Discussion

Wells, Dunn among those on notice

Updated: February 10, 2012, 11:06 AM ET
By Buster Olney

Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols are about to start the first season of their new massive contracts, and they will presumably remain star-level players in 2012. Even if they struggle, however, they'll still have their names written into the lineup, because of how much has been invested in them by the Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels, respectively.

Other veterans, however, are close to the "or else" ledge -- that time when their employer must have production, or else change is imminent.

Vernon Wells, Los Angeles Angels: He had the lowest batting average of the 145 qualified players in the big leagues last year, hitting just .218, with a .248 on-base percentage. The Angels still have a staggering amount of money tied up with Wells, who will be paid $63 million over the next three seasons. But the fact that Jerry Dipoto was just hired as general manager will help to facilitate change, if needed, because the acquisition of Wells was not his idea. The Angels are loaded with alternatives, too. Peter Bourjos and Torii Hunter will open the season in center field and right, respectively, and with Pujols slated to be the first baseman, the Angels also have Kendrys Morales, Bobby Abreu and Mark Trumbo as DH candidates -- with Mike Trout, Keith Law's No. 1 prospect, waiting for an opportunity.

The Angels will have a Plan B, a Plan C, etc., if needed -- if Wells gives more of the same.

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