Angels Acquire Vernon Wells for Napoli, Rivera

The Angels entered the offseason with money to spend and designs on nabbing a primo free agent position player, like Carl Crawford or Adrian Beltre, to invigorate a team that ranked 13th in the American League in wOBA and toward the middle of the pack in UZR. After Crawford inked with the Red Sox and Beltre joined the division rival Rangers, it looked as though L.A.’s most prominent winter move would be adding lefty relief pitching.

That changed Friday, as the Angels acquired Vernon Wells from the Toronto Blue Jays for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera. In picking up Wells, the Angels added name value and spent the cash that was sitting in the club’s coffers. Unfortunately, they didn’t get any better in the process. The team is now saddled with a cumbersome contract for a player who is almost assuredly going to regress next season, and who is entering the typical decline phase of a player’s career. The Jays, meanwhile, get out from under the baseball equivalent of a subprime mortgage and pick up the trade’s best player to boot.

Any discussion of Wells begins with his contract. Signed to a mega-extension prior to the 2007 season, Wells has four years and $86 million remaining on his deal. He’ll pull in $23 million in 2011, and $21 million per season from 2012-2014. He could opt out after 2011, but that’s not happening. As Dave Cameron noted, that kind of coin buys quite a lot on the free agent market.

It’s true, Wells is coming off a very good 2010 season. He batted .273/.331/.515 on the year, with a .362 wOBA. Even though he rated as a below-average center fielder, costing his club 6-7 runs more than an average defender, Wells’ bat and position made him a four win player. If Wells could replicate his 2010 season in the years to come, then this deal would be palatable from the Angels’ perspective. There’s just no reason to believe that will be the case, though.

Wells, who posted a .322 wOBA over the 2007-2009 seasons, boosted that figure by 40 points this past year due to a power spike. He established a new career high in Isolated Power (.242) and came close to matching his best HR/FB in the big leagues, as 14.6 percent of his fly balls ended up in the cheap seats. Earlier this month, Dan Szymborski released a 2011 ZiPS projection for Wells: .265/.318/.451, with a .186 ISO. While that projection is for Wells in Toronto, it gives us a pretty good idea of what to expect. That line would make Wells around a league-average hitter, with a wOBA around the high .320s.

Maybe you think that’s a bit too harsh — both Bill James and The Fans project Wells for a wOBA around .345. But even then, he’d be in for a fairly large decline at the plate.

Let’s take The Fans’ projection for Wells in 2011 as a starting point for evaluating the return on investment the Angels figure to get. That projection assumes Wells hits about as well as he has throughout his major league career, and that the 32-year-old is a merely poor defender (-6 runs) as opposed to the disaster that his 2008 (-12.9) and 2009 (-16.6) marks suggest.

The Fans have Wells putting up a 2.6 WAR season in 2011 (his value as a left fielder, should he move over in deference to Peter Bourjos, figures to be about the same when you consider the change in defensive rating and positional adjustment). Assuming a typical 0.5 WAR per year decline, as well as a $4.5-$5 million/WAR figure with five percent inflation per year, a back-of-the-napkin estimate has Wells being worth $37-$38 million through 2014.

Again, he is owed $86 million over that time frame. Shedding Rivera’s salary as well as Napoli’s (while surrendering an asset in the latter case) doesn’t come close to evening things out. Even if you think Wells will perform considerably better through his age 32-35 seasons that he did in his late twenties and early thirties, and that inflation will be more than five percent per year, it’s near impossible to envision a scenario in which he’s worth his contract. It’s like the Angels paid for a mansion on the beach and got a one-bedroom ranch house in the Rust Belt instead.

That giggling you hear from up north is Alex Anthopoulos. Not only did Toronto unload a massive financial burden in this deal, giving them much improved flexibility in the years to come, but the organization also added a quality player in Napoli.

The 29-year-old is under team control for two more seasons. He recently asked for $6.1 million in arbitration, with the Angels countering at $5.3 million. Napoli never seemed to be a Mike Scioscia favorite, and his catcher defense doesn’t rate well according to Total Zone, which includes stolen bases allowed, caught stealing, errors, pickoffs, passed balls and wild pitches, adjusted for pitcher handedness. But, with a walk rate exceeding 11 percent and excellent power, Napoli has a career .357 wOBA.

In Toronto, Napoli can split time behind the plate with J.P. Arencibia, while also getting some time at first base and at DH. He’s possibly Toronto’s best hitter (though Jose Bautista has something to say about that), and a 2-3 win player if he sees more time behind the plate. Arencibia has excellent power of his own, but there are questions about his plate approach and D.

Rivera, 32, is more of an afterthought in the trade. He has decent power and could see meaningful playing time in the outfield if the Jays decide to play Jose Bautista at third base, but Rivera’s not very patient and doesn’t stand out defensively, either. He’ll make $5.25 million in 2011.

Overall, acquiring Wells looks like a desperation move for the Angels. They missed out on Crawford and Beltre, they had money to pump into the payroll, and they wanted to show that they did something big to compete in the short stack division. Vernon Wells is no consolation prize, however — he’s a decent, aging player being paid like a superstar. L.A. might have created a headache behind the plate, too, as Jeff Mathis (career -0.8 WAR) shouldn’t be starting and Hank Conger, while intriguing offensively, has durability and defensive concerns.

For Toronto, it’s impossible not to love this trade. The Jays clear scores of cash, giving a young, pitching-rich team financial flexibility to add other pieces as they see fit. With a cheap, youthful roster, a shrewd front office and seven of the first 80 picks in next year’s amateur draft, the Jays are building the sort of organization that may be able to compete with the AL East’s titans sooner rather than later.




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A recent graduate of Duquesne University, David Golebiewski is a contributing writer for Fangraphs, The Pittsburgh Sports Report and Baseball Analytics. His work for Inside Edge Scouting Services has appeared on ESPN.com and Yahoo.com, and he was a fantasy baseball columnist for Rotoworld from 2009-2010. He recently contributed an article on Mike Stanton's slugging to The Hardball Times Annual 2012. Contact David at david.golebiewski@gmail.com and check out his work at Journalist For Hire.


169 Responses to “Angels Acquire Vernon Wells for Napoli, Rivera”

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  1. Eric says:

    I’m still laughing at this trade

    +31 Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. MV says:

    Now, they only need to get George Costanza to be their assistant to the traveling secretary and they are destined to win World Series!

    +12 Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Jim says:

    I can’t believe that a team who lets it’s manager have such a big say in personnel decisions would make a move so egregiously dumb.

    +7 Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Matty Brown says:

    The last paragraph in this post made me smile and feel warm as the Jays are my team. Go Canada!

    The Pujols connection the first poster made is interesting, we certainly have the money and the need.

    2012:

    1. Escobar – ss
    2. Snider – rf
    3. Bautista – 3b
    4. Pujols – 1B
    5. Lind – lf
    6. Napoli – dh
    7. Hill – 2b
    8. Arencibia – c
    9. center fielder

    – a little Righty heavy, but uber-powerful.

    1. Romero
    2. Morrow
    3. Drabek
    4. Cecil
    5. whomever

    This is without Trades or other FA’s to bolster the rotation or fill CF or Catcher if needed.

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    • Bill says:

      Swap Fielder for Pujols and the plausibility increased markedly and the line up/rotation still looks good. (Provide Bautista’s magical season is real.)

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  5. George Purcell says:

    The Angels wrote a check for $30 million and sent Napoli on a one-way trip to deliver it.

    If there is a trade in modern baseball history that was demonstrably worse at the time it was consummated I cannot think of it.

    +26 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Bill says:

      It’s tough. Certainly there were trades that turned out worse than this one likely will (Slocum, Glenn Davis, Lee, Pierzinsky, etc.), but those trades made a certain degree of sense when they were made. Or, at least, they didn’t handcuff the team on the shaft end. I actually think the nearest comparison would be the Arod trade to New York. If VW repeats what he did last year for four more years, the trade works out. When the Yanks made the trade for Arod, they had to anticipate that Arod would continue his level of production for the duration of his contract. The biggest difference is that Arod was far more likely to continue his level of performance than Wells. Also, the Yankees were better able to absorb a bad contract than the current Angels team. Further, Texas sent $40 million to New York. I’m not knocking the Arod trade. I think it was a fine trade, but I think it is the closest comparision given the facts of the situation at the time. It had the potential to handcuff the receiving team. It was far less likely to do so than this trade, but that just speaks to pure insanity of the Angels.

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      • alskor says:

        Right… while trades have certainly ended up looking worse in retrospect, it is practically impossible to find a move that had such an inexplicable thought process behind it. Whether from a sabr/stats/value perspective or a scouting/old school perspective this trade was truly a stunner.

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      • Steve says:

        The A-Rod contract is a horrible analogy.

        You may not remember, but the Rangers were sending along something like $67M to NY.

        The Yankees were getting a 28 year old A-Rod for about $17M/year. It had almost no chance of becoming a burden.

        To recap: this trade: good, but not great player coming off a decent bounceback season, in his decline phase owed $21M/year traded for a BETTER player.

        A-Rod trade: top 3 player in baseball in his prime coming off 3 straight MVP-level seasons owed $17M/year traded for an inferior player.

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    • B N says:

      There are definitely worse trades in history (i.e. KC A’s), but none where the other team seemed to have any control over it. I’m flabbergasted.

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  6. tdotsports1 says:

    I am still in shock that the Jays aren’t on the hook for atleast a quarter of that deal. I wrote about it at my blog, but this one here covers it very nicely (of course).

    What an absolute gem of a deal. AA is quickly becoming one of the top GMs in all of baseball IMO.

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    • tdotsports1 says:

      *by the way, any Toronto Raptor/Jays fan is still waiting this deal to be pulled back due to the overwhelmingly negative response to the Angels end of the deal!

      Michael Jordan pulled a nice trade off the table after it was ridiculed in the papers. Calderon/Evans for Chandler/Diaw.

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    • B N says:

      I will admit, as a Red Sox fan, this sort of trade does make me slightly worried. Clearly, we are seeing evidence that AA has the ability to use hypnosis or some form of mind control in completing his trades. I can think of no other reason why such a trade would occur.

      Typically, the dialog for such a deal would go like this:
      1. GM of Jays: Could you take our $86m albatross off of us? He JUST had a good season, so please disregard the previous two where he was kind of sucky.
      2. GM of Other Team: ???? ???? Who else is involved?
      3. GM of Jays: Oh, other players in the trade? Maybe you can give us a catcher with surplus value on his contract, plus a flier power hitting OF?
      4. GM of Other Team: No. … Wait… Heck no.

      Instead, the Angels went: “SURE! LET’S DO THIS! (drool… spinning hypnosis eyes)”

      I can only hope that Theo Epstein is immune to AA’s jedi mind tricks.

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      • Sam says:

        As a fellow Red Sox fan, you just made me laugh out loud like a dork in the middle of my dorm room. And I agree…after this trade, I don’t want to see Epstein get anywhere NEAR AA from now on. He may well be immune, but I don’t want to risk seeing a Youkilis-for-Hill trade in the headlines! :P

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      • Josh says:

        I’d like to see A-Gon in a Jays uniform.

        AA, you know you can do it! ;3

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  7. sc2gg says:

    I’ve been basking in the love of the interwebs for about 15 hrs now, because the biggest obstacle in the Jays quest for success has been removed – it isn’t the Yanks or the BoSox, it’s the ghost of J.P.Ricciardi, and it’s been ghostbusted.

    Honestly, this is amazing. Everything about it is amazing, even things like watching Angels fans trying to validate this in their brains with shady reasoning.

    But now the real fun begins – one of you very smart people should do a statistical comparison of the worst-value trades of all time, and see where this ranks. I don’t mean trading a prospect like Bagwell, I mean trades of players who were already considered to be at untradeable stages of their careers. Maybe we can’t really do that until 4 yrs from now when we see Vernon Wealth’s actual stats (or sooner if he gets sent down at some point), but I’m guessing someone out there probably can anyway.

    Make it happen, smart people!

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  8. bsally says:

    And here I was thinking that the Uggla trade would be this offseason’s most lopsided!

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  9. Brian Kelly says:

    It’s almost getting to the point where you could argue the AL East has 4 of the 5 best teams in the AL. Scary.

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    • Darren says:

      Try all of baseball (excluding Phillies)

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    • PL says:

      The Blue Jays are not close to being in the best teams in the AL, Oakland, Texas, Minny, Chisox, Detroit will all much better next year. Maybe if the Jays get Pujols you can say this, but there is no argument roster-wise that the Jays are in the top 10 best AL teams as of right this second.

      -21 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • alskor says:

        Not in the top 10 best AL teams??

        I would strong disagree with that. They won 85 games in 2010, with a pyth of 84 wins. Positive run differential – they scored the 6th most runs in the AL least year and were just below league average pitching wise. Heck, you can make an argument they might have won the NL Wild Card (league difference, AL East unbalanced schedule & they were out of contention for a while and weren’t playing all out whereas they might have strengthened their squad had they contended rather than seeing what certain kids could do down the stretch).

        I really can’t even construct an argument to support your contention here. Did you misspeak?

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      • PL says:

        Nope, not misspeaking at all. Here’s a newsflash: the Jays are not that good (currently as of this second, the Wells money freed up will change that for sure in the future). Here’s why:

        1. You bring up that they won 85 games (84 if you go off pythag). Did you know they went 15-3 against Baltimore? That isn’t impressive: taking advantage of the unbalanced schedule to beat up on crappy teams does not a good team make. No idea what you are talking about with NL Wildcard, completely different scenarios. You cant pull things like that out of the air to make you feel good, there’s too many variances. The Jays were not even a .500 team last year if they had 18 games against say, the Twins instead of the Orioles.

        2. Here’s the list of teams I have that are better than the Jays in 2011: Boston, TB, Oak, Tex, Minny, Chisox, Detroit, Yanks, Angels. Wait, thats only 9 teams, I guess the Jays are the 10th best team in the AL. You can have it.

        3. The pitching is good, but the defense is so bad it negates it. Davis is better than Wells, but Napoli is worse than Buck/Molina. They are a below average team on defense.

        -17 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • adam says:

        They also played 54 games against the Rays, Red Sox, and Yankees, the three best teams in baseball last year. There’s a legitimate argument to be made that they were only worse than the Twins and the Rangers last year; I don’t know if the team will improve from last year because it’s hard to imagine the entire team sustaining that power streak and every young pitcher working out to perfection, but to call them the 10th best team in the AL is more of a stretch than calling them the 4th best, for sure.

        +19 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Baron Samedi says:

        PL-

        I find it strange your argument is based on the 18 games the Jays played against Baltimore and ignores the 54 games they played against the Rays, Yankees and Red Sox.

        Sure, replace the Orioles with the Twins. But then replace the Rays, Yankees and Red Sox with the Indians, Royals, Tigers and/or Sox.

        +11 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Statement says:

        PL,

        See below why you are horribly wrong.

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      • Statement says:

        PL,

        If the Jays were in the Central or West last year, they would have made the playoffs.

        BTW the twins got swept in 4 games against the Yankees. I’m quite confident the Jays could have done better than that.

        Are you just a depressed Angels fan or what?

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      • everdiso says:

        1) the Jays look nicely above average defensively. Their only serious negative is at 3B, whether that’s Bautista or Encarnacion (though EE wasn’t nearly as bad defensively last year as he has been in the past). Here’s the career UZR/150 ratings at each position:

        CF) Davis: +2.6
        RF) Bautista: -1.3
        LF) Snider +5.3
        3B) Encarnacion -11.5
        SS) Escobar +3.2
        2B) Hill +4.8
        1B) Napoli +4.3
        C) Arencibia ?? (40%cs)

        2) why do place the likes of Detroit, Minny, Oakland, Anaheim as significantly better than the Jays?

        For example, using the other team involved in this trade, here’s a comparison between the Jays and Angels, based on their career wOBAs and FIPs:

        1) 2B H.Kendrick (27) .328wOBA — CF R.Davis (30) .326wOBA
        2) DH B.Abreu (37) .387wOBA — SS Y.Escobar (28) .338wOBA
        3) RF T.Hunter (35) .344wOBA — RF J.Bautista (30) .346wOBA
        4) 1B K.Morales (28) .352wOBA — 1B M.Napoli (29) .357wOBA
        5) LF V.Wells (32) .346wOBA — DH A.Lind (27) .341wOBA
        6) 3B M.Izturis (30) .325wOBA — 3B E.En’cion (28) .344wOBA
        7) SS E.Aybar (27) .305wOBA — 2B A.Hill (29) .327wOBA
        8) CF P.Bourjos (24) .273wOBA — LF T.Snider (23) .331wOBA
        9) C H.Conger (23) .266wOBA — C J.Arencibia (25) .232wOBA

        UT) B.Wood (26) .206wOBA — J.Rivera (32) .337wOBA
        OF) R.Willits (30) .311wOBA — C.Patterson (31) .305wOBA
        IF) A.Callaspo (28) .315wOBA — J.McDonald (36) .267wOBA
        C) C J.Mathis (28) .255wOBA — J.Molina (36) .273wOBA

        SP) D.Haren (30) 3.58fip — B.Morrow (26) 3.86fip
        SP) J.Weaver (28) 3.75fip — R.Romero (26) 3.95fip
        SP) J.Pineiro (32) 4.26fip — M.Rzep’ski (25) 4.39fip
        SP) E.Santana (28) 4.34fip — B.Cecil (24) 4.51fip
        SP) T.Bell (24) 4.03fip — K.Drabek (23) 4.08fip
        SP) S.Kazmir (27) 4.13fip — J.Litsch (26) 4.81fip

        RP) H.Takahashi (36) 2.59fip — O.Dotel (37) 3.63fip
        RP) S.Shields (35) 3.53fip — J.Frasor (33) 3.73fip
        RP) S.Downs (35) 3.58fip — J.Rauch (32) 3.79fip
        RP) K.Jepsen (26) 3.94fip — C.Janssen (29) 3.81fip
        RP) F.Rodney (34) 4.13fip — C.Villanueva (27) 3.89fip
        RP) J.Bulger (32) 4.15fip — J.Carlson (30) 4.11fip
        RP) M.Palmer (32) 4.60fip — S.Camp (35) 4.20fip
        RP) F.Rodriguez (28) 4.64fip — D.Purcey (29) 3.67fip

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      • Not David says:

        Newsflash, good teams beat up on poor teams.

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      • Mark says:

        ” You bring up that they won 85 games (84 if you go off pythag). Did you know they went 15-3 against Baltimore? That isn’t impressive: taking advantage of the unbalanced schedule to beat up on crappy teams does not a good team make. ”

        The Yankees went 15-3 against Baltimore, so I guess you think they suck because they took advantage of beating up on crappy teams.

        “The Jays were not even a .500 team last year if they had 18 games against say, the Twins instead of the Orioles.”

        The Jays were 6-3 against Minnesota. So they would have won 12 games against Minnesota. Which means instead of facing Baltimore 18 times, they would have faced them 9 times. They would have won 7.5 games vs Baltimore. So let’s round it down to make it look like I’m not biased. So instead of winning 6 vs Min and 15 vs Balt they win 12 vs Min and 7 vs Balt, for a net loss of 2 wins.

        So actually, if they faced Minnesota 18 times they’re a 500 win team, or an 83 win team if you round up. Nice try though.

        “Here’s the list of teams I have that are better than the Jays in 2011: Boston, TB, Oak, Tex, Minny, Chisox, Detroit, Yanks, Angels.”

        Really? You have the Angels as better than Toronto? That’s funny. Oakland is an amusing pick, if only because the Jays are likely to have a better offense, and as of last year had a better pitching staff (4.04 FIP vs 4.13 for Oakland. I don’t think Detroit or Chicago is better than TO either. I’ll give you Boston, TB, Texas, Yanks and Minnesota. So they’re top 6.

        “The pitching is good, but the defense is so bad it negates it. Davis is better than Wells, but Napoli is worse than Buck/Molina. They are a below average team on defense.”

        The Jays UZR/150 was 0.9 and there UZR was -1.1. That seems like exactly league average to me.

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      • halebm says:

        There ability to make solid pitching staffs, no matter what experience level, keeps them in contention. how ever with this burden of a contract now lifted and hopefully Bautista’s arbitration goes ok, the jays now have the option to bring in a game changing player. now there are many uncertainties when it comes to the 2011 jays i wouldnt keep them out of the conversation of top AL(obviously the top team, but there up there).

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      • alskor says:

        PL –

        Your first two points are obviously and badly flawed, as has been answered at length by other posters. The unbalanced schedule clearly works against the Jays, not for them. Your second point is simply teams you think are better with no rationale given.

        I will give your third point *some* credence. The Jays aren’t a great defensive team, but as was demonstrated below by poster everdiso they really aren’t that bad either. Most importantly, the defense won’t be any worse than last year (and indeed projects to be better) where the team was pretty average in terms of run prevention.

        There just really isn’t an argument to be made for the Jays as one of the 4 worst teams in the AL. I can’t construct one even in a devil’s advocate sense. At least not one that doesn’t include major injuries. They certainly weren’t bottom 4 last year and it takes a huge stretch of the imagination to project them there for 2011. The Royals, Indians, Angels, Mariners and Orioles are all excellent bets to be worse (at least true talent wise).

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    • Mike H says:

      I disagree. The Jays are getting a lot better, but they looking at their projected lineup and thinking about OBP makes me want to cry. I don’t believe that Wells can repeat last year, but he was the best OBP guy on a team that proved that hitting 250 solo homers all year is good for about 4th place. And what did they pickup? Two high power, zero OBP guys.

      Don’t get me wrong, AA is making some awesome moves and I have no doubt that they’re going to be good soon, but right now they’re WAY to unbalanced to be a top 5 AL team.

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      • Baron Samedi says:

        Napolis is hardly a “zero OBP guy.”

        Napoli has a .346 career OBP, 11.1% walk rate and, excluding 2010, has never posted an OBP below .350 for the rest of his career.

        That’s a solid mark for anyone and excellent for a guy who can catch.

        Oh, and:
        Rivera .280/.328/.461 (career)
        Wells .280/.329/.475

        By your logic, Wells is just as much a “zero OBP guy” as Rivera when in reality they are near-identical offensive players.

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      • Someanalyst says:

        But Napoli helps their balance of another sort: he excels against LHP. The Jays had a top shelf offense against RHP last year but rock bottom against LHP.

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    • Luke in MN says:

      Well, this trade doesn’t especially make the Blue Jays better personnel-wise. They did lose one of their better players. But it certainly gives them the opportunity to improve the team with the extra cash they have now.

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      • Reuben says:

        They took a place of excess in the OF and replaced it with a place of need C/1B. I think it did improve their personnel.

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  10. Beaster says:

    Hopefully Vernon doesn’t suffer the same career path as another former Jays outfielder and AL MVP
    http://www.fangraphs.com/graphsw.aspx?playerid2=1000808&playerid3=1326&playerid4=&playerid5=

    Eerily similar…

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    • Bill says:

      Wow, great find. I don’t know much about Bell. Was he similar in any other way to Wells? Might there be some reason for his career to mirror Bell’s in this way? It’s piqued my curiosity.

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      • Eric says:

        A Brief history of Cloning:

        Cloning was perfected in 1978 in the obscure village of Toronto, Canada.
        The first real attempt of cloning came about in December 8th of the same year.
        The donor of the DNA was a young Dominican defector by the name of George Bell.
        Young George’s DNA was used to create his identical clone.
        The Canadian researchers decided to name the clone, “Vernon Wells”, which means the “Chosen One” in Canadian.

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      That is pretty cool.

      However, perhaps the most important graph is the last one, which shows a dramatically different story at age 30-31.

      Bell fell off a cliff after 32. It’s not likely Wells does that.

      The first 2 graphs just show that up to the age of 31, they have been equal in accumulated value. You could do a lot worse than being George (or Jorge) Bell’s equal through age 31.

      It is very interesting that at age 27 they both suffered a huge dropoff, sorta rebounded a bit, and dropped even further. The BIG difference though is that after age 30 Bell eroded dramatically, and Wells is moved back up toward significantly productive.

      But, they’re different players. Namely Bell didn’t walk hardly at all, Wells at least does some. Wells is hurt by 3 years of below average defense at CF (according to the advanced metrics). That should improve with a move to the corner position.

      I would not expect Wells to have a Bellesque career drop off/end in 2011 or 2012.

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      • delv213 says:

        Very funny looking back considering how wrong you were and how right this guy was, Vernon fell off huge after leaving Toronto just like Bell and his career nearly mirrors it.

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  11. RollingWave says:

    jesus…. if there was one contract that I thought was utterly untradable…..

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  12. Luke in MN says:

    So, if a win is worth $5 million, Wells needs to be worth 4.3 wins on average over the next four years to be worth his contract. Another way to think of it: he’d need to be about the 20th best position player in baseball over that span. Meanwhile Napoli and Rivera would both need to be worth a shade over 1 win next season to be worth their contracts.

    While that scenario is possible and would make the trade a wash for the Angels, you have to figure the odds are pretty stinking long. Matching his new teammate Torii Hunter’s very good age 32-34 seasons seems like a reasonable optimistic projection for Wells, as Wells sort of looks like a streakier Torii Hunter if you compare their career progressions (both aging right-handed center fielders with good pop and nearly identical career triple-slash lines):

    http://www.fangraphs.com/graphsw.aspx?playerid2=731&playerid3=1326&playerid4=&playerid5=

    But even that would only net him 3.3 WAR a year or so. Even resurrecting vintage Wells of 2003-2006 wouldn’t quite get it done. I guess Angels fans can just hope it’s a massive improvement in team chemistry.

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  13. RPS says:

    Biggest losers of this trade: The Orioles. The 2010s can now officially be written off.

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  14. Kyle says:

    This is stunning, even if the Angels think last year is a turning point for Wells they must have known they could have gotten him without giving up any talent. According to Cots the Jays are on the hook for the signing bonus, about 3.7mil a year, so I guess its not that bad but still…giving up Napoli? On an aging team competing with Texas and Oakland? If they had gotten Toronto to chip in 7mil/year and traded Kazmir instead of Napoli that would have meant Wells would cost them 40mil over 4, which is a lot more palatable. And I bet AA would have jumped all over that deal.

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    • Adam R says:

      Kyle, the Angels are getting Wells without giving up any talent.

      Rivera would provide zero play time for the Angels in 2011 with their massive pool of outfielders, he is an easy let-go.

      Napoli cannot defend, and is extremely ISO power-centric. He has a massive strikeout rate and measly walk rate. Now he is just an old man compared to the three other catchers the Angels have. I imagine Bobby Wilson has the starting catcher position over Jeff Mathis after Spring. Conger is a year away. While not a power machine like Napoli, Bobby looks like he has a smoother line through the rest of his batting stats compared to the massive peaks and valleys in Napoli’s.

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    • Reuben says:

      Sadly, I think the Angels didn’t think they were giving up talent. But shedding bad contracts/players themselves…

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  15. Lewie Pollis says:

    “He’s likely Toronto’s best hitter.”

    I know nobody takes Bautista’s 2010 season at face value, but are we really saying a guy with a .340 wOBA last year will be better than a guy with a .422 wOBA?

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    • David Golebiewski says:

      Lewie,

      You make a good point here. I think that designation should still belong to Bautista upon further thought, though clearly he’s going to regress next year.

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      • Cam says:

        I don’t expect 54 HR again, but Jose’s legit. He was considerably better in the second half of 2010 than the first (199 OPS+ with 30HR in his last 73 games). He hit double-digit dingers in four different months. He played exactly the way that you’d expect an outstanding hitter to play.

        I’d put the over/under for next year at 40. Barring injury, there’s no way in hell he doesn’t pass 30. The second-best total in the AL last year was 39, by the way.

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    • everdiso says:

      Napoli’s career .357wOBA is the best on the Jays, and 2nd best on the Angels behind only 37 year old Abreu’s .387.

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      • OK I give up… why has no one pointed out that Napoli’s OBA has declined for two years in a row despite getting moved to first base, where he should have hit better?

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      • Torgen says:

        Trend lines aren’t predictive.

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      • Is that a joke? Because everyone is saying that Wells is likely to trend down for the remainder of his contract, but somehow it’s a given that Napoli will return to his career norms?

        Be very careful in trying to extrapolate large amount of data to one player – you’re going to wind up wrong about 99% of the time.

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  16. Danmay says:

    As an A’s fan I am thrilled to hear about this trade.

    The A’s spending $18m on relievers isn’t ideal, but it’s an OK Plan C or D.

    Trading for Wells is a terrible Plan C or D.

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  17. PL says:

    I’m still utterly speechless. Stunned this would ever happen. At the bare minimum I thought it would be a Rios-Chisox scenario where the Jays just give LAAAA Wells but to give up Napoli as well? Absolute insanity, Moreno had to be drunk when this went down.

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  18. Max G says:

    Wow. Holy (insert favorite cliched expletive here) !!!

    This feels like Christmas has been extended to me. As a long-time Bluejays fan, I’ve been waiting for Vernon Wells to be dealt for several years, and was not optimistic that any team would be stupid enough to take on his unwarranted mega-money Jeteresque contract, for this extremely un-Jeterlike player.

    This is a very lopsided deal heavily in favor of the Bluejays. Vernon Wells is a below average defensive outfielder by any measure, has occasional weird injuries, and can best be described at the plate as inconsistent.

    He hit .227 on the road last year with 11 HR.

    After his hot power start of April and May cooled down, Wells enjoyed a dismal stretch of baseball when he hit .240 with 4 HR over about 200 at-bats. Despite launching 31 bombs on the season, his situational hitting was so poor that he only managed to drive in 88 runs. Wells had a dynamite April and September, but a fairly miserable June, July, and August. He has hot stretches for a week here and a week there, but for the most part he does not contribute much to a team on a daily basis. With 4 years left on the contract, and clearly entering the predictable age-related decline phase, this is a truly baffling move by the Angels.

    His contract single-handedly limited the Bluejays ability to re-sign Roy Halladay or add any other significant players in the past couple of years. He is so overpaid, that the contract is quite simply one of the biggest mistakes, if not the biggest, in the history of the franchise.

    All of that baggage for a catcher (a catcher!) with power equal or greater than Wells, and throw in an inconsistent RF, but one who could produce numbers in his walk year. Did I mention these two players combined make about one third what Wells will be paid next year? I want to frame a massive poser of Alex Anthopolous today and hang it in my living room!!!

    Napoli, playing at a position that is generally lacking offensive talent, will equally replace or even improve upon the offense Wells provided. Rivera, although he completely stunk last year, will likely juice-up and produce in his walk year. When his contract expires, the Bluejays will be in phenomenal position in 2012 to go after big-name free agents with reckless abandon.

    Pujols? I really don’t think the Jays luck will extend THAT far. It would take an incredible amount of convincing and about $28-$30 million per season to sign Pujols for his age 32-40 performance years. I don’t see that happening, he is the entire franchise in St.Louis, and the Cardinal brass will do what it takes to keep him there.

    A more realistic level of optimism would be that the Bluejays pursue Prince Fielder as a 2012 free agent, since all indications are he will most definitely be a free agent at that point, regardless of whether Milwaukee trades him mid-summer 2011 to a contender. It would be a more worthwhile endeavor to throw the $25 mil per season at somebody Fielder’s age, so there is at least a couple of prime seasons early in the contract, at the same time some of the young pitchers on the Jays are truly peaking from 2012-2014.

    That is, I think, their best chance to contend. At that point, Jeter and A-Rod will be seriously declining, but still occupying roster spots on the Yankees as they chase personal milestones, Mo Rivera will be retired, and with some luck the Jays will contend with the Red Sox for the division as an aging Carl Crawford is not so speedy and the Sox pitching dwindles. Yes, that’s a lot to ponder but crazier things have happened. Like this trade, for instance.

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    • Dave says:

      I think it’s rather amusing that the AL East would end up with five of the top-10 first basemen in 2011, even if one of them is playing out of position (Gonzo, Youkilis, Fielder, Tex, Lee.)

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    • Cam says:

      You’re a long-time Jays fan and you were waiting for Wells to be traded?

      I guess I was too, in the same way that I’m waiting for global warming to just solve itself and I’m waiting for Tim Hortons to start a free-coffee-delivered-to-your-bed service. Never thought I’d see it happen, though.

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  19. Richard says:

    I feel like AA is becoming the Scott Boras of GMs.

    I never understand how Boras can make teams overpay on every signing. Just like I’ll never understand how AA can make a deal like this

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    • gnomez says:

      That would be Billy Beane – see Mark Mulder, Matt Holliday (although I might have to reassess my original idea that Holliday was an overpay, as it seems as though the Cardinals actually won that one.)

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Its only been one year for Holliday. He’s still got six more (ages 31-16). Don’t reassess after one year.

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      • Felonius_Monk says:

        Matty, what happens for the next six years isn’t really relevant. The Cardinals traded for half a year of Holliday (in a contending year) and then signed him to a big extension later.

        Basically, the deal was 3 months (or so) of Holliday (I believe Oakland paid pretty much all his remaining salary, too), plus the opportunity to sign him as a FA without giving up their first round draft pick (as he was a type A) for Wallace, Mortensen and Pieterson.

        FWIW, I’d say it’s looking about a push, in retrospect. Wallace is clearly not going to be as good as he looked in 2008, and I’d say he’s roughly equivalent to an average late-first-round draft pick (which the Cardinals saved by trading for and then extending Holliday). Pieterson looks like a non-prospect, 4th OF at best. So basically it’s 3 months of a star player Holliday in a contending year for 6 years of Mortensen, who looks like he’s got a decent shot of being a competent back-of-the-rotation starter. Probably a fair swap (for both teams) on the current market.

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  20. Matt says:

    I’ve noticed a lot of people saying things like “Anthopoulos for GM of the Year!” While this looks to be a fantastic move for the Blue Jays, it’s one of those trades that appears so lopsided, I tend not to give Anthopoulos a lot of credit. Virtually any GM (except, of course, Tony Reagins) would have made this deal if approached by another team. I guess if Anthopoulos is the one who made this happen with persistent phone calls or negotiating or something, then, yes, he deserves a lot of credit, but this reminds me of a team having the No. 1 pick when a phenom like LeBron James or Stephen Strasburg is in the draft. Of course you take them — that doesn’t make you a good GM. I’m not trying to bag on Anthopolous, as I think he’s done a good job in his short tenure, but I wouldn’t give him any extra credit for this deal, as weird as that sounds.

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    • mike says:

      Umm Matt I think you are missing the point: This would have been the type of trade you imply is lucky/decent if you saw him trade wells for A non prospect, Kazmir (worthless trash) and maybe 10-20 million of the contract payed by the Jays. They Paid nothing (the bonus mentioned above has already been paid out. The value of the 24.5 in bonus money paid in three installments is valued at 3.7 mil per year over the 7 year contract for accounting/revenue sharing purposes). Instead AA Paid no money AND received a good player in return who will do some combination of be a good DH and ok backup C with the Jays and end up a trade piece.

      AND the dead money contract they received may well end up a trade piece if he has a decent year (very plausible) and the jays pick up the rest of his contract through October.

      The other thing the trade/off-season implies about AA is that he actually understands his team’s position. The Jays are in the AL EAST. 90 win teams don’t make the playoffs in the AL EAST. You need to be a 95 win team (this year may be an exception if the Yanks don’t get another pitcher with 93 wins getting you in) to have a good shot (and that doesn’t even take into account that 95 wins in the AL east is like a 98 win team in the rest of AL and 100 win team in the NL). AA unlike Ricciardi understands that an 85 win team is not just a player or two away unless it is very young and talented with good prospects coming up. Why waste the last 2-3 decent but overpriced seasons of Wells on a non-contending team and will clog the payroll when they can contend in 2013 and beyond….

      And it’s not like the angels are KNOWN for only making horrible trades/signings. They got haren last year for ahhh and Hunter turned out to be a good signing. Matthews (was that reagins?) and Kazmir were the bad decisions, but like most GMs he has good and bad spots on his record.

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    • Kampfer says:

      Almost every team has some albatross, AA has the worst one besides the A-Rod contract, but yet able to unload the whole contract and simultaneously getting a power hitting catcher still under control. This wins the GM of the year award

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    • PL says:

      I agree, this is 100% Reagins being stupid and 0% AA being smart. AA has been trying to jettison Wells for a while, I’m fairly sure he would have just given Wells away (ala Rios) had a team wanted him. Turns out Reagins/Scioscia hated Napoli so much but knew they couldnt DFA him or the fans would have a fit. Instead they get a player with a few all-star seasons under his belt. Every GM in baseball would do what AA did here, he’s no genius.

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      • Statement says:

        PL,

        You are dumb. That is all.

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      • ngrimson says:

        Compare what they got for Rios to what they got for Wells and ask yourself that question again.

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      • hk says:

        I sort of agree with PL here. Apparently, the Angels approached the Jays at the Winter Meetings about Wells. I suspect that, once the Angels decided to trade for Wells, they were looking to “dump” Napoli’s and Rivera’s salaries to offset taking on Wells’s contract. At a minimum, you have to think that if AA initiated all of this, that Reagins would have also been in position to receive a significant amount of cash. Take nothing away from AA, who may be a genius, but this particular deal looks more like a Reagins blunder than anything else.

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  21. Renegade says:

    “I guess if Anthopoulos is the one who made this happen with persistent phone calls or negotiating or something,”

    No… I’m SURE it was Reagins calling, begging AA to trade Wells and his $86 million contract to him…

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  22. dustygator says:

    Still, credit should be taken away from the entire Angels franchise instead of given to AA. It’s not like AA is thinking outside the box or finding diamonds in the rough. He just conned Reagins which while commendable in it’s own right does not make him one of the best GMs in baseball just yet.

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    • Renegade says:

      This trade combined with the Halladay, Morrow and Escobar ones makes him one of the best GM’s in baseball. It’s fine to say “Reagins is a dumbass LOL” but the fact that AA didn’t even have to put a PENNY in towards Vernon’s contract? I say a lot of credit goes to AA for that.

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    • Paul says:

      I agree. I’d like to give credit to AA, but this is just such a huge gift, I think all you can do is rip Reagins.

      Crediting AA would be the equivalent of the 30 second celebration for making a special teams tackle.

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      • PL says:

        I agree with this. AA has done a great job and is a year or two away from reaping the benefits, but Reagins deserves to be fired over this.

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    • BillWallace says:

      Yeah I’ve been thinking the same way. If he somehow conned Reagins into this I guess he deserves the credit for that. But if he was just engaging in normal trade talk feeling out with other GMs and luckboxed his way into an epic misevaluation then anybody could have taken advantage of that.

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  23. Scott says:

    All I can say is Mike Scioscia must really hate Mike Napoli.

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  24. Phil says:

    Napoli must’ve done something horrible to Scoscia, like slept with his mom/wife/daughter. That’s the only reason this trade makes sense.

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  25. The Beest says:

    According to AA, it was the Angels who first approach them at the Winter Meetings.

    If you listen to Reagins, its a choice between 142/7 yrs (crawford) vs 68-70/4
    since NAP + RIV will cost 16-18m over 2yrs (dep on arb ?), and that they needed a home run threat more than basestealer. They assume Bautista hit 54 DUE TO WELLS HITTING BEHIND HIM ??

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  26. Paul says:

    I don’t think this deal make the Jays better on paper, but wow, the flexibility it gives them financially is so huge it’s almost incalculable.

    There is no doubt that a Wells-Bourjos-Hunter outfield is incredible, and will really help the Angels. And after seeing Wells in 2009 where he looked like he dreaded going to the plate, then seeing the turnaround last years, I’m very skeptical about any projections. He is a very talented player, and if he is able to simply maintain a consistent approach he’ll be an above average LFer, and that’s just counting offense. He was the second most lost player at the plate that I think I’ve ever seen in 2009, so again, I just don’t know how you can have any confidence in a projection at this point.

    But even if he stays on track there is no way he’s worth the money. I didn’t realize his deal was so backloaded. Looking at the details of the deal on Cot’s actually makes me more amazed at this deal. Toronto actually had him relatively cheap for the first few years, and now shed every penny of the bad part of the deal. Just incredible. I can’t remember ever seeing a deal like this one before.

    I usually don’t get too worked up over the money end of deals, but this one is so extreme, especially considering the options they had in the FA market, that somebody really needs to be held accountable.

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    • PL says:

      “There is no doubt that a Wells-Bourjos-Hunter outfield is incredible”

      I can think of many adjectives used to describe that OF, incredible is not one of them. “Somewhat decent” is more true.

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      • Eric says:

        that seems top-5 in majors defensively at least

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      • NEPP says:

        Well, are we going by reputation or reality?

        Reputation wise, its a fantastic defensive OF.

        Oh, and I concur with it being a TERRIBLE trade.

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      • Paul says:

        I don’t know how you don’t get a +20 UZR out of that OF next season, with all of them at least +5. Also, it’s hard to imagine them doing this, since they just made this horrible deal, but they need to put Wells in RF and move Hunter to LF, where his terrible arm will play much better. Wells has an average arm for right, and his defense improved dramatically last year in CF, while still well below average. He should be at least a small plus in RF.

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      • The Bunk says:

        Vernon Wells should make a nice transition over to Left Field, it takes away his two largest flaws in his range and his arm. He has one of the best gloves and some of the best instincts i’ve ever seen from a centerfielder, those should transition nicely.

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  27. crime_dog says:

    Sure, Toronto went 15-3 against Baltimore. Would it have been all that more impressive if they’d gone 85-77 while going 9-9 against Baltimore? Of the teams you listed as being better than the Jays in ’11, here are the teams who won the season series against TO in ’10: {BOS, TAM, LAA}. You can argue that the team in ’11 is weakened by the subtractions of Marcum and Wells, but rosters aren’t set yet. I’d give Anthopoulos a little slack for the time being.

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  28. DrBGiantsfan says:

    While this is not a great trade from the Angels standpoint, I don’t think it’s quite as bad as this discussion is making it out to be. A few points to consider:

    1. Everybody is making a huge deal out of Wells’ contract. Obviously it was a big deal to Toronto, but I’m not so sure it is for the Angels. Anybody who is paying attention this offseason has to believe that many teams, especially those in big markets like the Angels, are awash in money as far into the future as the eye can see. If Wells’ contract, at some point in the future prevents the Angels from making a signing or trade they really need to make, then yeah, it’s a bad deal. I just don’t get the feeling that it’s going to be a hinderance to them in any way going forward. I would deduce from the sequence of events that the problem with Crawford and Beltre for the Angels was not the $$$/year, but the # of years required to sign them. The Angels have a pretty good farm system in the lower levels and they probably just didn’t want to have somebody potentially blocking their prospects that far down the road.

    2. To call Napoli the best player in the deal seems like a pretty one-dimensional way of looking at him. Both Napoli and Rivera are pretty atrocious defensively at any position you can think of. It seems strange to me that writersf for a site that prides itself on valuing defense would comment on Wells’ limitations and totally ignore the utter atrociousness of Napoli and Rivera’s D. At least Wells will likely be a plus defender in LF.

    3. On a related note to #2, the Angels had a logjam of DH types. Whatever Napoli and Rivera’s value, they had no value to the Angels because they had no place to play! Unloading those two bad contracts pays half of Wells’ freight over the next 2 seasons, breaks up the logjam at DH and gives them a pretty good player at a position of need. As has been pointed out above, and also by none other than Mike Scioscia, a Wells/Bourjos/Hunter OF would be one of the better defensive OF’s in baseball, something Fangraphs writers should be quite positive about.

    4. As I understand it, Wells’ struggles in the 3 years prior to 2010 were largely due to a series of nagging injuries. While players with injury histories are probably more likely to get injured again, it’s not a given. In that light, 2010 may have represented a positive regression to Wells’ true talent level. Regression does work both ways and players can regress positively as well as negatively. Looking at the total arc of Wells’ career, it seems likely that those 3 down years were the outliers more than 2010.

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    • If a player has value to other teams then they have value to the team that employs them. Napoli was an at least relatively sought after commodity, so whether you think he could help the Angels on the field or not, he could help them by bringing quality back in a deal. But, in this case he was completely wasted.

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    • Eric Feczko says:

      Man…I hate to characterize west coast baseball fans, but a lot of them seem pretty “biased” when it comes to assessing the quality of their players relative to the league.

      1) This logic makes little sense because you can get better value for crawford/beltre than you can for Wells’ contract at the same price. Let’s accept the presumptions that the angels can absorb bad contracts, and that Crawford/Beltre would have been good contracts for the first few years (at least compared with wells). The logical move would then be to sign crawford or beltre, and when crawford/beltre starts sliding, eat the salary on the remaining years, bench crawford/beltre and replace with a younger player. There’s simply no reason to give up trade chips for a player like Wells.

      2) What reasoning do you have that Wells will be a plus defender in LF? His UZR range over the past three years at CF has averaged -10.0. His UZR for the arm is barely above average (0.6). While I agree that he may be better in LF, to argue that he’ll be a plus defender is optimistic at best, and out of touch with reality at worst. Let’s assume a 6 point increase in UZR/150. Based on his past three years, he may put up a -10 UZR/150 in 2011. Assuming that his last year is more representative of his defense, Wells may put up a -1 UZR/150. Neither of these guesstimates come even close to a “plus defender”. By way of comparison, this level of defense may closely resemble Juan Rivera. Over a comparable sample size (which stretches 5 years, unfortunately), Rivera has had a – 4 UZR/150 as an outfielder.

      3) I covered Rivera above; Wells may not provide better defense than Rivera. Napoli is a catcher. It is hard to say whether he is a DH because of poor defense, or because of Mike’s “genius” decisions. Mathis is a piss-poor catcher (according to nearly every defensive metric, scouting report, and fan report I can find), who also can’t hit a lick. At least Napoli could’ve platooned at catcher and give Hank Conger a bit more time to get ready in AAA. If you truly believe Conger is ready as a full-time starter, then I can understand the decision to trade Napoli. However, Napoli’s value is probably greater than Wells, so trading Napoli FOR wells is likely a very bad move. Instead, one could’ve grabbed Wells a bit cheaper (as the Jays have been looking to unload this contract since the year after it was signed), and traded napoli for some bullpen help or interesting prospects. I think the red sox (who have a real need for a catcher) would’ve given a better deal for napoli than the Jays.

      4) So, you’re fine with getting a 32-year-old player who has been injured for three of the past four years? You don’t see that as a significant risk nor as grounds to predict a negative regression? Fine, let’s cherry pick and take 2007-2009 out of the equation. Or better yet, use Wells’ career average as a predictor of future performance. Wells is an above average hitter by every metric. Rivera, by way of comparison, is about the same. However, even if Wells is a better hitter than rivera by a factor of 3, the difference in contract makes Rivera a better bang for buck.

      Finally, yes I watch a lot of baseball. The stats appear to agree with my own eye: Wells is an above average hitter, and below average defender who earns superstar money. So basically, the angels are paying a valuable trade chip and 17.5$ million/year for a slight upgrade at the corner outfield position. Such a deal is a complete rip-off.

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      • DrBGiantsfan says:

        Why do people keep insisting that Napoli and Rivera have so much value? They are both essentiall DH’s. Have you checked what DH’s are getting on the open market lately?

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      • Cheese Whiz says:

        DrBGiantsfan

        You just dismissed this guys entire, well argued case without addressing anything he actually wrote. Napoli and Rivera both have value aside from their bats as he laid out clearly above. Just because Soscia doesn’t want to play him behind the dish doesn’t mean someone else can’t. There are lots of other teams who would be happy to have his bat at the catcher position, and as he correctly points out, Mathis is a much worse option for the Angels. You might want to reread what he wrote and let it sink in.

        This is simply a very poor use of resources by the Angels, and whether they are a big market team or not, this handcuffs their flexibility in the future.

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      • DrBGiantsfan says:

        Cheese Whiz,

        You might want to look up Napoli’s Catcher ERA vs Mathis and Wilson. Rumor has it that Angel’s coaches were frustrated with Napoli because he couldn’t remember pitch sequences in pitcher/catcher meetings. What makes you so sure he has so much value to other teams? You don’t think they notice things like that nor hear those rumors? The guy is a DH! DH’s have very little value on the open market so you can bet they don’t have much value in trades either.

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  29. AustinRHL says:

    Now I’m hearing that Toronto is sending about $3.65 million per year to the Angels, which, assuming it’s true, certainly doesn’t make the trade a positive for Los Angeles but does at least bring it near the realm of sanity.

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    • jonnybardo says:

      Do you have a source for that?

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      • AustinRHL says:

        Apparently, I don’t. I heard it from an mlb.com commenter who cited Cot’s, but I can’t find anything there that resembles what he said. There’s still a chance that there’s some salary relief flowing to the Angels that hasn’t been reported yet, but this particular piece of information appears to have been false.

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      • Paul says:

        There was another Cot’s reference to that figure above, but from what I can see there the bonus money was all paid by Toronto through last March. From what I could tell all that’s left on that deal is salary of around $20m per for four more years.

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  30. crime_dog says:

    I think the Jays went something like 13-6 combined against Minnesota and Texas last year. So, against the four AL playoff teams, TOR went 31-24. 85-77 was not a product of bottom-feeding, 15-3 vs. BALT be damned.

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  31. Rob says:

    If you take the money out of the equation, it’s a pretty good trade for the Angels, and Arte has never really seemed to care how much money he spends (Gary Matthews). Wells is clearly an upgrade from Rivera and Napoli will never get consistent PT with the Angels because he slept with Scioscia’s wife or something. From the Jays perspective, its a great trade because money matters a lot to them.

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    • Baron Samedi says:

      “Wells is clearly an upgrade from Rivera ”

      Keep telling yourself that.

      Rivera .280/.328/.461
      Wells .280/.329/.475

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      • DrBGiantsfan says:

        There is a significant difference in fielding skills here. Wells may not be that great in CF, but should be a plus LF. Rivera cannot field any position well.

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      • hk says:

        DrBGiantsfan,

        You are right that Wells moving to LF probably makes him more valuable than Rivera assuming they both continue to produce at the same offensive levels. However, the move from Rogers Centre to Angels Stadium – look at Wells’s home / road splits – may actually reduce his offensive production to the point point where it’s a 50/50 proposition on who has more value in 2011, Rivera or Wells. Even if we assume Wells benefits from the move to LF, but is not hurt by the change in home stadium, it seems like pretty faint praise that a team is paying $86M for 4 years for a slight upgrade from Juan Rivera to Vernon Wells (and they also threw in Mike Napoli, who was apparently in demand).

        In addition, to mention Wells benefiting from the move to LF without at least considering that the move from Rogers

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      • hk says:

        Oops, I obviously forgot to delete the beginning of the second paragraph after including the point in the first paragraph.

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    • Renegade says:

      How can you just take the $86 million dollars out of the equation? That’s kind of hilarious.

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      • DrBGiantsfan says:

        He only takes it out of the equation on the Angels side because it is not likely to be a hampering factor on the Angels in the future, because Arte has the resources to spend what he needs to on what he wants.

        As long as Wells’ contract does not prevent the Angels from making other moves in the future, then it’s really not a bad deal from their end.

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      • If that was true (the Angels have unlimited resources) then why didn’t they sign Crawford and Beltre, both of whom they obviously wanted?

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      • DrBGiantsfan says:

        It was obviously the number of years for Crawford and Beltre that the Angels didn’t want, not the $$$/year. The Angels have a pretty strong farm system, but most of the talent is down in the lower minors, about 4 years away.

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      • Not David says:

        So which is it, does bad money hamper them, or doesn’t it? You can’t have it both ways.

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      • DrBGiantsfan says:

        Why does everything have to be all or nothing? Bad money is much less of a problem for the Angels than it is for the Blue Jays. For whatever reason in their business model, the Angels preferred to pay a little extra to get a player with a shorter time commtment on their contract.

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      • Terminator X says:

        “As long as Wells’ contract does not prevent the Angels from making other moves in the future, then it’s really not a bad deal from their end.”

        So you don’t think that having to pay one player $86MM over the next 4 years is going to prevent them from making other moves? I hate to be mean, but what the fuck is wrong with you? You might – MIGHT – be able to make that argument for the Yankees, but you clearly have no business sense at all if you think that’s how the world works. That’s $86MM they CAN’T spend on anyone else, because they spent it on Wells. If they didn’t have wells, they’d have that money to spend on someone else. Moreno does not have a fountain that shoots out money endlessly streams of money – he has a budget, and he’s not bumping up the budget by $20MM/year because they have Wells now – Wells counts against their budget, just like everyone else. You’re an idiot if you think this doesn’t hamper their financial flexibility. It’s a fact that it does.

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      • DrBGiantsfan says:

        Terminator X,

        Since you seem to know so much about Arte Moreno’s budget, maybe you can tell us what it is. Budget has never been a constraint for him yet, as near as I can tell.

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  32. CircleChange11 says:

    A few years ago, the Alex Rios trade was deemed to be horrible (another bad TOR contract).

    That worked out reasonably well for the ChiSox. There’s at least a decent chance that Wells is productive and comes halfway close to earning his money.

    It’s possible that the Fielding gain with a move to the corner OF position is greater than the batting run difference. In short, it’s possible that Wells is more valuable as a corner OF than a CF …. increasing his chances of being a 4WAR player.

    I think the big issue is the risk taken. At BEST he earns his money. At WORST, he gets 12-16M $$$for value that could have been duplicated by one of the young OF’s for far less money.

    My guess is that we’ll look back on this deal as not being “that bad” for LAA …. unless Napoli and Rivera tear it up in TOR.

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    • Renegade says:

      Wells has half of Rios’ combined WAR over last 4 years.

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      • hk says:

        Not to mention that the White Sox did not give up anything to get Rios and they are paying Rios ~$12M per year for his age 29 through age 33 seasons, while the Angels are paying Wells $21.5M per year for his age 32 through age 35 years.

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      • hk says:

        …and gave up Napoli and Rivera to boot.

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    • Renegade says:

      Also, if you think he’s going to be a 4-5WAR player each of the next 4 years, you are more delusional than the Angels GM.

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      • DrBGiantsfan says:

        He’s as likely to be a 4 WAR player for the next 4 years as Crawford is for the next 7.

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      • Renegade says:

        Crawford’s has 18.2 WAR over the past 4 years. Wells has 7. Crawford is 3 years younger. So no, the likelihood isn’t close.

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      • DrBGiantsfan says:

        We’ll see how it plays out. Crawford’s game is very dependent on him maintaining his speed. Also, the Green Monster will negate much of his defensive value in LF. His contract will likely rival the first 3 years of Wells’ in badness before it’s done.

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      • Bronn says:

        DrB, probably worth noting that players whose games are more dependent on speed and batting average age better than players who games are based on pure power. Not that they age the best, it’s generally guys with ridiculously good all around skillsets like Pujols and Bonds who age really well, but…well, you have no basis for any determination that Crawford is more likely to be an albatross than wells.

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      • DrBGiantsfan says:

        Bronn,

        We’ll see how it plays out, won’t we?

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    • erich says:

      i’m curious as to what deal people think wells would get on the open market? 3/30 4/50? 5/65?

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      • DrBGiantsfan says:

        In this market? Wells would probably pretty close to what Jayson Werth got.

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      • Terminator X says:

        2/20

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      • Cheese Whiz says:

        Close to what Jayson Werth got? That is clearly insane. Werth has put up 5 WAR seasons back to back. When Wells is hitting good he still can’t hold a candle to Werth, and moving him to LF negates his positional advantage. In fact it would be surprising if Wells equaled Werths defensive value in LF as he has averaged -10 UZR over the last 3 years in CF.

        I would guess as a 2.5 – 3 win player, Wells would fetch somewhere around 3/40 or so on the open market.

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      • DrBGiantsfan says:

        Well it’s all speculation, but coming off the year he had, I’m pretty sure Wells would get more than 3/40 on the open market. I think it’s pretty clear the Angels would have been willing to go a lot higher than that for him.

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  33. Lady Gaga says:

    HAHAHA OLA ALALA

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  34. Katy Perry says:

    So hot melt your popsicle

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  35. Hank Van Susteren says:

    Couldn’t sleep last night and checked out “Halos Heaven” blog.One guy tried to defend what is impossible to defend. He was ridiculed mercilessly,but the FO got even more.”Reagins doesn’t take a dump w/o Sosh’s approval so Mike was in on it. Arte would have had to sign off on anything for that kind of money,so from now on they will forever be known as the “Stooges”.Also mentioned was that Reagins called AA to ask about Wells.Lastly,someone put up his H/A splits from last year and they were terrible away and worst in Anaheim.His lifetime stats there sucked as well.Three homers in 158 at bats I think,with obps being near what Iwould imagine is replacement level. Perhaps one of you sharpies could report on this ..

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  36. Joe R says:

    This is just scary from a Red Sox fan’s perspective. AA is doing an AMAZING job in Toronto.

    Toronto itself is proving to be a well run team. It’s obvious to everyone that men who think like businessmen and not scouts/fans are what runs GMs offices these days. When one of those businessmen types failed (J.P. Ricciardi), Toronto went for a new one.

    Contrast this to the Dodgers, who brought in the “old-timey” guy that of course started out okay thanks to one good trade (ManRam), but is now a disaster whose shortcomings are apparent. Kudos to Toronto’s ownership for knowing what they want in a GM and bringing in a good one, instead of abandoning ship due to media pressure.

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  37. Cam says:

    I just had a vision of Albert Pujols holding up a Blue Jays jersey and saying “It was time for me to leave St Louis, and other than LA, Toronto’s always been my favorite MLB city.”

    I’m so damn happy.

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  38. Zach Piso says:

    I’ve been wondering what Wells would have gotten on the open market, but relative to fellow Jay Jose Bautista. Both put up fully surprising seasons after failing to eclipse 3 WAR combined over the previous three seasons. However, Bautista nearly doubled Wells’ value over 2010, and is a full two years younger. Both are pretty much corner outfielders, with the ability to play a more elite defensive position, albeit poorly. Now, I can see how Wells could have made more than Bautista even this offseason, yet I cannot imagine anyone giving Jose the 4/$40 or even 3/$30 deals that people are tossing around for Wells.

    The thing I find so hilarious is the report from days earlier of Wells admitting that he’s overpaid: http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_stew/post/Vernon-Wells-I-would-totally-agree-I-m-not-wor?urn=mlb-306633

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  39. PurifiedDrinkingWater says:

    i guess you forgot the cubs exist

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  40. rick p says:

    Those wishing to annoint AA might wait to see how trading his best starting pitcher works outI think it might put the Brewers in the playoffs but that isnt really the idea

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    • ddriver80 says:

      Marcum was not our best pitcher. Morrow, Romero are all better to be honest. Cecil is about at Marcum level too.

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      • Cidron says:

        In the Post-Hallady Jays, I dont think there was a “best” pitcher. They seemed to be pretty even, within reason that is. Each was a little different, but.. No true ace, no true “5th” pitcher. No pitcher that the batters said “I cant wait to get my hacks in against this guy” or, “I think I have a tweaked muscle in my leg. Coach, think I am gonna sit this one out “

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  41. YNKS12 says:

    Sosia may be cancer for Angels????????

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  42. YNKS12 says:

    Oh typo. Scioscia

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  43. MCR says:

    DrBGiantsFan:

    “Since you seem to know so much about Arte Moreno’s budget, maybe you can tell us what it is. Budget has never been a constraint for him yet, as near as I can tell.”

    Since 2007, the Angels have run a payroll between $109 million and $121 million. This year, they’re on the hook for $129 million. That’s pretty consistent with past payroll obligations, and points to a budget of $130-135 million, assuming Moreno’s past spending is predictive.

    Budget is a constraint for EVERY team. Even the Yankees have made an effort to reduce payroll as they recognized they were wasting money. If budget didn’t restrict the Angels, why didn’t they make better offers for Beltre or Lee or Crawford? Of course, budget can’t have restricted them, because they just took on Vernon Wells’ 4/86 deal. So why didn’t they spend that money on better players? It’s a vortex of stupidity.

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  44. Eric says:

    hard to read

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  45. fredsbank says:

    wha…

    what?

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  46. Excellent website. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some friends ans additionally sharing in delicious. And obviously, thank you on your sweat!

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