The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are in the news again, this time not for a trade or a free-agent signing but for a rumor. According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the New York Yankees are interested in outfielder Vernon Wells.
If this is true, the Angels must make this trade as soon as possible.
Wells is owed $21 million over the next two seasons. His behemoth of a contract has been one of the most criticized deals in baseball history.
The one-time Gold Glove-winning All-Star outfielder signed a $126 million, seven-year deal to stay with the Toronto Blue Jays after the 2006 season.
Despite a few fine seasons after that, he has been injured and disappointing for most of the deal and certainly not performing like an elite player.
By the time the Angels acquired him in a deal involving Mike Napoli, he became a big budgeted elephant in the room.
He had the worst batting average of any regular player in 2011 and the talented Angels outfield pushed him to the bench.
But his contract is so large that it causes problems for the team. As Mike DiGiovanna wrote in the Los Angeles Times, Wells' contract put the Angels in a position where they have to play him and potentially take at-bats away from Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo and Peter Bourjos.
Vernon Wells is by all accounts a good man who, according to the MLB Players Association, is involved with youth baseball and charities. But with the addition of Josh Hamilton to an already deep outfield, his playing time would be close to nothing.
The Angels would have to pay the majority of his contract if he was to go to New York, according to Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News. This would not be a salary relieving trade for the Angels.
But it would be a deal that relieves the pressure of Mike Scioscia to play a subpar outfielder at the expense of a younger and better player.
Part of a manager's job is to put the best nine players on the field for each game. With Vernon Wells gone, Scioscia can fill out his lineup card without thinking of the team's financial mistakes.
The Angels should make the deal immediately.
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