterns, so I'm not going to predict a lousy 2011. It's probably enough to point out that Wells is 32 and he's got a .321 on-base percentage over the past four seasons. And that his career statistics don't come anywhere near justifying an $86 million commitment over the next four seasons.
It's like the Angels are doubling down on Torii Hunter's contract ... which, I should mention, has worked out a lot better than I predicted. I don't know, maybe Hunter's what made the organization forget about Darin Erstad, but Erstad's disastrous contract is equally as germane as Hunter's successful one. And it says here that the Angels' outfield is going to look incredibly bloated, salary-wise, in a year or two.
Look, I'm not a huge Peter Bourjos fan; he just hasn't reached base often enough as a professional to get me real excited. But if Bourjos hadn't been so awful in the majors last year, the Angels probably wouldn't have traded for Vernon Wells. If the Angels hadn't struck out in their bids for Crawford and Beltre, they almost certainly wouldn't have traded for Wells, if only because there wouldn't have been room for Wells' HUGE contract in their budget.
But both of those things did happen, and the Angels overreacted. Sort of classically.
This might actually work, for a year or two. But the Angels are now inside one of those hamster wheels, and I really wonder if they can keep their little legs moving fast enough to keep from being flung off before long.