Reasons to not hate the Vernon Wells acquisition

(Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

(Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

In 2007, Vernon Wells became something of a punchline. In his first season after signing a seven-year, $126 million extension with the Blue Jays, he hit just .245/.304/.402. That 85 OPS+ was a far cry from the performances that earned him the extension: a 118 OPS+ in the previous four years. The mockery came to us all too easily.

(Also in 2007: the first time I can remember the “your name’s Vernon” chants in the bleachers. Then again, that was my first year sitting in the bleachers with any frequency.)

After that stumbling block of a 2007 season, Wells came back to produce a 123 OPS+ in 2008, and then a 125 OPS+ in 2010, with an 86 OPS+ in 2009 causing further mockery. Normally it’s not necessary to run down a player’s performance like this, since we can all load up Baseball Reference. But it seems that people have completely forgotten about Wells’s positive contributions and mock only the mediocre and poor ones.

Why shouldn’t we hate the Vernon Wells trade and the $13 million it will cost the Yankees? There are quite a few reasons.

The Yanks are paying $13 million for good reason. The most common reaction I saw to the Yankees picking up $13 million of Wells’s contract: “He wouldn’t get that on the free agent market.” Of course he wouldn’t. He’s also not a free agent. But given his performances the last two years, how did the Angels get the Yankees to pay even $13 million? The answer lies in the distribution.

According to NYDN’s Mark Feinsand, the payments break down in the Yankees’ favor. The Angels will cover $9 million this year, leaving the Yankees on the hook for $12 million. That means the Angels will cover $20 million in 2014, leaving the Yankees to cover just $1 million. It gets better, though: because Wells’s average annual value is $18 million, the Yankees will actually get a $2 million luxury tax credit next year. So yes, taking on $13 million is too much, but it’s what the Yankees had to take in order to get the Angels to cover $20 million next year. It seems like a positive on the whole.

Platoon potential. The Yankees have a weakness against left-handed pitching, especially from the get-go. The addition of Youkilis could help, but he alone will not replace the production of Russell Martin and Nick Swisher against lefties. With Teixeira and Jeter out to start the year, they’re even more vulnerable. For his part, Wells did crush lefties in 2011, to the tune of a .851 OPS — and he was generally terrible that year. For his career he shows much stronger numbers against LHP, so he could help fortify that all-lefty outfield.

He’s healthy for now. After his abysmal 2007, Wells underwent surgery on his shoulder. Who knows how long that was bothering him during the season — he actually produced a .910 OPS in April and had dropped all the way to .735 by the end of May. After his poor 2009 he underwent wrist surgery and came back to produce a quality 2010 season. In 2011 and 2012 he missed 84 combined games with various injuries. Perhaps he can still produce league average numbers in a full, healthy season.

Whenever a team takes a risk on a player, the big qualifier is always whether he will prevent the teams from making other moves in the future. If the $12 million hit the Yankees take this year prevents them from making an upgrade at the deadline, then it’s easy to pan the deal. But in 2014 the deal will actually improve their budget situation. Combined with his platoon potential and his production when healthy, this could turn into a positive for the Yankees.

Seeing those positives is difficult at this point, given Wells’s recent history. On the whole, the trade isn’t likely to work out. There’s just too much working against the 34-year-old Wells at this point in his career. But there are some things to like about this trade. If they can squeeze a few quality months out of him, then it should work out just fine. It’s not like he’s replacing world beaters in Brennan Boesch and Ben Francisco.

Categories : Rants


  1. Mike HC says:

    Nice article. This was exactly my take on the deal.

    • Yogiism says:

      I’m just going to go ahead and agree with you and not read any additional comments below. I’m not terribly upset with this deal, not nearly as much as 98.6% of the rest of the fans/population.

      Another thing: Any GM’s talking negatively about this deal can blow it out of their ass. None have as many rings as Cashman and the Yanks and very few, if any, have the type of scouting that has a very good track record of striking lighting in a bottle.

      Love how on MLBTR you have fans from all teams lambasting the Yanks over this, meanwhile D-Backs traded away their franchise player for very little, the Red Sox handed Victorino $39mm over 3 years (ouch) and you have sports writers saying the Yanks won’t win more than 72 games this year. Anyone read that fine piece of journalism on ESPN (Schonfield?)

      I’ve witnessed some of the most peculiar and perhaps worst baseball signing and moves this offseason for as far as I can remember and guess what? This falls way down on the list when you really look at the deal and as Joe clearly (thank you) posted above.

      Let’s go Yanks! Oh yeah, perhaps you can bring 10-15 degrees with you up from FL, because it’s fucking awful up here right now. Good lord, never thought I would pray this much even for a 60 degree day. F

      • Jim Is Bored says:

        I think the biggest logical disconnect is that writers are judging the yankees against themselves, while they’re judging everyone else against the rest of baseball.

        I don’t think anyone here thinks the Yankees are going to win 100 games. But there are a lot of teams that are going to win 80-90, and probably be in the mix for a playoff spot, and that’s right where I see the Yanks right now. But apparently people see “Yankees” and “playoffs” in the same paragraph and think I’ve got sunflowers and rainbows coming out my ass.

      • Mike HC says:

        The Angels will have paid Vernon Wells like 73 million dollars for 200 games of around .665 OPS. But the Yanks taking a chance on a bounce back with the Angels still paying all but 13 mil of his remaining salary are the ones getting killed. People love to hate the Yanks.

        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          People have been slagging the Angels for that deal since it was made.

          • Mike HC says:

            True. But now that the Yanks are involved, the Angels paying 73 mil for 2 years of horrible production is a side note compared to the Yanks paying 13 mil for 2 years of yet unknown production.

          • Jim Is Bored says:

            Yeah, they have. I don’t think the media has mistreated anyone in this case.

            People absolutely love to hate the Yanks, but the Angels did NOT get a free pass on this.

    • Sully says:

      Is this an Onion article?

  2. Tim says:

    The fun with numbers seems like something that MLB wouldn’t allow, any other evidence than Feinsand that the accounting trick will work?

    • Jerkface says:

      The CBA. Its me, I’m the source in the feinsand article. MLB has to approve money changing hands in any trade, so they could always veto it, but as it stands thats how it works.

      • Gonzo says:

        I’m assuming you are referring to Page 101, (b), (iii) Cash Considerations, right? Is is included in another section of the CBA that covers this?

        • Jerkface says:

          These are the relevant passages:

          On Trades, Section C 2 (b) i – General Rule
          General Rule: If a Uniform Player’s Contract is assigned
          by any means to another Major League Club, the assignor Club
          shall be allocated Salary through the date of the assignment and
          Salary shall begin being allocated to the assignee Club on the fol-lowing day, regardless of the Player’s reporting date.

          Salary here is a term specified in Section A
          (11) “Salary” shall be defined as provided in Section E below
          and shall be attributable to Contract Years as provided in Sections C
          and E below.

          Here is the passage from section E

          (2) Average Annual Value of Guaranteed Multi-Year Contracts
          A Uniform Player’s Contract with a term of more than one (1)
          championship season (“Multi-Year Contract”) shall be deemed to
          have a Salary in each Guaranteed Year equal to the “Average Annual
          Value” of the Contract (plus any bonuses subsequently included by
          operation of Section E(4) below). “Average Annual Value” shall be
          calculated as follows: the sum of (a) the Base Salary in each Guar-anteed Year plus (b) any portion of a Signing Bonus (or any other
          payment that this Article deems to be a Signing Bonus) attributed to
          a Guaranteed Year in accordance with Section E(3) below plus (c)
          any deferred compensation or annuity compensation costs attributed
          to a Guaranteed Year in accordance with Section E(6) below shall
          be divided by the number of Guaranteed Years.

          So even though Wells is owed 42 million over 2 years, his contracts AAV is 18 million. That is the only amount that matters for the luxury tax. Now the Angels can send cash considerations, which can be asymmetrical (the Yankees did this with AJ burnett). Here is how Cash considerations impact the luxury tax.

          Section C 2 b
          (iii) Cash Consideration: An assignor Club that pays cash
          consideration in lieu of assigning an unnamed player or to defray
          all or part of the salary obligation of the assignee Club for an
          assigned Player shall include such cash consideration in its Actual
          Club Payroll in the Contract Year in which the cash consideration
          is paid; provided, however, that any such cash consideration
          included as part of a Player assignment made during the 2016
          Contract Year but not payable until the 2017 Contract Year shall
          be included in the assignor Club’s 2016 Actual Club Payroll to the
          extent that the assignee Club does not have equivalent salary obli-gations under Player contracts obtained in the assignment in the
          2017 championship season or beyond. Any cash consideration
          that is, pursuant to the preceding sentence, included in the Actual
          Club Payroll of the payor Club shall be subtracted from the Actual
          Club Payroll of the payee Club in the same Contract Year in which
          it is added to the payor Club’s Actual Club Payroll.

          So the Yankees are taking on 18 AAV – X where X is the amount of Cash Considerations in the given contract year. If the Angels gave 20 million in 2014, the Yankees would essentially get a 2 million dollar credit.

  3. SouthPaw says:

    This is the right way to think about it. This move was made for next season.. Wells/Ichiro platoon, Gardner in CF and one of the kids, Austin, Heathcott, Flores in RF. Granderson most likely willl not be back, so this will all make sense. An OF next year for less than 12 million

    • Sayid says:

      A shitty outfield for $12 million. Awesome!

      • Jersey Joe says:

        You’re forgetting that this year we need a good season from Gardner. With a good season from Gardner, his arbitration price should go up quite a bit. If he has a bad season, we might be screwed. We’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.

        • Rick says:

          Luckily, even if Gardner has a great season his arbitration price will no go up all that much. He doesn’t accrue the counting statistics that arbitrators look for. They aren’t so enamored with OBP and stolen bases. Arbitrators, and chicks, dig the long ball!…. and not much else.

  4. Jim Is Bored says:


    For real though, thank you for writing this. I’m glad that the financials worked out that way, maybe it’ll talk a few people off the cliff they’re dangling off of in the fan reaction thread. Hurts this year, but doesn’t kill the potential $189 plan.

    I’ll hope he’ll follow in the line of veterans who performed over their head for a year when they donned the pinstripes.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting) says:

      Why is the $189M plan more important than winning?

      This is a team that’s going to need some luck now to make the playoffs with a roughly $225M – $230M luxury tax payroll. There’s a strong chance next year’s team could be substantially worse. Even with an extra $2M to spend because of this deal, they’d still need to cut payroll around $40M, with ARod, Tex, Jeter, Ichiro, and Wells only getting further past prime.

      My guess: they struggle enough this year that they realize they likely won’t be able to build a credible contender on $189M and abandon the plan, at least for 2014, making the possible positive implications of this plan for next year completely useless, while still being a likely detriment to this year’s team.

      • MannyGeee says:

        “Why is the $189M plan more important than winning?”

        Its not. But we have ZERO idea what the FO has done to try and fill holes in the roster outside of “Not signe teh Sheerholtz!!!11!!1″ They could have made an offer to every FA OF on the market and only got a bite from Ichiro and Juan Rivera…

        Again, the Wells deal was/is one made out of opportunity (LAAoA paying the Yankees to take him) and necessity (passing the “better than Ben Francisco” test).

        • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting) says:

          I somewhat agree on the first point. We don’t/can’t know who was available that would have actually signed with the Yankees. I realize potential playing time and other considerations play a role. I do have a hard time believing that IF they had $13M to spend (or even half of that), they couldn’t find Anyone better than Juan Rivera and Jayson Nix. I think not making funds available and not being willing to make any commitments to the 2014 payroll, likely both heavily contributed to having a subpar bench to begin the season, and to downgrading in RF and C.

          I do think Wells passes the better than Francisco test. I don’t care too much, given the likely available options at this point, that Wells is on the team (though I would have preferred Musty or Neal get a shot first, it seems like they likely could have made this deal later). My concern is that the slave to $189M offseason led to, and continue to, lead to sub-optimal decisions and players. My biggest concern is that spending $13M on a marginal upgrade now will impact their willingness to spend on other potential upgrades later. It remains to be seen if that’s true.

  5. Robinson Tilapia says:

    This is why we need Joe and Ben around more. When Mike’s taking one side, they can take the other.

    As a matter of fact, this absolutely makes me realize why I miss having the “real big three” contributing on here.

    Excellent write-up.

    • Jim Is Bored says:

      Couldn’t have said it better.

    • mustang says:

      AGREE !!!!


    • Craig Maduro says:

      Exactly my take. I remember some comments on Joe’s twitter that essentially implied he was permanently done with the blog. I wonder what prompted the one-time cameo.

      I’ll admit, while Mike was always (in my opinion of course) the best author, the site has certainly diminished with only one opinion and perspective. I don’t frequent near as much as I used to.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        ….and it’s not a knock on Mike at all. I think Mike does a great job. It’s clear, though, that Mike is a bit down on the team’s direction right now. In the past, the beauty of this site was that multiple writers meant multiple perspectives, and Mike’s slight negativity would be offset by Ben or Joe’s alternate view.

        This is just a perfect example of what’s being missed out on.

        • Jim Is Bored says:

          It was a breath of fresh air, I’ll say that much.

          • Slugger27 says:

            i read this article and thought “what the hell?” … hadnt even noticed it wasnt mike until i read the comment section. its definitely a breath of fresh air.

            honestly, mikes negativity has been weighing on me for a while, and i definitely dont read the blog as much as i used to. hes up in arms about the 189 plan, citing that the yankees only advantage is their financial clout. then, when the yankees use their financial clout to overpay for a marginal upgrade (like this wells trade), at a time where their place on the win curve makes every marginal upgrade important, he complains that they overpaid. just doesnt make sense to me.

            frankly, hes sounded like a lot of the doom and gloom commenters all offseason, and while i appreciate his hard work maintaining this place, his pessimism has hurt the quality of the blog, IMHO.

            • Manny's BanWagon says:

              His realistic take on the team’s precarious position has diminished the quality of this blog?

              I guess you’d prefer to have nothing but articles about how great everything is with the team even though that wouldn’t be factual.

              • Jim Is Bored says:

                Pessimistic != realistic.

              • LK says:

                Agreed. Mike has only been pessimistic from the perspective of an optimistic Yankee fan. The Yanks’ over/under in Vegas is 86.5 wins. Jonah Keri thinks betting the under on them is one of the best bets on the board. Jeff Sullivan think the Yanks will finish in 3rd in the AL East. David Schoenfield wrote that the collapse is here and they’ll win 75 games. Rany Jazayerli wrote about how the Yankees’ evil empire has no clothes. The Fangraphs’ power rankings had their position players 9th in the AL, and those take into account Tex and Grandy returning. These aren’t the typical MSM writers trolling for page views. Mike’s view of the Yanks seems very much in line with the consensus.

                • jsbrendog says:

                  and people thought the 2012 red sox would be a historically great team.

                  you realize they play games right?

                  • LK says:

                    Dude, awesome strawman!

                    Yes, I realize they play games. When they do, the Yanks might overperform expectations. That doesn’t mean those expectations were wrong – baseball teams are inherently uncertain. If you can find me a non-Yankee fan who’s more optimistic about the team than Mike, I’d love to hear about him/her.

                  • Tom says:

                    Outside of a NESN article written by a complete idiot, who are these “people” who said they would be historically great?

                    What a ridiculous strawman.

                • Jim Is Bored says:

                  Which is why they work for ESPN/Fangraphs/BR and not Vegas.

                  • LK says:

                    Vegas has the Yanks over/under at 86.5 wins. I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make.

                    • Jim Is Bored says:

                      Writing an article that taking the under is the best bet in vegas doesn’t mean anything to me, is all I’m saying.

                      What’s going to get more page views?

                      “Yankees probably going to be around 86 wins, vegas is right!”


                      “DOOM! Yankees going to lose 90 games!”

                    • LK says:

                      2 things:

                      1. If you’ve read the Keri article, you’d know that it didn’t say “DOOM! Yankees going to lose 90 games!”

                      It said that in a group of tough bets, taking the under on 86.5 for the Yanks was one of the best. Keri said that he didn’t feel comfortable enough about it to actually put any money on it.

                      2. Is it your position that ANY article written that doesn’t talk about how great the Yanks are must be trolling for page views? Keri, Jazayerli, Schoenfield, and Sullivan are all pretty respected in sabermetrics. Vegas and the Fangraphs power rankings (based on ZiPs and Steamer projections) are also pretty bearish on the Yanks. Can you point me to any non-Yankee fan who likes their odds this year?

                    • Jim Is Bored says:

                      You are reading WAYYYY too much into what I’m saying here.

                      I know who is and isn’t respected in sabermetrics. But when it comes down to it, what drives their salaries? Page views. What drives page views? Strong opinions.

                      I have no idea why you’re so strongly opposed to the idea that you’re a pessimist.

                      Let’s do this the easy way. Lets assume Vegas is unbiased, and 86.5 is the base. If you think we’re going to win 86-87 games, you’re a realist. Less, pessimist. More, optimist.

                      I’m comfortable calling myself an optimist. Are you comfortable calling yourself a pessimist?

                    • Jim Is Bored says:

                      And if anyone actually knows the best bets in vegas, they’re best off betting them and not telling the public. That’s how best bets become worst bets.

                      Unless he secretly wants to bet the over and wants the line to drop another 2-3 wins…that sneaky bastard.

                    • LK says:

                      I’m not, because I’d pick them to win 87 games this year. Given that that would be their worst winning percentage since 1992, and that it’s coming in Rivera and possibly Pettitte’s final year in which many front office moves appear to be driven by a mandate to cut payroll for next year, I’m not especially happy about it. I don’t think that makes me a pessimist, I think it makes me objective.

                    • Jim Is Bored says:

                      And that’s fine. I think 87 is a fair estimate, and I’d call you a realist. I’m the optimistic one in this case.

                      Shake hands?

                    • LK says:

                      Deal. I think you were probably assuming I was one of the many pessimists that are infecting the comments here these days. Trust me, I’m just as frustrated with that point of view as you are. I’ll enjoy this season no matter how good or bad they turn out to be.

                    • Jim Is Bored says:

                      I probably was attributing something someone else said to you. You’re usually pretty spot on with your reasoning, even if I disagree with it, which was surprising me.

                      I’m more referring to Manny, actually. I can’t recall the last thing he was positive about in regards to the Yankees.

                • Get Phelps Up says:

                  Schoenfield also wrote this article:

                  • LK says:

                    Schoenfield, like all analysts, will be wrong, sometimes wildly so. Like I said above, if someone can point me to the opinion of a non-Yankee fan touting this year’s team I’d love to read it.

                    • Get Phelps Up says:

                      Even in past years there hasn’t been many people touting the Yankees. For example, in 2011 they were doomed because of their patchwork pitching staff and the Red Sox would be the greatest team since the 1927 Yankees.

                    • Jim Is Bored says:

                      Popular opinion agreeing with Mike doesn’t make him less pessimistic. It just means everyone else is too.

                      Although at this point I don’t even know what we’re talking about, unless someone can show me everyone’s win predictions, I don’t know who’s predicting what.

                      Personally, I see 88-89. Which is optimistic according to vegas. And I did put 20$ on the over when I was out there, so, money is where my mouth is.

                    • LK says:

                      By definition, I’m not sure how everyone can be pessimistic. I think it’s more likely that you’re an optimist than everyone is a pessimist. Which is totally fine, just don’t call me a pessimist for having what is essentially a consensus opinion.

                    • Jim Is Bored says:

                      You’re a towel.

                    • LK says:

                      Don’t forget to bring a towel.

                    • jjyank says:

                      “You’re a towel.”

                      Jim wins the internet.

              • Slugger27 says:

                i prefer objectivity. when writing subjective articles, i would prefer mike to be more optimistic than pessimistic, yes.

                “the ichiro contract was terrible” is an opinion, not a fact. “they paid too much of wells contract” is an opinion, not a fact.

                he bitches and moans and whines about the 189 plan because the yankees arent using their one advantage over the field, the ability to outspend everyone to make the team better. then, they go out and spend to make the team (admittedly marginally) better, and then he bitches and moans about that, with this “sure its a small upgrade but look what theyre spending!!” attitude… ironic, isnt it?

                lately hes been like the troll commenters. no matter what, the yankees cant win. i dont feel bad for being sick of it.

                • jsbrendog says:

                  im with slugger.

                • LK says:

                  I actually think that far from Mike’s position being inconsistent, it’s pretty sound. They’re choosing to limit the money they’re spending, which totally sucks. Because they’re limiting the money they’re spending, they HAVE to make sure to spend it wisely. Ichiro and Wells are unlikely to be a wise use of their resources, which is a much bigger problem now since they’ve imposed limits on those resources.

                  • Get Phelps Up says:

                    I understand the argument for Ichiro, but as for Wells, he lets them spend $191M instead of $189M in 2014. They’re using their 2013 advantage to gain an advantage in 2014. Justifiable.

                    • LK says:

                      It makes it more justifiable, but I think one can make the case there’s better uses of the money for 2013. It’s not like they’ve been spending as if resources for this year are unlimited.

                    • jsbrendog says:

                      then go ahead and tell us what that better allocation of that money is….i’ll wait

                    • LK says:

                      Are you saying that I get to pick any move that could’ve been made over the offseason with the money? In that case I think it’s fairly obvious there would be better uses.

                      More realistically though, there’s nothing they could’ve done with the money *right now* better than Wells. However, since I think Wells will be pretty awful, I’m betting that at the trade deadline there will be a team need/player available that would be a better use of the money. Who that player is is, of course, impossible to predict, since we have no idea who will be available. You’re free to disagree with me, since this is all based on speculation. If Wells doesn’t suck, there’s a good chance you’ll end up being right.

                    • jsbrendog says:

                      no, youre saying that RIGHT now there are better uses. and if you are not then your point is invalid because you cant go back and cherry pick. what out there right now is a better allotment of the money this yr? what?

                    • jsbrendog says:

                      weird, did you edit your comment? i only saw the st paragraph when ir esponded. forget it, now my reply makes no sense haha

                    • LK says:

                      For a second I was like, wait did I forget to write the second paragraph of my post?

              • The Big City of Dreams says:

                Yea pretty much.

                I don’t see Mike as being doom and gloom. He’s looking at the overall make-up of the team and making a statement. They are cutting back on payroll, the kids aren’t ready, they have key free agents and more than likely only 1 or 2 will be brought back, and the line-up is old. How can anyone look at that and not have some serious concern about the team moving forward.

      • The Big City of Dreams says:

        I remember some comments on Joe’s twitter that essentially implied he was permanently done with the blog.


        Was there a falling out that occurred?

    • Get Phelps Up says:

      All of this.

  6. jjyank says:

    I still wouldn’t have made the trade, but I do agree that there are some positives that might happen. I didn’t know about the whole luxury tax thing, that’s good to hear. I pointed out in the fan confidence thread that Wells did have a 134 wRC+ against LHP in 2011, so there is at least some chance he can settle into the Andruw Jones role from a couple years ago.

    • Jim Is Bored says:

      We can always hope.

      Remaining optimistic and hoping for the best from moves that on the surface appear to be pretty poor seems like it should be business as usual for a fan of any time.

      Of course it’s not nearly as popular as being relentlessly negative.

    • Barry says:

      “Wells did have a 134 wRC+ against LHP in 2011″
      In 172 PAs. Followed by an abysmal showing against LHP in another small sample size in 2012.

      • Jim Is Bored says:

        AKA Who the heck knows what’s going to happen in 2013.

      • jjyank says:

        Well of course the LHP is a smaller sample. He has a career 118 wRC+ against LHP against a 101 mark against RHP. So was 2012 a fluke or the beginning of a trend? We don’t know either way for sure, but there is a chance it was a fluke.

  7. Dlcb1 says:

    Yeah, the $2 million credit next year is the only reason I don’t despise this deal. But counting the luxury tax, that’s still more than $16 million for two years of Vernon Wells, which is just sickening. I actually would have been okay with this if the Yankees had went out and signed a bunch of players to one year deals, but instead we have Cervelli as our catcher. I have to assume Russel Martin would have accepted a one year deal if the offer was generous enough.

    Even with the $2 million credit trick, the downside is that this is more proof that the Yankees are fully committed to the $189 million limit next year, regardless of the consequences.

    No matter how I look at it, this looks like a poor deal. Vernon Wells needs be a significantly better player than we think he is.

  8. Another cool name no one understands (formerly a cool name) says:

    “because Wells’s average annual value is $18 million, the Yankees will actually get a $2 million luxury tax credit next year.”

    Can someone explain this?

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Vernon Wells is an accounting trick. He only will really exist on someone’s Quicken sheet online.

      Vernon Wells is TRON.

  9. Manny's BanWagon says:

    I think it’s a fallacy that Wells is some kind of lefty masher. In 2009, 2010 and 2012, he had a sub .300 wOBA against lefties. 2011 when he had a .366 wOBA vs lefties is looking like the outlier to me.

    • Jim Is Bored says:

      I don’t think anyone’s guaranteeing anything.

      • Manny's BanWagon says:

        My point was that Joe pointed out Wells crushed lefties in 2011 but left out the part where he was putrid against them in 2009, 2010 and 2012 which is misleading.

        • Jim Is Bored says:

          And you left out everything pre 2009. Anyone can play that game.

          • Jim Is Bored says:


            “For his career he shows much stronger numbers against LHP, so he could help fortify that all-lefty outfield.”

            I think I agree with you about that sentence. It’s just not been true the last 4 years.

          • Barry says:

            We could talk about how great A-Rod was before 2009 as well but it doesn’t really have any relevance with the present. Even 2011 is a far ways away in terms of sports.

          • Manny's BanWagon says:

            Please, Ichiro hit .351 in 2007. Pretty irrelevant to what he’s likely to do this year.

            After his dead cat bounce year in 2010, Wells last 2 years he’s had wOBA’s of .285 and .296. not to mention a lousy .312 in 2009 so 3 of the last 4 years he’s been abysmal.

            In 2010, his last good season, he had a massive home/road split where he had a .421 wOBA at home and .306 on the road which just so happens to be the year the Jays were accused of stealing signs. Coincidence, possibly but clearly this guys best years are behind him. Looking at what he was in the mid 2000s is meaningless.

            • Jim Is Bored says:

              I’m not disagreeing with your conclusion.

              I hate that I’ve become a defender of Vernon Wells. I don’t want Vernon Wells. I have never liked Vernon Wells. I would like him to retire and not play for the Yankees.

  10. Ugh says:

    This article is stupid, there is nothing to like about this trade.

  11. trr says:

    I’m not one of those who thinks merely putting on the NYY uni makes you a better player. No matter how you spin it, this move is far from ideal, chiefly because he will take AB’s away from younger players, and a near the end player who’s just collecting a paycheck and counting the days to retirement is NOT what this team needs. I’m not dangling off any cliff here, just taking a cold, sober look at this deal.

    • Jim Is Bored says:

      Of course putting on pinstripes doesn’t make you a better player.

      But assuming he’s “counting the days to retirement” is just patently unfair, and you have no way of knowing that.

      A change of environment, culture, whatever. You never know how someone will react to a trade. Maybe he’ll play over his head for a year. We don’t need a long term solution, and he’s definitely not that. We’re taking a flyer that’s expensive this year but cheap next year. I wouldn’t have done it, I’m not a Vernon Wells apologist, but it’s not horrible.

      • Jersey Joe says:

        Putting on pinstripes doesn’t make you better, but people think that because of the success from Colon, Garcia, and Ibanez in recent years on 1 year deals that Yankees can miraculously bring veterans back from the dead. They can’t.

      • trr says:

        He actually did make a comment to that effect, Jim, and no I don’t have a link to the source…It may seem I’m unfairly bashing Wells, but other than the financials bending in our favor (at least according to the above) I see little to recommend this trade. However, in the end it will be evaluated by what we see on the field, not by sabermetrics or anyone’s overzealous opinion….

        • Jim Is Bored says:

          Who is “He”, and with no source, and no comment in this thread, how was/am I supposed to believe that?

          No context for the comment, no argument to back it up, on the surface I think it’s fair for me to have questioned whether someone(who) said that.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      You must have loved Andy Hawkins….and Rick Rhoden…and Tim Leary….

      • Rick in Philly says:

        I was at the stadium once to see Andy Hawkins pitched a gem against KC. He was perfect through 6 or so, ended up with a 2 or 3 hitter. I’m pretty sure it was his best start as a Yankee.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          Poster boy for “He’ll do better once he puts on the pinstripes.”

          I remember that start. Sadly, we know which Hawkins start EVERYONE remembers.

    • Cris Pengiucci says:

      this move is far from ideal, chiefly because he will take AB’s away from younger players

      Which younger players are you referring to? The ones that need some experience at the AAA level that they’ve yet to get? I don’t see how this move blocks anyone, as you seem to be suggesting.

      I agree Wells has sucked the last couple of seasons (or more) and I don’t like the trade either. But I don’t see keeping the younger players away as a valid argument against the trade.

      • trr says:

        How about Mesa, Mustelier? More AB’s at AAA is not necessarily some pancea in making one a better big leaguer; There’s always going to be growing pains, and the Yankees do not have a great history of payience with younger players.

  12. Robinson Tilapia says:

    Think of Wells as an accounting trick. That’s the ticket.

    • Barry says:

      Spending 12 million this year to net 1m in savings next year?

      • Steve says:

        Save 1 million but waste a roster spot

        • Barry says:

          Even if it’s a 2mm credit, it’s only a 1mm net savings; which is less than 1/100 of the final payroll. Add in the roster spot and it’s even more moronic.

          • Jim Is Bored says:

            We’re still waiting on whether they can save the money by cutting him. It’s not moronic yet.

            • Barry says:

              The salary position shouldn’t change if they cut him. It’s still his guaranteed money. Cutting a guaranteed player doesn’t really change anything in the luxury tax.

        • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting) says:

          They could still release him.

          • Steve says:

            True, but that only helps them if they intend to play a rookie for the league minimum, which doesn’t seem like their MO. If it were, they could have done that this year. If not, they have to pay somebody to fill that roster spot. Maybe they’re banking on Austin or Williams to be ready next year, who knows.

  13. Barry says:

    Left out the extremely small sample size against LHP. He’s a garbage player and the move reeks of desperation. There’s no other way to quantify it and there’s really no positive in it.

  14. Nick says:

    IF this is true, there’s no downside to this deal. I don’t give a care how much $$$ the Steinbrats spend this year. Eating a big chunk of change to lower the luxury tax number next year is good no matter what Wells does. If he can provide some pop off the bench, that is gravy.

    • Luke says:

      Of course there is downside to this deal.
      Sure the money works for next year but with him getting 400+ ABs and taking ABs away from Gardner (BC GIRADI LOVES HIM SOME ICHIRO aka veteran) the team is worse off for this deal.

      • DC says:

        Now you have him taking ABs away from Gardner in ’14? Some of this knee-jerk reaction is getting ridiculous.

        • Jim Is Bored says:

          I’m glad I’m not the only one noticing.

          • DC says:

            I don’t like the trade and obviously understand the frustration expressed by many, but that’s where it ends for me. Extrapolating a trade for a 4th OF and DH type into doom for 2014 and relegating Gardner to a bench role is absurd.

            • Jim Is Bored says:

              This is my opinion too. I’m not going to take this move and assume the entire world is burning down, and that the Yankees will be a last place team for 5 years.

              Although please, no Vernon Wells at DH.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        Girardi also likes when you spell his name correctly. I wager, however, that he doesn’t like having GM duties abscribed to him that he’s not getting financially compensated for.

  15. mustang says:

    Thanks Joe for making feel a little better, but I still feel this:

    Bottom line the 13 million they are spending on Wells could of been spent on better insurance policy players for an aging injury prone team while still keeping the 189 mandate.
    That’s just piss poor planning.

    • Jim Is Bored says:

      Who? And I mean a real life, available player that’s been available since the Tex/Grandy injuries.

      Boesch seemed like a reasonable risk, and while I would have been happier without Wells, it’s a massive reach to call “not preparing for injuries to players who aren’t among your geriatric division” to be piss poor planning.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        I think it’s a more general “I wish they would have opened the pursestrings a bit BEFORE this all happened,” which I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t experiencing a bit of myself.

        Dig deep, Jimbo. You know it’s there.

        • Jim Is Bored says:

          But an outfielder? Which outfielder? Hamilton? A lot of the options didn’t want to come here because of lack of playing time, or a variety of excuses. Or a first basemen? We knew Tex has been declining but no one expected him to miss 2+ months.

          The catcher thing, fine. Although I’m not as panicky as the masses, I can buy that. But otherwise, I just hate complaining for the sake of complaining. Hindsight doesn’t help anyone.

          Plus I’m just mad at the general pessimistic mood of RAB(mike included) right now, but what are you gonna do.

          • Robinson Tilapia says:

            We can continue to make fun of people online while we work, I guess…

          • mustang says:

            Breath dude. I agree with you on the “general pessimistic mood of RAB(mike included) right now” that’s why I been keeping my distance.

            But a little better planning and they wouldn’t of needed the services of Mr. Wells. Its not hindsight when some us have been calling for this all a long. Not that anyone could of called all these injuries, but they restricted the GM to a ridiculous level only to pay for it now.

            • Jim Is Bored says:

              I don’t think that among RAB posters I’m the one having issues breathing, to be fair.

              I’m hopeful and optimistic that it’s going to be a fun season.

        • mustang says:


          • Jim Is Bored says:

            But it seems as though this iteration of whatever their plan is, is a reaction to injuries.

            This is how I see this offseason.

            Initial plan: We want to get below 189 and be financially responsible. So unfortunately we’re going to let Swisher and Martin go.

            Spring Training: EVERYONE DIED

            New plan: OK maybe we have to spend money now, it sucks that all the good options are gone since the season starts in a week, too bad we let go of Martin and Swisher; what can we do moving forward?

            • Robinson Tilapia says:

              I laughed.

            • mustang says:

              e like:

              Initial plan: We want to get below 189 and be financially responsible. So unfortunately we’re going to let Swisher and Martin go. AND lets for go the facts that our SS and closer are coming back from injuries and the team is old.

              Spring Training: EVERYONE DIED

              New plan: Shit the plan didn’t work we are fucked!!!! Now lets spend more for less and figure out whom are we going to blame.

              • mustang says:

                more like (on top)

              • Jim Is Bored says:

                We just disagree then. I can live with that.

                I prefer the happier scenario, you’re allowed to prefer the more negative one. None of us will ever know which is the truth, so, shrug.

                • Jim Is Bored says:

                  Also this is not nearly as entertaining as disagreeing and flaming each other.

                • mustang says:

                  I’m not totally negative I still give them a 6 I just think too many things have to go right for this team to succeed. Not impossible, but unlikely.

                  Totally hope I’m wrong.

                  • Jim Is Bored says:

                    I wish everyone here hoped you were wrong. I think a lot of people would rather be right.

                    • Henry Krinkle says:

                      +1. I wonder if some are actually fans of other teams, posing.

                    • Jim Is Bored says:

                      Occasionally proof comes out that one or two trolls are, in fact, fans of other teams.

                      I’d be shocked if more weren’t.

      • mustang says:

        I’m not talking since the Tex/Grandy injuries I’m taking about this winter. That 13 million could have gotten some stronger spare parts then Wells and the 2 headed catching dragon they have now. Its not like they didn’t know the team was old and injury prone.

        • Jim Is Bored says:

          But the “old, injury prone” guys non-Arod division aren’t hurt. And I think Youk was a fine replacement, given the options, for A-Rod.

          I’ll give you the catching argument only because I’m sick and tired of it.

          • Guns says:

            But the “old, injury prone” guys non-Arod division aren’t hurt yet.


            • Jim Is Bored says:

              And guess what they’ve started doing? Acquiring depth.

              They adapted to a plan that wasn’t working out. Rocket fucking science, apparently.

              • Guns says:

                And by depth you mean $13 million worth of replacement level production?

                • Jim Is Bored says:

                  And 2 million dollars of savings next year which gives us more flexibility to acquire someone when the market might be friendlier and there are more options.

                  Moves are never made in a vacuum.

                  • Guns says:

                    Okay, again… I think the disconnect we are having here is that the $2M you speak of wouldn’t have even been an issue had the Yankees not agreed to trade, and spend, for a borderline useless player. Does that make sense?

                    I mean, is $2M really what we’re holding on to here? Is it that big of a deal? Am I missing something? How many different ways could $2M have been trimmed from the payroll next season? I’d like to think it’s quite a bit.

                    • Get Phelps Up says:

                      I may be misinterpreting the reports, but I believe they can now spend $191M in 2014 and still reset the luxury tax. It’s more than just trimming $2M off the payroll.

                    • Jim Is Bored says:

                      But that’s not true. If we hadn’t made this trade we’d still be on the hook for X dollars next year.

                      This way, we’re on the hook for X-2 million. Regardless of player quality.

                      I’m sure we could have found ways to save elsewhere, and we still can, which will add to that 2 million.

                      The issue is that we’re not trying to save for 2013, so the whatever million we’re spending this year should be close to irrelevant to the discussion, from a fan’s perspective. There’s no telling this will preclude us from upgrading or acquiring more depth, if we want to, for this year.

                      I do want to wait to see if we can still get that benefit if he gets cut.

                    • Guns says:

                      Okay, I get it now. But don’t the Yankees net $1M because of the additional $1M owed in salary to Wells next season?

                    • Jim Is Bored says:

                      Well that’s what I want to wait to find out, really. I’m not sure.

                      Plus, Cano probably looks at this and says “Hey, look, you have 1$ million extra sitting around, why not add that on to my contract?”

                    • Cabalo Sin Nombre says:

                      If there’s a $2M “credit”, then the Yankees up saving more like $2.5M (or more) against the threshold, since they won’t have to pay a 25th player at ML minimum.

      • Guns says:

        A “massive reach?” Yeah…no. This team willfully downgraded their lineup and specifically their depth.

        I suppose you could be right. This offseason was masterfully conceived.

        • Jim Is Bored says:

          What is it with people and boversimplifying today?

          Has anyone ever heard of adapting to circumstances? Best laid plans? They had a plan, it backfired, now they’re adapting.

          I fail to see how that’s piss poor planning. If a plan goes awry, you adapt. If you don’t adapt, you’re not going to have a job very long.

          I have to stop posting, defending Vernon Wells, even as a “well, throw enough shit at a wall, you never know” strategy is making me feel dirty.

          Well that and people willfully misunderstanding me. But that’s par for the internet.

          • Guns says:

            I understand you. I disagree with your “massive reach” statement as I feel that is an overstatement. I also think when your “best laid plan” includes downgrading your bench and therefore your depth, you can’t cry foul when succumbing injuries.

            I also feel acquiring Vernon Wells makes absolutely no sense in any way, shape or form, whether it’s “adapting” or whatever you want to call it.

            • Jim Is Bored says:

              We’re saving 2 million next year. At worst, we’re taking a hit this year to reach the stated goal of 189 next year.

              I’d like to know whether cutting him can reap the same benefits, because if it can, I doubt you’ll see him for that long if he’s terrible, as he probably will be.

              And where was our bench downgraded? Letting Andruw Jones go? It’s basically the same bench we had last year.

              • LK says:

                While I’m fine with letting him go since I don’t think he’ll repeat, Chavez was extremely valuable on last year’s bench.

                • Jim Is Bored says:

                  Sure he was, but the problem is that simply re-signing our guys from last year isn’t the solution.

                  I don’t know what the solution is; I don’t think anyone on RAB does either. So when in doubt, i defer to the professionals, until they give me reason not to. And building a bench/bullpen has actually been a strength of this FO.

                  • LK says:

                    I agree with you there, just wanted to point out that the downgrade on the bench is likely to very real, if unavoidable.

              • Cris Pengiucci says:

                Well, they are missing Chavez, which is a downgrade. However, I’m not sure if he was willing to re-sign. He seems to have wanted to be closer to home. Re-signing players is a 2-way street. They have to want to come back as well.

                I’m on your side of this argument, Jim (and largely staying away).

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          Disagree. There’s depth here. It’s just in a very different type of player. There’s not a vet to back up every position.

          There’s depth, though. It’s just named Mustelier and Adams rather than the names you knew before. Hell, this is what some fans have wanted for a while now.

          • Jim Is Bored says:

            “Hell, this is what some fans have wanted for a while now.”

            This is my favorite part of the whole offseason. People are realizing what “rebuilding” actually entails, and yeah, it’s not pretty. I think what people actually want is for 25 guys to be born full grown, cheap, yankee-developed all-stars.

            Which is fine, as long as they realize that ain’t happening.

    • mac says:

      100% mustang, bad planning, money could have been better spent – but that ship has sailed. At least they are trying to do something. If Hal doesn’t learn from this, then its a problem.

  16. Ugh says:

    Why are we trying to get under $189m? To save money. So we’re going to waste a ton of money on a shitty player so we can save money? Makes sense.

    Also, all those surgeries mean Wells is healthy now? Logical.

    • Jim Is Bored says:

      Did you even read the article? No? I didn’t think so.

      “That means the Angels will cover $20 million in 2014, leaving the Yankees to cover just $1 million. It gets better, though: because Wells’s average annual value is $18 million, the Yankees will actually get a $2 million luxury tax credit next year.”

      • Ugh says:

        By overpaying bad baseball player by about $10m. It doesn’t add up.

        • Jim Is Bored says:

          Did you even read the article? No? I didn’t think so.

          “That means the Angels will cover $20 million in 2014, leaving the Yankees to cover just $1 million. It gets better, though: because Wells’s average annual value is $18 million, the Yankees will actually get a $2 million luxury tax credit next year.”

          • Jim Is Bored says:

            Or better yet.

            Why are we trying to get under $189m?

            My answer: You were correct, with one minor caveat. To save money in 2014 and 2015 and beyond, NOT in 2013.

            Then just read my response again. Or the article, which says it much clearer. In 2014, we will get a 2$ million luxury tax credit. That means we will be paying 2$ million LESS than we would otherwise. Paying less is saving money.

            I don’t like Vernon Wells. He’s bad. He will probably add no value this year. But if our only goal is to save money in 2014, he will absolutely do that. To disagree is to be wrong. Plain and simple, you are wrong.

            • Guns says:

              You know what else saves money?

              Not trading for Vernon Wells.

              • Jim Is Bored says:

                Actually, in 2014, that’s wrong. 2$ million luxury tax credit is 2$ million luxury tax credit.

                And if we can cut him and keep those savings, which I haven’t heard confirmed either way yet, then we can overpay this year to save money next year when someone who can help might actually be available.

                Never has anyone in the Yankee FO said we were saving money in 2013. Never.

                • Guns says:

                  I’m having a hard time buying any of what you’re selling.

                  I’m not sure how long it would take the FO to figure out how to shave an extra $2M off the 2014 payroll. I guess $2M is $2M…but what this comes down to is: Is Vernon Wells an upgrade? I think the answer is clearly no. If he realistically upgraded this team AND gave the Yankees a $2M tax credit in 2014, I suppose that would begin to make sense.

                  The tax credit by itself just isn’t enough to spin as a positive, IMO.

                  • Jim Is Bored says:

                    I’m not spinning it as a positive.

                    I’m saying they’re saving money in 2014. That’s literally all i’ve said responding to Ugh.

                    And that’s better than not saving money in 2014.

                    • Ugh says:

                      They could also save $1m in 2014 by not trading for Vernon wells. Lol.

                    • Jim Is Bored says:

                      Good God. No, they can’t.

                      If they didn’t trade for him, they could spend 189$ million next year without getting hit with the tax.

                      Now, they can spend 191$ million.

                      Are you deliberately being daft?

                    • Robinson Tilapia says:

                      Jim, I hate to break it to you, but this guy’s totally trolling you….and you’re falling for it.

                    • Ugh says:

                      His $1m 2014 salary counts against 2014.

                    • Jim Is Bored says:

                      I noticed, finally. The pleasant exchange above with mustang snapped me out of it. And it’s weird that I’m not saying “pleasant” sarcastically.

                • Ugh says:

                  No, we’re literally pouring gasoline on it and tossing a lit match. Because, you know, saving money in 2015 is better than saving money now, since money just disappears if you don’t use it.

                  • Jim Is Bored says:

                    This so deliberately misunderstands what the luxury tax is and what the Yankees stated goals are that you’re the new recipient of an O:S

                    At least Guns is making sense.

              • Robinson Tilapia says:

                The accounting trick being passed around apparantly says otherwise.

  17. LK says:

    This seems like a lot of wishful thinking to me.

    Does Wells have to be on the roster for the entire 2014 season for luxury tax credit to apply?

    • Jim Is Bored says:

      Math is wishful thinking?

      Hoping he’s anything above replacement level is, sure. But math doesn’t lie.

      • LK says:

        I was making 2 separate points.

        The first point is that most of the article seems like wishful thinking, i.e. billing a guy who has a sub-.300 wOBA vs. lefties as a potential platoon contributor and supposing that a guy who has been hurt all the time (and unlike say Hafner, has completely and utterly sucked while hurt) will all of a sudden be healthy.

        The second point was that if (and I don’t know if this is the case or not) Wells needs to be on the roster for all of 2014 for the Yankees to get the luxury tax credit, even that benefit could end up being a detriment.

        • Jim Is Bored says:


        • Cris Pengiucci says:

          Well, as the 25th man on the bench, I don’t think he’ll have a major impact either way. Still, I’d rather not see him there.

          Then again, maybe that $2M in 2014 is the difference between being able to afford Robinson Cano and not being able to afford him. If that’s the case, then I’m all for this trade. We’ll never know wone way or the other.

        • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting) says:

          I think they’d still get at least the majority of the credit, unless another team claimed his contract. If he cleared waivers and then signed for league minimum somewhere, I’d think most of the Angels deduction would still apply to the Yankees luxury tax payroll, with a slim portion (<3%) applied to the luxury tax payroll of the team that picked him up for league minimum.
          If he just retired or signed a minor league deal after being released, I'd think the Yankees still get the full credit.

  18. Juke Early says:

    Devout hopes they are formulating multi-layered plans for many acquisitions in the 2013 off season, 24/7.

  19. Dropped Third says:

    Although he sucks, he is on par with the current level of suckiness we have. Can’t really hurt us but there is a small chance this helps us.

  20. Dale Mohorcic says:

    Nice to see you back, Joe. I have one question about 2014–if the Yankees release Wells at any point this season or next, does that in any way affect the amount the Angels have to pay or the credit the Yankees get, i.e., does VW have to stay on the 40 man for this deal to provide the $2M credit next year?

    • Jerkface says:

      If the Yankees release wells they are still on the hook for the money owed to him and the Angels still have to pay the cash, so no. They could release wells right now and still get the 2 million credit in 2014.

      • LK says:

        Assuming this is right, that makes me hate the deal far less.

        I still wish they would’ve saved this money for the trade deadline when a bigger upgrade might’ve been available though.

        • jsbrendog says:

          but they are, i would assume, operating under the mindset that by the trade deadline grandy, jeter, and teix are all back…

          • LK says:

            I’m sure they are. I’m just expecting Wells to suck enough where he’s less of an upgrade than something at the deadline even though the need is far greater now. As it seems like I’ve been saying all offseason, I’ll be rooting to be proven wrong.

            • jsbrendog says:

              but the deadline is in july. when if they dont try to do somethig now they could be 15 games back and would negate any moves.

              • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting) says:

                Wells isn’t going to erase 15 games. Absolute best case scenario, Wells might be worth 1 win over the alternatives by the deadline. And realistically, that’s being very generous. There’s a very real chance he isn’t any better than the already in-house alternatives (though I think he’ll likely be slightly better, overall).

              • Tom says:

                15GB at the deadline?

                If someone else said this – how quick would the “doom and gloom” “pessimist” “ledge jumper” tags be thrown out?

                SO if you realistically think there’s a chance that the Yankees can be 15 GB at the deadline had they stood pat, how much does 3-4months of Vernon Wells change that? What’s the worst case scenario with Wells? 14GB? 13GB?

  21. Rick says:

    Additionally, as the previous article mentioned. Depending how long Tex is out, a large amount of his salary could be paid for by the WBC. While generally one would have nothing to do with the other, for arguments sake let’s say Tex is out until June (or almost half of the season). In that scenario, the WBC pays ~11M of his salary. Even with Vernon Wells, the Yankees are still ahead of the game. Had that extra money not become available, Cashman may have never even picked up the phone.

    • Dropped Third says:

      Did not even think about this. Good point.

    • mike says:

      Great idea – i hadn’t thought of that.

      whether Wells does OK or not (to me) is not really that important….this trade ( and the current financial considerations and Lux tax implications) just reinforces the Yanks are 110% committed to the 189 next year, and any of us with a sliver of hope otherwise are now certainly going to be disappointed.

      when the lineup is as pathetic as it will be on Opening Day, it only hints to the team next year where Mariano/Kuroda/Pettitte will all be gone with likely less-qualified players to replace their producion, and Cano’s contract pushes out another player….

    • LK says:

      The Yanks only “come out ahead” if there were no better options for that WBC money than Vernon Wells, a premise I highly doubt.

  22. Guns says:

    I’m sorry, this is complete bullshit. No offense to Joe. This is well written and I appreciate the effort it takes to try and put a positive spin on this trade. But I don’t buy a word of it. This trade makes ZERO sense any way you slice it. Absolutely zero. I’m not going to waste time and re-hash all the reasons why.

    I can’t buy the salary distribution argument. It’s been discussed ad-nauseum how crazy this trade is considering how the front office willfully downgraded their lineup to save money. So the Yankees get a luxury tax credit next season!! GASP! It keeps getting better! I guess that’s great news if you’re a fan of the $189 million plan next season, which I am not.

    Plus, and here’s the real kicker, it’s not like a similar if not better player could have been found for the league minimum (and a mid-level prospect) thereby negating any payroll concerns in the first place. That’s just nuts. Vernon Wells truly has a special skill set that’s hard to duplicate.

    What’s that? Wells’ wOBA was nearly identical to Brennan Boesch and Ben Francisco last season? That’s weird.,4677

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      How can you actually type when you’ve got your fingers in both ears?

      • Guns says:

        I forgot one of the golden RAB guidelines: Dissenting opinions not allowed.

        • Jim Is Bored says:

          Actually, we’re the dissenting opinions. Mike and most of the readership are on your side.

          • jsbrendog says:

            you’re only going to lose your hair…let them be. they don’t/won’t listen to reason or facts.

            if you try to point out the positives all they will say is NANANANA I CANT HEAR YOU VERNON WELLS SUCKS WHY DO YOU THINK HE IS ANY GOOD when no one is saying vernon wells is any good.

            seriously, i hope he fucking hits 40 hr not because he is on the yankees but just to make everyone shut the fuck up

            • Jim Is Bored says:

              There are rational reasons to dislike the trade. I wouldn’t have made it.

              What I don’t like is the hindsight and the extrapolation that Cash and Co have completely lost their minds and are running the organization into the ground.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          Oh shush. I was actually joking.

    • thomas says:

      “downgraded their lineup to save money.” We are well over 217 million for this year. Where is the down grade? I see things differently, it doesn’t make me an idiot, just a different opinion. I believe this sets up the yankees to re-sign Cano to his monster contract next year.

      • Guns says:

        Where is the down grade? Is that a serious question? I guess your entitled to your opinion. But I think it’s widely accepted as fact that this team is a downgrade from last season.

        And I don’t see what this has to do with Cano’s contract. Two million isn’t going to make or break the deal.

        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          It’s not 2 extra million, it’s 12-16 extra million

          Having that extra 2 million in 2014 allows them to extend increase the AAV by 2 million.

  23. Jim in Nj says:

    Everything aside, I understand why this deal is being done. The Yankees are not confident in their current staff. They need to understand that it is ok to take a chance on your youth. You don’t always have to make a deal. This is like being at a poker table and always feeling like you need to get rid of cards instead of standing pat. This is after all your youth, your future. If you do not have any potential in your youth, then you need to start replacing your scouts. The one aspect of this deal that scares me is who are the Yankees giving up??

  24. Nettles9 says:

    Any combination of Francisco/Boesch/Turner/Mustelier would have likely yielded similar production at a fraction of the cost. I still see no reason to like this move.

  25. Matt s says:

    I find this acquisition very depression. Even if the money works out ok for next year he is really just a horrible player. I am really sick of all of this dumpster diving.

  26. Okulafan67 says:

    It is still SHITTY!

  27. Frank says:

    Francisco and Mustelier have been hitting well in ST. I’d have taken my chances with them as a RH tandem- maybe even given Neal or Mesa a shot. The Yanks may be getting a $2M credit next season, but they still are payng 13M for a washed up player. Who cares how it’s paid. 2M to the Yanks money machine is nothing. This trade is a bad move and once again shows how the Yanks aren’t willing to give the youngsters a chance.

    • Manny's BanWagon says:

      They don’t really have youngsters worthy of getting a chance. The point that no one’s made is that the paucity of talent in the upper minor leagues is what has lead us to overpaying Ichiro on a multi-year deal at 39 years old and bringing in a totally shot Wells at $13 million. They just don’t have the Melky’s, Shane Spencer’s and Ricky Ledee’s to fill these holes from within at this point and that’s where Cashman deserves to be criticized.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        I don’t think there’s high-ceiling guys in the upper levels of the minors either, but I do think there’s younger guys capable of filling the roles we’re speaking of here. Big difference.

        I actually agree that a Musty and an Adams and some of the OF guys like Neal and Mesa can be solid bench and injury fill-ins, and that the “depth” thing has been slightly exagerrated.

        Ledee was well-regarded and never lived up to his billing. Melky got hot-shotted from AA, and it didn’t go well. Shane Spencer was no big shit.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting) says:

      $2M to the Yankees money machine is nothing.
      It’s not the physical $2M saved that’s meaningful. It’s not even an actual phsical $2M. It’s $2M in cap space.
      It’s the $2M in cap space saved if the Yankees stick to the $189M plan next year that could be meaningful.
      The savings for getting under the cap just once are a lot more substantial than $2M, or even the $13M being actually – and ridiculously – paid to Wells. And having an extra $2M to spend under the cap could prove to be very useful if they do stick to the luxury tax cap.

      That said, the fact that they are apparently still clinging to getting under $189M next season is disturbing.

  28. Nate says:

    I think there is a reasonable chance that he can produce at a higher level that Ibanez/Jones last year. As long as that happens, this move is fine.

  29. Vern Sneaker says:

    For my tastes, too much about the $$ — as a fan, I’m basically concerned about whether Wells can produce. We’re probably going to re-sign Cano; Granderson is almost certainly going to be gone next year (or before), so the 2014 outfield was going to be less expensive with or without Wells. For me the question is whether Wells is an upgrade this year over Mesa, Boesch, Francisco, Almonte, and (next year) Austin? Maybe, maybe not. Also: Will this move keep Mustelier in the minors? Possibly, and if so, I think that’s a big mistake.

  30. Greg says:

    what it means more than anything is that they have no confidence in their farm. All of our guys (Mesa, Almonte, Neal, Mostelier) were free. And the Yankees spent $13M instead.

    • Vern Sneaker says:

      What numbers from Wells would justify $6.5M/yr? I think it’s an open question whether, whatever those #s are, Mesa/Francisco/Boesch/Neal/Almonte can match them. Musty is a separate issue because he’s not really an outfielder. Too bad because in my opinion he’s a better hitter than all of the others, including probably Wells.

  31. Dave M says:

    In 2011, Wells had an OBP of .248. That’s the lowest OBP for an outfielder with the requisite number of at bats since George Barclay in 1904.

    • jsbrendog says:

      yeah but that guy got a stadium named after him in brooklyn so he couldnt have been that bad!!!

      ba dum pum

  32. Jersey Joe says:

    The thing I hate about this is that it will limit Boesch’s playing time this year when Grandy, Tex, maybe ARod get back.

    I think the positive of this deal is that the Yankees seem to be committed to getting Cano. By shutting Granderson out of the equation, the Yankees basically by default are resigning Cano. With an OF of Boesch, Gardner, Ichiro/Wells in 2014, they basically can’t live without Cano. It’s weird thinking, but it somehow makes sense.

    • Barry says:

      Let’s start by ending the thought that Boesch is a starter in 2014.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting) says:

      I don’t think Boesch would’ve been getting any playing time once Grandy got back anyways, unless/until Gardner, Ichiro, or Hafner got injured.
      Really no sense in carrying a LH, poor defensive 4th OF if the starting OF’s and DH are all LH.
      It does likely limit (or maybe even completely prevent) Boesch’s playing time while any one of Granderson, Gardner, or Ichiro were out.

  33. Joe D. says:

    Other things in Wells’ favor:

    Wells has spent the last two years playing the Big A, the third most pitcher friendly park in the major leagues. So, half his ABs come here:

    Now, being in the AL West, the unbalanced schedule has the Angels play a ton of their games in-division. So an additional 15-20% of Wells’ ABs came in Seattle and Oakland, respectively the 2nd and 7th most pitcher friendly parks in the Majors:

    Put that all together, and you’ve got upwards of three-quarters of Wells’ ABs coming in parks that suppress runs and particularly homers, the latter of which is among his bread and butter as a hitter.

    Another thing in Wells’ favor: BABIP. It was .214 and .226 the last two seasons. Wells hits a lot of pop-ups, but those numbers are ridiculously terrible. So ridiculously terrible that some portion of his struggles the past two seasons are luck-based. Wells doesn’t strike out all that much for a power hitter, so he’ll also make a decent amount of contact.

    Some neutral luck on balls in play and moving away from some pitcher-friendly environs could boost Wells’ numbers substantially. And that’s not even accounting for some potential skill bounceback, change of scenery rejuvenation possibilities, etc.

  34. GT Yankee says:

    Great article Joe! I’m not saying by a long shot that this a great trade. I think perhaps where most of us take issue is that the money being spent could have been used to retain Martin or etc. The team is not giving up an elite minor leaguer (for all us prospect huggers), and it’s not going to affect them for 2014. Yes, for sure I would have preferred Soriano for the same money, but Theo has made it clear that he wasn’t going to just give him away. My guess is that they looked into a reunion, but ultimately it would have cost the team the likes of a Slade or Flores. Than we’d really be up in arms. All this this amounts to is loss of Hal/Hank money of which there is plenty. As long as they’re only hit for 1M in 2014, it’s not as bad as we (including me) have made it out to be.

  35. Jeremy says:

    What player did they actually give up in the deal?

  36. Glad you are back Joe.

    Now if you can just do a podcast….

  37. Matt DiBari says:

    I still don’t understand why this trade was made

  38. forensic says:

    Well, to each their own, but I still despise everything about this trade and what it signifies. It may have pushed me over the edge in terms of my feelings about Cashman and the rest of their decision makers and wanting a full changeover in the front office.

    I bet if they closed down shop in AAA they could save some money too leading to the luxury tax, since they don’t use it for anything but to store more useless, washed up veterans at. And that’s only a slight exaggeration in my opinion.

    All this money they’ve now spent this spring and they couldn’t spend any extra during the offseason instead for marginal upgrades to have them better prepared for potential injuries in the first place? I don’t buy it. But hey, they brought a pitcher back who was with the Yankees half a decade ago for the bargain basement price of just $3(!) million dollars for when he inevitably comes up to the majors. It sure sounded like there were 29 other teams banging down his door too, so certainly had to bid against themselves on him, much like it seems they did with Wells.

  39. emac2 says:

    I feel so reassured now that I know Wells will be in the outfield in 2014 instead of Austin. I’m glad they are going with the sure thing instead of those stupid kids.

    Fans don’t want to watch a bunch of babies grow up when they can watch the slow train wreck of a overpaid players final years.

    • Barry says:

      If Austin is as good as we all think he is Vernon Wells won’t be blocking him.

      • jjyank says:

        This. If Austin is hitting well enough to get a call up, he’ll get it.

        Besides, from what I understand, the Yankees can cut Wells and his $1 mil 2014 salary and still get the luxury tax credit if need be. I would put money on Wells not blocking any kids, assuming he’s not hitting and the kids are.

        Maybe that’s true in 2013. Maybe he blocks Mustelier. But I highly doubt he blocks Austin in 2014.

      • Christian says:

        Agreed. Wells is a credit to the luxury tax and a bench OF if one of the kids come up.

  40. Bronx Bomber23 says:

    I don’t care if it only cost us a bucket of bp balls, I still don’t like this move. We seem to be collecting players whose best years were 3+ years ago.

    This move reeks of Randy Levine. I would hope Cashman has better sense than to make such a ridiculous move. I have no doubt Tyler Austin could put up better numbers this year than Wells. Washed up, over-paid bum.

    • jjyank says:

      Austin has 8 plate appearances above A ball. I love him as a prospect, but that burrito just ain’t cooked yet.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Always so easy to blame everything you don’t like on Randy Levine.

      I would actually have doubt that, in 2013, Tyler Austin could outhit Vernon Wells.

      • Barry's Gift Basket says:

        I do think Austin could outhit VW this year, the guy has a .258 OBP the last 2 years, and he ain’t gettin any younger.

        Now, the fact that rushing Austin up to the majors could be a bad thing for his career is another matter entirely, but he could outhit Wells this year, it’s not that hard to do.

  41. RetroRob says:

    I’m fine with the deal. If he sucks he won’t be around next year. Maybe there is just enough left in the tank to get some value this year.

  42. Jim Is Bored says:

    Let’s just say I can NOT wait for opening day so we can bitch and moan about actual games again.

    • jjyank says:

      Next week can’t come soon enough.

    • Mike HC says:

      That is giving RAB game threads too much credit. Every game? Every at bat is bridge jumping worthy.

      • jsbrendog says:

        game threads are in fact the absolute worst (kind of like most yankee fans)

        it makes sense, sadly

        • Jim Is Bored says:

          Oh yeah I do NOT come here for game threads. But the recaps are always well written and if we’ve lost in some entertaining fashion the comments are usually gold.

          And at least they’re about something new.

  43. Cool Lester Smooth says:

    Joe? There’s a Joe who rights for RAB?

    Great article. Good to have a less pessimistic opinion for once.

  44. IkeMaxisa says:

    Anything more than a used jock strap and a jeter gift basket is too much for this clown. And if jeter autographed anything in the gift basket we really got ripped off.

  45. I'm not the droids you're looking for... says:

    My opinion: this deal is 95% about the $2mm lux tax payroll credit in 2014, 5% about his production in 2013.

    My conclusion: the cost of exceeding $189mm in 2014 is much higher – not lower – than initially surmised.

    Said another way, $13mm (cash) is a LOT to pay to get a $2mm lux tax threshold break in 2013.

    • Cool Lester Smooth says:

      Well, they probably expect to pay more than 13 million if they don’t get that luxury tax break.

      • I'm not the droids you're looking for... says:

        Right but my point is that in terms of orders of magnitude they don’t pay $13mm in cash for a sucky player in order to get a $2mm credit toward a goal that saves them anything close to $13mm, or even say $20mm. If we could ever get our hands on *all* the relevant inputs, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that it’s a $50mm swing for the Yanks. Maybe even more.

        • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting) says:

          Just the payroll cut makes it a huge swing.
          Their luxury tax payroll this year looks to be somewhere in the $225M – $230M range. Getting to $189M would require a cut of close to $40M just in payroll. Their luxury tax bill would be reduced from likely about $25M this year to 0. They would also enjoy reduced rates if the exceed the threshold in future years. Also, they’ll be eligible for market disqualification rebates.
          Their are huge savings available, though most of the savings would come just from a substantial reduction of payroll, regardless if it was enough to get under the threshold.

          • Tom says:

            It’s not as simple as that – unless you assume the only way the Yankees can get under 2014 is with Wells’ credit; and without Wells they wouldn’t have. I think if they want to get under 189mil next year they will – and would have done this with or without Wells.

            Without Wells, it just means 2.5mil less to spend next year (assuming 2mil credit + the 500K league min his replacement would have at least taken) and whatever degradation to the 2014 team that is. Also the cost to the Yankees is more than 13mil… you have to tack on his luxury tax impact in 2013 (another 4mil or so)

            So the question is not does it enable them to get under the cap and save the money (Wells only changes how hard it is to accomplish it), but how much does the extra 2.5mil next year improve the team. Could 12-13 mil spent this year improved this team more than -2.5mil next year hurts the 2014 team? Is that a good tradeoff? Hard to say.

            Also you can’t really use payroll – if you do you should probably target ~175mil (in order to hit the 189mil figure). But you also shouldn’t use 225mil when Wells contract is so obviously frontloaded. They also have a lot of intentional 1 year contract overpays (Youkilis, Kuroda? and Pettitte)

            • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting) says:

              Yeah, I was just speaking to the potential savings of getting under the threshold, without regard to any specific players or this specific move.
              As for the last paragraph, I was comparing luxury tax payrolls, not actual. I realize it’s not necessarily a direct $ for $ similarity, but it should be pretty close.
              Getting from this year’s $225M+ luxury tax payroll to a luxury tax payroll of under $189M would take somewhere in the neighborhood of an actual payroll cut of about $40M.
              The comparison was meant more as a comparison to typical Yankee payrolls. It is a bit higher this year because of the Wells acquisition, but last years luxury tax payroll was about $223M, so this year’s luxury tax payroll isn’t that out of line with where the Yankees typically spend.
              Regardless, compared to this year’s payroll, or recent year’s payrolls, the Yankees do stand to save quite a bit by cutting enough to get under the luxury tax threshold, though a big chunk of that savings is coming directly from just reducing payroll as compared to the new CBA provisions.

              • I'm not the droids you're looking for... says:

                And I was speaking of only the benefit/penalty, not the savings from payroll itself. In other words $189mm vs $189mm + $.01. My bet is that in the latter case the penalty is orders of magnitude more than the amount of cash spent on Wells. Payroll savings itself is obviously just that and on top of avoiding the penalty, but I was focused only on the latter with my supposition.

                • Tom says:

                  I get what you guys are saying, but I don’t think it is realistic to do the hypothetical of Wells making or breaking the 189mil. If the Yankees had commitments right up to 189mil and Wells was the final straw it would make sense.

                  To even loosely compare Wells salary to the value of resetting the luxury tax and kicking in the local revenue rebates is misleading. He is a minor variable in the equation that can be controlled for elsewhere. In short, paying Wells 13mil doesn’t save 40-50 mil (or whatever the # is) next year.

                  The benefit of his contract is the added flexibility the Yankees get elsewhere which is hard to quantify. It’s spending 6 mil on a starting pitcher instead of 8 mil or getting two league min bench guys vs two 1.5mmil bench guys (or bullpen, DH, etc….). That is the value Wells provides next year (beyond his on field value).

                  • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting) says:

                    Agree 100%.
                    I see no chance they just miss $189M by a small amount. It would be quite incompetent of them to do so. Most likely either they’re under no matter what, or they’re way over. I would hope that would be the case anyways.

                    • I'm not the droids you're looking for... says:

                      Disagree 100%. I think the reality of a $189mm 40 man (plus benefits) payroll, given existing commitments and the enormous number of open roster spots between 2013 and 2014 means that we will have no realistic choice but to get extremely close (without going over). A few extra million to play with makes it that much easier to construct a viable roster without the penalty, whether we talk about it in the context of putting it toward Cano, a pitcher or whatever.

                      Said another way – I view this move as essentially entirely based on the lux tax credit for 2014 and the importance of not going over $189mm (now $192mm) given that I surmise the stakes to be enormously high. High enough that it was worth paying $13mm cash for a sucky player in order to have a littler extra breathing room for constructing a viable roster in 2014.

  46. Chris A says:

    Just to confirm we DID NOT give up Salde to get wells right?

  47. ClusterDuck says:

    (Even though I “hate” Wells), I’ll add another reason not to hate him.

    Wells has never stuck out more than 90 times in a season and his HR/K ratio is not bad.

  48. Do some math says:

    Seriously people? How blind are your Yankee-colored glasses making you?
    Do you know how much tax the Yanks have to pay if they go over the tax limit by $2 million? It’s $800,000!

    Great. Let’s overpay a player by $13 million in order to save $800,000! Sound logic.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting) says:

      Reading comprehension fail.

      • Do some math says:

        Math fail.

        • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting) says:

          By you??
          The Yankees luxury tax rate is 50%. The tax on $2M would be $1M, not $800,000.

          The point isn’t that they save $2M.

          They don’t.

          The point is that they gain an extra $2M in cap space, not any direct $ savings.
          A point that is only relevant if they stay under the cap, in which case they pay no luxury tax, pay less luxury tax in subsequent years that they exceed the cap, and qualify for market disqualification revenue sharing rebates.

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