The not-so-appealing Vernon Wells


According to the tireless Jon Heyman, the Blue Jays are fielding offers for center fielder Vernon Wells. Of course, as the Yanks are ever looking for an adequate center fielder, some fans have proposed kicking the tires on this one.

On the surface it’s not a terrible idea. While the Jays probably aren’t too keen to trade Wells to a division contender, the Yanks could use a steady presence in center field. But is Wells really the answer? Probably not

The first problem is that Vernon Wells is set to make a lot of money. Last year, he signed a seven-year, $126-million contract that, from the get-go, promised Wells, then 29 and now 30, far more money than he is actually worth. He may opt out after 2011, but over the next few years, his salary structure looks like this:


His salary is so low up front because the Blue Jays owe him a $25.5 million signing bonus. In fact, his contract is nearly guaranteed to ensure that Wells won’t activate the opt-out clause. Can you imagine a team paying a 33-year-old center fielder more than $63 million over three seasons?

And then there is the problem of production. Wells doesn’t cover that much ground in center, and his career offensive line of .283/.332/.480 just isn’t that good. His career OPS+ of 108 is better than what Melky or Brett Gardner can do, but it’s not $100 million better. In the end, if the Yanks are going to spend this much on a player, Mark Teixeira would be a far, far better investment.

Categories : Hot Stove League


  1. Ryan S. says:

    Thanks for addressing this issue, there’s been some rumbling in the forums for this guy. He is an albatross in the making … its almost like watching an unavoidable car crash that’s just about to happen.

    BTW, last year his UZR was around -12.

    • Steve says:

      He’s been hurt alot in recent years, and he has a rep for taking ABs off. Sounds like a guy who’s just not a hard worker, and that’s not the type who typically ages well.

  2. Jamal G. says:

    Please, for the love of God, stay your ass away from the Bronx except for the those nine games you have to play here as a visitor.

  3. Kevin says:

    If anyone read the Buster Olney article on Wells


    There are some quotes about how he doesn’t give 100% every game, how he has terrible plate discipline, how he constantly underperforms, and how he is not worth his contract. He is a good athlete, but the sources in the article say that he has slowed down over the past few years, and while he an above average fielder, he isnt a gold glover.

    “Bill James Handbook projections for Wells in 2009: 139 games, .281 BA, .336 OBP, .817 OPS, 23 homers, 85 RBIs, 43 walks and 70 strikeouts.”

  4. ryan says:

    Im sure that’s a deal that’ll be on the table untill 2014. Melky is hitting 325 in winterball with over a 400 OBP and Gardner picked it up toward the end of the year batting around 300.Jackson is coming in 2010 just incase the other 2 dont’ pan out. With 3 possible inhouse solutions why rush to a horrible decision when no one is gonna pick up that contract anytime soon. If all 3 CF options are a bust then vernon will still be right there on the table.

    • Steve says:

      On Francesa’s WFAN show, Cashman said the depth chart for CFers is as follows (defensively)


      Tells you what they think of both Damon and Gardner as options in the field.

    • A.D. says:

      If people have said no worry Mike Cameron will be there to trade for later, then so will Vernon Well. The market for aging over paid CF isn’t too hot

  5. D.B.H.O.F. the word conservationist says:

    I would love for the Yankees to take on the contract of Wells. Let’s trade them Melky and Igawa for Wells and Roy Halladay. We can even pay most of Igawa’s contract.

    Now this will never happen, but that Blue Jays team will never be good while they have that Wells contract on the books, or the current GM or ownership (which might change hands now right?)

    • Ryan S. says:

      Roy Halladay? YES PLEASE. Imagine having him and CC on the same team … god damn. You’d get 450+ quality innings out of those 2 guys combined.

    • Mike Pop says:

      Lets not let this get out of hand Donnie.

    • Jamal G. says:

      Now this will never happen, but that Blue Jays team will never be good while they have that Wells contract on the books, or the current GM or ownership (which might change hands now right?)

      Really? The Blue Jays had the second highest run differential in the American League, and the league’s best FIP mark; I’d say the Blue Jays are a pretty good team that just needs to stay healthy.

      Vernon Wells gives you a slightly above-average bat in center field and Scott Rolen is basically league average at third base with exceptional defense. If Adam Lind, Alexis Rios and Travis Snider can become the pillars of that offense, the Rays could be a team to watch in 2010. They would have been a serious contender next year if not for the departure of A.J. Burnett and the current TJS rehab of Dustin McGowan.

      • Steve says:

        That run differential is mostly a product of their outstanding pitching (First in ALL of Baseball in ERA) They were a lousy team at scoring runs (11th in AL). As you noted, the losses of Burnett and McGowan will hurt the pitching staff and their lineup has middling talent yet still manages to under perform every year.

        I’m tired of waiting for the Blue Jays to arrive. They always seem like they’re a year away, and then they wind up in 4th place again.

    • yankeefan91 (sign manny asap) says:

      burnet said that he plans to recruit halladay wen hes a free agent that would b great he could pitch u imagine having sabathia hallday burnett wang and chamberlain wow

      • Steve says:

        Halladay’s contract runs through 2010, so he would be a free agent going into a season when he turns 34. I love Halladay, but I have to pass on that. Maybe as a rental in 2009, but that’s it.

    • Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

      Congrats DBHOF! You have earned the “Lohudian Comment Of The Day!”

      You reward consists of open ridicule or mocking and $10 worth of “Dancer Bucks” at either a “Stiletto” or “Lace” strip club of your choice.

  6. Mike R. says:

    Melky Cabrera will hit 20+ HR’s next year. You read it here first.

  7. bobtaco says:

    The only Toronto player to sign would be Rios.

    Sizemore or Upton would be the best CFs to target, but there is no way they are available.

    • Peter Lacock says:

      I like how you think. Get someone that’s actually good or stick with what we got. Forget all these scrap heaps like Cameron and especially fantasy league only ‘players’ like Manny and Adam Dunn. I hesitate to call Manny and Dunn ‘players’. They’re really not ‘players’, they’re ‘hitters’.

      • Ryan S. says:

        Yeah, Manny is no good at all – what a joke that guy is in the lineup.

        • Mike Pop says:

          Pssssshhhh, give the money to Baldelli. That guy can mash.

          Manny would ruin us.

          • Steve says:

            I agree, I’d take a flyer on Baldelli. He’ll be cheap, and if nothing else give you depth on the bench. If this Cleveland Clinic (a great hospital) report is correct, you have a steal.

            Sign to an incentive laden deal with lots of team/vesting options. You can’t lose that way.

      • Kevin says:

        They’re not Players, they’re hitters??? Seriously? Hitting is only, ohh one of the most important parts of baseball. Of course pitching is the most important, but a player’s hitting defines what kind of player they are. DUH! And how do you like his thinking? Like he said Upton and SIzemore aren’t available, so why should we target them or even think about targeting them? And bobtaco…we can’t SIGN Toronto’s player, we can TRADE for them, but we can’t SIGN them. C’mon guys. You are Yankee fans, the greatest fans in the world. You should know this stuff.

        • Ryan S. says:

          Manny is a transcendental hitter, and he transforms any lineup he is in. With ManRam in this lineup, this team becomes the hands-down team to beat … so how do you not want him? Don’t gimme any “Manny is a circus!!!” excuses – he’d be merely one more sideshow on this team full of superstars.

          • Jonny not the Damon says:

            “Transcendental”? Does that mean he hits like Thoreau or Emerson?

            Or sir, are you implying the assistance of opiates?

            • Ryan S. says:

              LOL. I guess what I meant is that he transcends the normal benefits of a high quality hitter and changes the entire makeup of a lineup. Any offense is a significantly better offense when you put him in it, and the players around him get better as a result. I guess in this way, he is like some kind of transcendental hitting medicine, eh?

            • Doug says:

              He has achieved self-actualization of his soul, which is the ultimate expression of being. In turn, he has united that soul with the game of baseball, thus achieving also the primal need of our souls to be in union with another.

              Or he just straight mashes the ball.

            • JeffG says:

              I could just see Manny smashing baseballs over Walden Pond. Then again no.

        • Ryan S. says:

          Wasn’t talking directly to you btw Kevin, just asking a general question.

    • Mike Pop says:

      Rios for Hughes + some “throw ins” ? You do it ?

      • Reggie C. says:

        For some reason Rios’s numbers took slight hits across the board. The slugging dropped over 30 points, which actually isn’t so slight. A line of .290/.335/.460 isn’t bad for a corner OF, but that’s not worth Hughes.

        • Ryan S. says:

          I’d take him for IPK + throw ins for sure, but I’m pretty sure that’s me being an unrealistic Yankee fan making a totally one-sided trade offer. Maybe not after IPK gets a chance to redeem himself though.

          I do think it is only a matter of time until we start trading some high level pitching prospects for some young quality position players.

          • Reggie C. says:

            Your last statement I totally agree with. With the top 4 rotation slots pretty much covered for the next 3 years or so, I think we’ll see guys like Aceves, Kennedy, McAllister get packaged should a young position player become available. Heck. I’d even venture to say Betances could be named in trade talks if Brackman takes off.

            Probably not likely to happen this season. But the Yanks must have realized the trade potential before having signed AJ and CC.

            • Ryan S. says:

              I love Betances so much – we’d have to get something special to let that guy go, but yes, he is touchable I would imagine. I’m very interested to see what happens in the next couple off-seasons after this one … SS, catcher, corner outfield … all potential things we might trade for.

  8. brockdc says:

    Here’s a question: Assuming Melky were given consistent playing time (not a given, I know), between him and Wells, who would generate better offensive production over the next six years?

    Because we already know who would be superior defensively.

  9. huuz says:

    for all of the griping that people do about the Yankees handing out huge contracts (like ARod, CC, Jeter, etc.), it is contracts like these that are really destructive to MLB.

    paying a middling CF $20M+/year is just stupid.

    • Mike Pop says:

      They should of let him go to Texas. Then we could of traded for Josh Hamilton!!!!!!!

    • Steve says:

      Some GMs were saying this year the worst contract handed out last year wasn’t A-Rod, it was the 12 mil a year for Carlos Silva, a guy who is out of shape and can’t pitch. Raising the floor can be more damaging than raising the ceiling, the floor affects more teams. There are very few A-Rod’s in Baseball.

      But none of that matters anymore, the economy is so bad its the ultimate buyers market right now. Nobody but the top tier of free agents is getting paid, everyone else is dropping their demands like a rock. The middle guys will be lucky to get 2-3 years, and the bottom third will get 1 mil or a spring training invite.

  10. Matt12 says:

    If I’m going to dump some big time talent for Wells, I’d much rather up the ante and get Mark Shapiro on the phone and talk about some Grady Sizemore.

    As far as I’m concerned, the Indians aren’t going anywhere. Other than Sizemore, Hafner, and Martinez, they’ve got shit for offense. And Hafner and Martinez are no locks to be at their prior levels. Lee and Carmona make up a decent 1-2 punch, assuming they play to their actual talents. Prior to 2008, folks wouldn’t trade a box of peanuts for Lee. And last year, Carmona wasn’t the ace we saw in 2007, and prior to 2007, he was nothing special either.

    Having said that, I think the Indians would be better off rebuilding with Sabathia gone. If Carlos Santana and Matt LaPorta as good as they say, they’re going to be great players in a few years. If you package a deal with a great starter and a great hitter, I think you might be able to make a deal for Sizemore happen.

    Austin Jackson, Dellin Betances, Zach McAllister, and Brad Suttle/Austin Romine? We’d probably have to give up Hughes and/or Montero, which I’d hate to do, so I don’t know. Maybe put Xavier Nady in the deal, he is a young outfielder with power…

    LF – Damon
    SS – Jeter
    CF – Sizemore
    3B – Rodriguez
    DH – Matsui
    C – Posada
    2B – Cano
    RF – Nady/Swisher
    1B – Swisher/Miranda/Posada (with Molina as the Catcher, but obviously, Posada would be in the 6th spot of the lineup with Molina here in the 9th spot)

    • Mike Pop says:

      Big difference, JP is listening on Vernon, Shapiro wouldnt think to listen on Grady unless it was Cano, Hughes, IPK, Wang lol

      • Matt12 says:

        Yeah Mike, that’s what I figured, but I’m just saying, it would cost an arm and a leg to get Wells from a team in our own division, I’d rather up the ante and get the best center fielder in the game rather than an aging and expensive future right fielder.

      • Aaron says:

        It wouldn’t matter what the deal was, Shapiro wouldn’t listen seriously on Sizemore. The collection of players the Yanks would have to be willing to surrender would be astronomical for this to even be discussed.

      • Mike R. says:

        Sizemore discussions start with one word…Joba. It would probably take something ridiculous like Joba, Cano, A-Jax and Montero. Grady Sizemore is probably as close to untouchable as a player can be.

    • Ryan S. says:

      It would definitely take something like that…but I’d say Hughes you have keep off limits. Sizemore is probably the #1 guy I would want to trade major prospects for though so…sheesh. I think I’d try to make that trade work.

      • Mike Pop says:

        It would not though.. They have no reason to deal him.. LIsten Id give up Hughes without even thinking for Sizemore but he just wont be available.

        • Ryan S. says:

          Oh yeah there’s no doubt that he’s unavailable, its all pure fantasy.

        • Matt12 says:

          I just explained why they should trade him. They suck, and they need to rebuild. The best way to do that, is to get a bundle of young plus prospects…

          • Reggie C. says:

            They may suck but Sizemore is signed cheaply till like 2012 and he’s the face of the franchise. In the AL Central, the Indians could get back to competing for the division in short order.

            • Ryan S. says:

              I agree. Indians underperformed this year. They dug themselves into quite a whole but managed to claw their way back to .500 somehow. They have a decent shot to contend again this year.

              • Steve says:

                Decent? I’d say that division is wide open. MINN surprised everyone on the upside with their rotation, the ChiSox are rebuilding and CLE just filled their biggest need with Kerry Wood. If they could ever get Travis Hafner going again and Cliff Lee is for real, they could run away with that division.

      • Balls Deep says:

        The lineup looks so much better with just 1 more great bat there. Love Texeira there just because it’d be nice to have a 1B bat his weight as well as field it too. But even without Tex, having Dunn or Manny is so appealing, I guess that is why even thinking of Sizemore is allowed. He’d be just huge in this market; then you wouldn’t need both Austin Jackson and Tabathia.

        • Ryan S. says:

          All things considered (contract size, bat, defense, age, everything), I’d take those 4 names in this order: Sizemore > Manny > Tex > Dunn

          But I’d be thrilled to have any of them on our team, including Adam Dunn. He’s a very good player we could get for relatively cheap.

          • Reggie C. says:


            If i’m Shapiro i ask for BOTH hughes and jackson. And that’s for starters. At least one other very good prospect would have to get moved to. Why so much? B/c I could see Theo give up Buchholz and Ellsbury.

            So even if Sizemore was made available, the cost would make your head spin.

            • Mike A. says:

              Hughes and Jackson won’t even get you invited to the party. Any trade proposal for Sizemore starts with Joba and Jackson, then you’ll probably have to add two more prospects and possibly take on Travis Hafner’s deal as a throw-in.

              We’re talking about one the eight or ten best players in the game who just so happens to be 26, a Gold Glove defender at a premium position, and signed dirt cheap ($28.2M total) over the next four years.

      • Brooklyn Ed says:

        but but, Omar Minya traded him for Bart Colon, when the Expos still existed. If it wasn’t for Minya. the Nationals would had have an All-Star CFer.

  11. Matt Nyc says:

    100 million over 6 years- 16.6 million a year. Sounds about right to me. I’d take a chance on Wells. If he was a Free agent thats how much he would command.
    Wells had a down year and it was still good. Wells is a five tool talent.
    How about

    Veras or Edwar (or Igawa to counter act some of the salary)

    Bat Wells clean up behind Arod.

    • Baseballnation says:

      Wells i not worth the money. Te fact that he doesn’t cover great ground has already been said. You say he had a down year…What about his ’07 campaign stinker? and I don’t look at it as a 16.5 million a year deal. Burnett has that; Wells would be a 21 million year after ’09. Thats how I look at….but maybe that’s just me. And at that price he can keep his 18-20 hr’s and .800 ops.

    • K.B.D. says:

      Oh yeah! Lets trade a catching prospect who hasn’t seen the big leagues (and has no value), a starting pitcher who has the chance to be a good 4 or 5, a good 4th outfielder and a potential closer or set up man for a guy with a 109 OPS+ and a horrible contract. There a good business plan.

    • ryan says:

      I bet the blue jays would love this trade….a salary dump plus pick up a Top ptiching prospect, 4th outfielder, late inning reliever and solid catching prospect who batted 300 his first full season in the minors. I can see how this makes sense considering we passed on santana to avoid this type of trade. Posada’s days are numberd behind the plate so to trade away a good catching propect seem wreckless. Montero might now work out as a catcher in the end and then Romine will be missed as an option.

  12. Baseballnation says:

    The indians are not getting rid of Sizemore anytime soon…

    To the guy who posted here that Melky will hit 20 hr’s next year……..YEAH, in his bra.

    The CF I want, and think is a more plusible to get is Curtis Granderson. Detroit would not be keen to trade him but they need alot of pieces as their team is old and their farm system is outside of Porcello. It’d cost a ransom to get him but Hughes/Cabrera and some pieces or Cano/Kennedy/Cabrera would be worth it.

    • Mike R. says:

      In his bra?

      • Baseballnation says:

        Classic Jim Carrey quote. But the point still stands

        • Mike R. says:

          Well mine is a classic ESPN move. I make a “bold” (dumb) prediction. If it happens I am a genius if it doesn’t very few people remember. :)

          • Jay CT says:

            No, its just a straight dumb “prediction.” What would make you even believe he can do it, let alone bet on it? Making a statement like that just takes all credibility away. Perhaps you’re new here; no one forgets anything.

            • gg says:

              he might have gotten better, but I for one think Gardner will do well which means Melky wont get the AB’s to even shoot for it

            • Mike R. says:

              1 – I have been posting here looooong before you.
              2 – I never said anything about betting on it.
              3 – I am not a reporter so “credibility is not a big concern.
              and last but not least
              4 – Anyone who would take my comment as seriously as you needs a head check.

    • Ryan S. says:

      Curtis Granderson you say? Certainly an intriguing idea.

  13. Phil McCracken says:

    Could you get Rasmus from the Cards if they don’t trade Ankiel with a package which included Hughes?

  14. Steve says:

    “Scott Boras has apparently contacted Brian Cashman to inform him that an 8-year/$180MM contract would be needed to land Tex.”

    That’s interesting if its true, because that’s less than what Boras supposedly told the Sox last week (8/184). Could indicate a preference to play with the Yanks.

  15. ortforshort says:

    The Vernon Wells contract is an example of why small market teams shouldn’t get involved in the big money games. They made a mistake and will be paying for that mistake for a long time. Teams like the Yankees, Red Sox or Angels have big enough income streams to eat these mistakes. The Blue Jays don’t. The Jays need to take a look at how teams like the Twins and A’s handle these things. The Jays should have traded Wells for prospects instead of trying to run with the big dogs. Even if the Jays ate 75% of the remaining contract, I don’t think that even the Yankees would bite on this one.

  16. gg says:

    speaking of tigers OF’s, what about Magglio

    they really need pitching and are not about to go buy it….he would be great with A Rod…totally take Bobby’s role

    I think a few arms could land him

  17. PINSTRIPES77 says:

    You straighten out your lineup simply by signing Tex and Rocco. End of story

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