Yankees Acquire Vernon Wells on Purpose

I can’t remember the last time a front office admitted to actually being desperate. Even if everybody knows that the front office is desperate, the front office has a vested interest in issuing denials, since no one wants to be taken advantage of. Brian Cashman and the Yankees, I’m sure, would say they haven’t been desperate lately, even despite all the Yankees’ injuries. But Cashman reached out to Derrek Lee, unsuccessfully. Cashman reached out to Chipper Jones, unsuccessfully. And now the Yankees are taking Vernon Wells off the Angels’ hands, two years after the Angels made the mistake of acquiring Wells in the first place.

When the Angels traded for Wells, there was no other explanation except that the Angels were desperate. The offseason hadn’t gone as the organization intended, and they felt like they needed to make a splash. With the Yankees trading for Wells, again there’s no other explanation except that the Yankees are desperate. The offseason hasn’t gone as the organization intended, and they felt like they needed to land insurance.

Here are the details you’ll need: the Yankees are picking up roughly $13 million of the $42 million due to Wells over the next two years. The Angels will additionally get a low-level prospect, but he won’t actually be a “prospect” in a meaningful sense. Wells will start for the Yankees in left field until Curtis Granderson is healthy, at which point Wells will become the team’s fourth outfielder. Kole Calhoun, now, will probably make the Angels as an outfield reserve. Peter Bourjos is safer than he’s ever been. Though at this writing the trade isn’t official, Wells has already said his goodbyes to teammates. He’s already tweeted about joining the Yankees, and there’s nothing that should stand in this trade’s way.

So. This almost reads as a joke.

“The New York Yankees are desperate for an outfielder.”

“How desperate are they?”

“They’re so desperate they’re on the verge of trading for Vernon Wells!

Wells, not unlike Barry Zito, is something of a sabermetric punchline. It’s not that he’s the most dreadful player in the world, but it’s almost impossible to separate Wells from his contract. In this instance, however, it’s critical to separate the two, because the Yankees aren’t actually on the hook for everything. The Yankees are on the hook for about $13 million over two years, the bulk of which they’ll pay in 2013. How does Wells look for two years and about $13 million, instead of two years and $42 million?

Unfortunately, still not good. Wells is 34 years old, and the last two seasons he’s posted a .258 OBP. He’s projected by ZiPS to be worth a win over replacement over three-quarters of a season, and as an Angel he was worth a win over replacement over more than 200 games. There’s no question that there’s some bounceback potential here — far too few of Wells’ balls in play have fallen in for hits. But this looks like an example of a team adding a not-entirely-useless player at too high a price.

In their own defense, the Yankees can point to Wells’ history of success in the AL East. All right, fine, that’s true, and Wells also has plenty of experience, being a big-league veteran. Despite all the problems in California, Wells handled his situation with grace, so he’s a clubhouse guy who’ll be willing to accept a fourth-outfielder role upon Granderson’s return. Also, with the Angels, Wells still hit for some power, posting a .187 ISO. He homered once per 22 plate appearances. Between 2011-2012, Nelson Cruz, Adam Dunn, and Mike Trout also homered once per 22 plate appearances. Wells’ bat isn’t lifeless, because lifeless bats don’t hit dingers.

And if you want to toss sample-size concerns out the window, here are some of Wells’ Angels splits:

  • vs. RHP: .202/.232/.376
  • vs. LHP: .266/.312/.481
  • Home: .208/.244/.355
  • Road: .236/.272/.464

The Yankees could say that Wells was done no favors by his home ballpark, and they could point to his success against southpaws as a selling point for when the Yankees’ starting outfield is three lefties. Squint, and Wells has his hope and his uses. It’s not like he’s forgotten how to play defense, either.

But what Wells did at home counts. What Wells did against righties counts. Wells’ age counts, and there’s a reason why the Angels have been so willing to send Wells away. The odds are that Vernon Wells is no longer a good player. The odds are that Vernon Wells is closer to being finished than he is to being a quality regular or semi-regular.

Does Vernon Wells look better for 2013 than Ben Francisco? The Yankees already had Ben Francisco. Does it make sense to give Vernon Wells about $13 million when the front office didn’t want to give Russell Martin $12 million? Granted, the situation has changed, but this is a two-year commitment at a significant price. That the Yankees can afford it doesn’t mean they couldn’t have handled this better. Though I can’t speak to what happens privately, my suspicion is that the Yankees could’ve easily acquired Casper Wells from the Mariners, and that move wouldn’t have set the team back. That other Wells would’ve been cheaper in cost, he wouldn’t have been much more expensive in minor leaguers, and he could’ve been of some potential use for the future. The Yankees could still conceivably replace Vernon Wells with Casper Wells, but they’d be down $13 million. This is money being spent on a player who probably doesn’t deserve so much money.

The Angels get to come away from this thrilled. Wells wasn’t going to play much behind Trout, Peter Bourjos, and Josh Hamilton, and now the Angels have saved some money they can put to addressing depth over the course of the season. If a starter breaks down, the Angels can spend to fill the hole. If a reliever breaks down, it’s the same deal. The Angels basically just found $13 million, and $13 million they probably weren’t really expecting. It’s not as easy as just converting that into two or three extra wins over the next two seasons, but that’s flexibility. With Wells gone, the Angels have more wiggle room without having really lost anything from the active roster.

And the Yankees get to cross their fingers. Cross their fingers that Wells rebounds some, and that Granderson gets healthy, and that Brett Gardner and Ichiro get their respective jobs done. Ultimately, Wells has been acquired as a stopgap and as a fourth outfielder, so it’s not like Wells can bring the Yankees down from the inside. They won’t be depending on him, and he shouldn’t even be a starter past the middle of May. But consider that we just described a player a team will pay $13 million. The fact that Wells has some upside doesn’t mean this isn’t wasteful.

All offseason long, the Yankees have been pinching their pennies. They’ve admitted to it, they’ve explained it. The Yankees are now choosing to spend, on Vernon Wells. It’s not that I can’t see how this could work out. It’s that I can’t see how this was the most desirable and workable option at the time.




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Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.


105 Responses to “Yankees Acquire Vernon Wells on Purpose”

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  1. Carl says:

    QQ) If A-Rod is suspended 50 games and he does not get paid, do the Yankees get to remove his pro-rated salary (approx $8.3 million) from their salary-cap calculations? If so, prehaps this saved money is also internally being counted towards Wells’ contract?

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    • MrThell says:

      There’s no salary cap in beisbol.

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      • Frank says:

        Well there isn’t… But there is. You do have to account for the baseball luxury tax which reports were even the Yankees wanted to be mindful of it… That is until this trade happened.

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        • bluejays49 says:

          The Yankees are at $221M right now, A-Rod being suspended won’t help. It’s 2014 that they care about, since reaching that limit is still possible.

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        • Jason says:

          They want to be mindful of it in 2014 to start the consecutive-season-over-the-cap counter over to reduce the penalty. Most of this $13M is applied to 2013.

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        • cody k says:

          how could it mostly apply to this year?

          I could be wrong, but I thought MLB uses average salary per year for that calculation

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        • M W says:

          Vernon Wells will earn $21 million in each of the next two seasons, but he may actually help the Yankees achieve their goal of staying below the luxury tax threshold next year.

          The trade for Wells, which could be finalized as early as today, will see the Angels pick up roughly $28 million of the salary still owed to the outfielder.

          That means the Yankees will pay Wells $14 million over the next two years, but some fancy accounting could actually make it so the three-time All-Star doesn’t count against the team’s luxury tax payroll figure at all in 2014 — or even better, earn them a credit.

          Wells’ seven-year, $126 million contract carries an average annual value of $18 million, which is the figure that is used by MLB for luxury tax purposes. That figure decreases based on the money being paid by another team, so if the Yankees were to split the $28 million they receive from the Angels evenly over the two remaining seasons, it would leave them with a $4 million tax figure on Wells’ deal in each of the two seasons.

          But according to a source, the Yankees are expected to pay Wells about $12 million in 2013, leaving the Angels to pick up the other $9 million. That means that the Angels would pay $19 million of Wells’ $21 million salary next year, not only erasing the entire $18 million luxury tax figure for the Yankees, but adding a $1 million credit.

          It’s still unclear what the exact breakdown will be, the source said, but the end result will likely be either the Yankees getting a small luxury tax credit or breaking even on Wells’ contract next season.

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      • MikeS says:

        There is a luxury tax, I think Carl wants to know if that $8.3M is subject to the tax or not.

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    • Jonathan says:

      First and most important note: If A-Rod was going to get suspended, it would’ve happened by now. The MLB does not have enough hard evidence of actual use to get past the MLBPA to nail A-Rod on the Biogenesis scandal. The MLB would need an actual failed drug test to suspend A-Rod, not a pile of hearsay discovered through a third party’s reporting

      As far as I know, the Yankees are still on the hook for every dime of A-Rod’s deal, regardless of any inexplicable suspensions. If not, it would set a very dangerous precedent that would allay teams of any real responsibility for PED use by their players.

      Say Team A is employing Player B. Player B is aging and looking at the tail end of his career, but still on the hook for multiple years. Team A suggests to Player B that he may want to give PEDs a shot to keep his performance up. If Player B gets busted, not only does the team not face any penalty, they actually stand to gain because they’re now off the hook for a good chunk of the money they owed that player.

      So, no, the Yankees are stuck with A-Rod on their payroll unless he decides to retire.

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      • Jonathan says:

        One thing I forgot:

        The MLBPA has an added incentive to keep the MLB from getting to A-Rod: it’s not just A-Rod. If they manage to discipline A-Rod for his involvement of the scandal, they have to discipline every player involved. There’s no way the MLBPA is going to let the MLB suspend the six or seven players involved without positive drug tests.

        These guys are screwed in the court of public opinion, but they’ll face no real penalties with the MLB.

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        • Mike says:

          You forgot that under the new CBA, MLB can suspend players even in the absence of a positive test, on the basis of other supporting evidence, and they already did when MLB suspended César Carrillo for 100 games with no positive test.

          It is easier for MLB to suspend minor leaguers because they are not included in the MLBPA, and for MLB to suspend players in the association they (MLB) will probably seek more proof, unlike in previous CBA’s where MLB couldn’t suspend nor give anti-doping tests to players who testified and gave positive for cocaine during the mid 1980s, because the MLBPA threatened to sue MLB if they did something to those players (MLB didn’t even punish Willie Mays and Willie Stargell when they were identified as drug dealers for MLB players, in those 1985 cocaine trials in Pittsburgh).

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      • JayT says:

        If A-Rod were suspended, the Yankees wouldn’t have to pay him for those 50 days because the players get suspended without pay.

        I would assume that it then isn’t counted in the luxury tax, but I don’t know for certain.

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    • brad says:

      More significantly for the Yanks, does the fact that Buster Olney is reporting the WBC will pay the salaries of players injured during it (which includes Tex, despite it being in BP before an early practice) mean those portions won’t count against the salary tax? Anyone know?
      I’d suspect not, but if yes then that freed up a few million unexpectedly.

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  2. Glorpo says:

    Last that I checked Johnny Damon is a free agent and desperate for any opportunity to get close to 3000 hits. Seems like paying him a mill to hang around and possibly get some more cheapy Yankee Stadium homers would be more beneficial than setting $13 mill on fire essentially.

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    • Cidron says:

      Which would you want on your team.
      Vernon Wells.. with all his “ability” (and contract)
      Johnny Damon.. with all his remaining ability. Most of it is long gone.. Never had an arm, bat and speed have been in some decline for years. Okay, the only thing that JD has over VW is “heart”. The rest may actually favor VW.

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    • Sleight of Hand Pro says:

      this is a completely different role. boesch took the role youre talking about JD using.

      this role required ability to play the OF on a regular basis, be right handed, and be an upgrade over matt diaz. none of which apply to JD.

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      • deadpool says:

        It’s funny, your comment makes me think the Yankees should definitely have called JD Drew before doing this.

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  3. Steven says:

    In fairness and not in defense of this move, the Yankees are looking to pinch 2014 pennies and this is a way to (in their minds) add to 2013 without impacting their 2014 goal…

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    • Rich Mahogany says:

      The move doesn’t make sense on that basis because Wells is not worth anything close to what the Yankees will pay for him.

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      • Sleight of Hand Pro says:

        as jeff said, zips projects him at 1 WAR over 3/4 of a season. i dont know if i agree with “not worth anything close to what the yankees will pay him” …. assuming a slight uptick just on BABIP regression and a better home park, i think he’ll wind up being close.

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    • Mike says:

      But it doesn’t matter, under MLB rules, the amount that counts towards the payroll calculations is the average of the money a player is sure to get, in this case, even if the NYY agreed to pay $12.9 MM in 2013 and $0.1 MM for 2014, in 2014 they would be stuck with $6.5 MM in the payroll calculations.

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      • Jason B. says:

        Whaaa? Is that true? That sounds…wrong.

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      • A different Mike says:

        That is actually wrong. Since the Angels are sending cash to offset the contract, that cash is applied by the amount in the year it is sent. So if the Angels send 9 million this year, the Yankees are spending 12 million this year. Then the Angels would send $20 million next year, and the Yankees would be spending $1 million in 2014 for luxury tax purposes.

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      • juan pierres mustache says:

        That’s not true in this case, because the Angels are paying the rest of the contract–it’s not the same as if the Yankees signed him to a $13 million 2 year deal, since it’s a question of which team is paying how much of his salary.

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  4. Angelsjunky says:

    I maintain that Wells could produce a .250/.300/.460, 25 HR line for the Yankees, in a much friendlier hitter’s park. With his average plus defense he could be a 2 WAR player – which isn’t bad for $6.5 million per.

    That said, as an Angels fan I’m very happy about this trade. The most I would have thought Dipoto could get rid of was maybe $4-5 million…$13 million? Well done, Jerry.

    The other benefit is that we get to see more of Kole Calhoun, who remains a bit of a sleeper prospect.

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    • Fabian says:

      Unless one of their outfielders is out for a prolonged period of time, I don’t think he will have enough PAs to get anywhere close to 25 homers. Keep in mind that he bats right-handed and is terrible to the opposite field (2 HRs to right since 2007), thus moving to Yankee Stadium won’t help him as much as it has Granderson or Ichiro.

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      • Jason B. says:

        But, but, but “in their own defense, the Yankees can point to Wells’ history of success in the AL East!” /end quote, end sarcasm/

        That seemed like a glaringly weak line in the article. What success he had against the AL East was years ago and long before his unabated suckitude. Besides there’s no causal link there; there’s nothing about AL East pitching in particular that would be any easier to hit than that in the Central or West.

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        • Spit Ball says:

          I do think the best pitching staff’s in the AL are out West but not by a large enough margin to make this work in any meaningful way. Never mind, I forgot about those 18 or 19 games against the Astros. But still questions abound on AL East pitching staffs. The Blue Jays have arms but I think their are a number of question marks. Boston and Baltimore have bigger questions. Tampa Bay is still excellent.

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        • Ron says:

          I think the line is not to be taken seriously. The next sentence is “All right, fine, that’s true, and Wells also has plenty of experience, being a big-league veteran.” This is grasping at straws to make sense of the move. I think Sullivan is saying these are the best arguments for Wells and most readers can determine that these arguments suck.

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        • Rallyk says:

          AL East pitching is lefty crazy. That would favor Wells’s splits.

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        • Jason B says:

          Good point Ron! I think you’re right on, in looking at the larger context of the comment.

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        • Jonathan says:

          “AL East pitching is lefty crazy. That would favor Wells’s splits.”

          That’s not really true these days. The AL East is no more lefty starter heavy this year than the AL West was last year.

          The Jays have three lefties in their rotation (Assuming Romero manages to keep his spot in the rotation more than a month), but the only other team in the East with a disproportionate amount of lefty starters is the Yankees themselves.

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    • Dave S says:

      Does nobody understand that park factors are involved in the WAR calculation?

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      • commenter #1 says:

        given what just happened with the power ranking series, it’s fair if people are a little iffy on that right now

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      • Nathaniel Dawson says:

        That would totally depend on which inputs you are using in your WAR calculation.

        They’re not specifically included in the WAR framework, so it’s up to the constructor to decide whether they include them or not.

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  5. TKay says:

    Funniest Fangraphs headline in months. Amazing, Jeff.

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    • MikeS says:

      I love the alternative.

      Joe Girardi: “Hey, isn’t that Vernon Wells?”
      Brian Cashman: “Yeah, don’t ask. Bad cell phone connection.”

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    • Radivel says:

      I liked “Miami Marlins find alternative revenue stream – suing fans” more, because it really accurately portrays the Marlins.

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    • Well-Beered Englishman says:

      I agree this reigns supreme, but we mustn’t forget “A Potential Marlins Park Park Factor Factor”.

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  6. J says:

    Word is that Teixeira’s salary is covered by MLB during his DL stint because the injury occurred at the World Baseball Classic. So that’s where a chunk of the extra money for Wells is coming from.

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    • Mike says:

      Yeah, part of that will be paid by MLB… silly Yankees they could have told ARod to act like he was ready to play in the WBC, accept the call and suddenly say “OH OH, I won’t be able to play all year”… or convince Brazil or any other country to nationalize him, and add them to their roster for the WBC.. Oh well, maybe next time.

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  7. Sparkles Peterson says:

    This would have been a brilliant move by the Yankees if they were paying a little less for Wells. His salary counts entirely against them for luxury tax purposes, so every dollar the Angels are paying for his salary is a dollar that the Steinbrenners can pocket with the excuse that they’re staying under the luxury tax threshold. It’s not like it’s going to hurt revenue in the short term.

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    • Fabian says:

      Where did you read that? According to Joel Sherman only the $13 million they are taking on counts towards the luxury tax. I imagine that instead of doing $6.5 million a year they will heavily front load the deal so that they are only on the hook for a couple million next year.

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      • Mike says:

        Nope, payroll calculations take into account the average owed anually, to avoid teams doing exactly what you say. Though there is a loophole, it only takes into account the money a player is sure to get, say the Yankees give Canó a 10 year 500 million contract, with 1 million for the first year and the rest are player options (or team, or mutual options) for the reminder of the amount, MLB will only count that 1 million for payroll purposes, while the other 499 millions won’t be counted in any of those years.

        Word is that the NYY tried to do it with ARod’s contract but MLBPA refused the restructuration.

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      • Sparkles Peterson says:

        Unless they changed it in the new CBA and it flew completely under the radar, that’s the way the luxury tax has always worked.

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    • Persona non grata says:

      The luxury tax calculations are all done at the end of the year. Yes, the Yankees will owe the AAV of the Wells contract each year, technically, but it will be offset each year by the cash sent back from the Angels (this is how the Phillies just stayed under the cap last year, with cash from the Astros). So, depending on the cash sending structure, it could cost the Yankees $12M this year and $1M next year for luxury tax purposes.

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      • Baltar says:

        The commish won’t allow that. Believe it or not, he does do something useful once in a while.

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        • Brian C says:

          If the commish won’t allow that then the likelyhood is the deal won’t get done and it doesn’t sould like from any of the reports already out there that the commish is going to put a stop to this trade. As a Yankee fan I wish he would though.

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  8. Hurtlockertwo says:

    Hey Yankees, Chone Figgens is availible too!!!

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  9. MikeS says:

    What happens if Wells retires after this year? The way I understand it, the way these deals usually work is that the Angels don’t pay Wells directly, they send the Yankees $29M to make up the difference and the Yankees pay Wells. So if he retires, the Yankees could be sitting on a cash windfall since they do not have to pay him. The Angels must have some way to get back the money, no?

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    • Mike says:

      If a player retires, that money is sent back to the Angels and the NYY get nothing, which is different if a player retires during the season.

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    • TKDC says:

      Slightly off topic, but why on God’s green Earth would Wells retire rather than collect $21 million to ride the pine for the Yankees?

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  10. STEALTH says:

    Did Elvis Dumervil’s former agent have anything to do with this deal?

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  11. Jaack says:

    My source with the Yankees tells me they are also trying to acquire Bobby Bonilla if the Met’s are willing to pay his salary until 2020, while the Yankees will pick up the last 15 years of the deal.

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  12. Bookbook says:

    Why Vernon and not Casper?

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  13. Eric says:

    The new market inefficiency: getting another team to take Vernon Wells off your hands.

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  14. Joe says:

    Completely logical reaction and headline. You’re the perfect person to comment on this one; good article.

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  15. Jason B says:

    As a Blue Jays fan, this is another boost to their playoff chances. Subtraction by addition.

    I wonder if AA masterminded this somehow…

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    • Sleight of Hand Pro says:

      i dont see how this helps the jays? sure, wells sucks. but i dont think anyone would argue hes worse than matt diaz or whoever this mesa guy is. theyre throwing money at a marginal upgrade because they have lots of money and they can. if i was a fan of a different al east team, thats exactly what i WOULDNT want the yankees to do.

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      • Jason B says:

        Nah, if anyone is paying good money to bring Vernon Wells in and play him for any meaningful length of time, it works out wonderfully for the Jays! (Not to mention the Rays, O’s, and Bosox.)

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        • Everdiso says:

          Not sure I agree with this. I would’ve preferred the Yankees playing Matt Diaz everyday. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a good trade, but I can’t say it makes their 2013 team worse. Not sure how you can argue otherwise, unless you really like Matt Diaz.

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  16. Steve says:

    If we’re speculating about possible options, I’m guessing the same intangibles that make the M’s hate Casper so much, would make the Yankees refuse him also. I.e. on paper Casper looks fine, so the M’s must be concerned about his composure, professionalism or intangibles… and if Casper Wells can’t handle himself well in Seattle, how would he handle the more intense fans, press and scrutiny of a place like New York?

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  17. Northsider says:

    This trade makes me wonder what the Cubs were demanding in return for Soriano.

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    • KDL says:

      Probably a lot. OF that can throw up 3-4 WAR season aren’t pieces you just throw away. Also, Soriano’s trade value mid-season will be much higher than it is now. If you think the Yankees are desperate now…wait until June if an injury or two turns Wells into an every day player!

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  18. Johnhavok says:

    Well, since the WBC is paying for Texeira’s contract while he’s on the DL, and depending how long he is out that could be 6-8 million, it’s really not costing the Yankees that much to pick up Wells.

    It would still impact the Luxuy Tax of course but in terms of actual dollars the yankees are spending, it could be almost nothing for 2013.

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  19. Urban Smiley says:

    After Granderson leaves at the end of 2013, the 2014 Yankees starting OF will be Gardner, Ichiro, Wells.

    LOL

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    • Sleight of Hand Pro says:

      …..assuming they dont make a move in the next 12 months, sure.

      man i thought i hated the yankees. after reading various commenting sites, its become clear my general disliking of them takes a back seat to the sheer rage they cause to tens of millions of other people nationwide.

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      • Urban Smiley says:

        I don’t think ‘rage’ is really the right word for this specific thread. Too much snark? Sure!

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      • Jason B says:

        Yeah, I don’t think ‘rage’ is it at all (at least around here…or, specifically, from me). Decided snickering at the sheer, unabashed desperation of chasing Derrek Lee, Chipper Jones, and Vernon Wells? You betcha.

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        • Sleight of Hand Pro says:

          as an astros fan, i hate all the northeast teams. i dont hate the yankees any more than say, boston, mets, or phillies, buti dont like them nonetheless. i wanna find hilarity in this trade, but i just dont. theyre giving up a non-prospect so they can throw money at a marginal upgrade. its what i would expect from the yankees.

          they have a place on the win curve that makes every tiny upgrade important. they overpaid to get the tiny upgrade they needed. it just seems like a standard move, so i dont get the snickering. if it was from, say, the rays, it would be a lot worse. to me, pretending that the yankees are hurt financially by this is what deserves the mocking. we all know they can afford a $400M payroll if they wanted to. just my 2 cents.

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        • kiss my GO NATS says:

          If vernon wells had a negative WAR then I would agree with the snickering. But, he does not, so I agree with slight of hand.

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  20. Antonio Bananas says:

    Hilarious. The most “Yankee” offseason in a while. Signing an old declining Youk, asking guys to come out of retirement, trading for Wells. Yankee haters (like me) used to make jokes about the Yankees doing stuff like this, but they typically actually made some sense. Now it’s pretty awful. Embarrassing. The Yankees being this despirate with their resources is like that guy you know who’s dad is the President of a big company, he’s in year 7 of college, all he needs to do is graduate so his dad has an excuse to hire him over someone better, but he’s just too dumb and lazy.

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    • Craig Maduro says:

      Dude, I hate the Yankees too but…. what??? That is a terrible analogy. In fact, I don’t even know what it means. Who is the lazy son in your analogy? If a guy has a rich dad and is enjoying the college life, wouldnt that make him the “opposite” of desperate?

      As a fellow Yankee hater, your post had so much potential. But it fell on its face.

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      • Antonio Bananas says:

        I never said he was enjoying college life. The point is, with all their advantages, there is no excuse for this. The kid in my analogy has a rich dad and a lot of resources but isn’t as successful as he should be because he’s such a colossal screw up. I should have stated that he was in year 7 of college because he can’t pass classes or something. I know a kid exactly like that. He is despirate. Always asking dad for money and internships that he gets fired from because he sucks at life.

        I’ll do better next time, my bad.

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  21. JimL says:

    “After further review, Yankees’ trade for Vernon Wells could help them get under the $189 million threshold next year”

    https://twitter.com/feinsandnydn/status/316218379742621696

    Wells was traded for since he could help Yankees get tax credit in 2014. Rest the trolling until you can prove to be tax credit, too.

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    • TD says:

      Oh good, the owners will save some money. Phew. That’s a good baseball decision, then.

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      • Hank says:

        The owners actually didn’t save money. They spent extra money this year to get a little extra space next year.

        They were going to get under 189mil threshold with or without Wells. Overspending this year bought them an additional 2.5mil of space next year.

        When using snark, it’s best not to make stupid comments.

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        • TD says:

          Read it again. *Will save* money, not did or do save. The entire luxury tax game is about saving them significant money.

          When attempting to correct someone, it’s best not to be wrong both about what you read and what you are saying.

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  22. Baltar says:

    For the Yankees, the Wells pickup would be a no-brainer if it weren’t for the luxury tax consideration. The difference between Wells and whoever would play instead is almost certainly more than 1 WAR per season, roughly equal to the $6.5M or so they will pay him.
    However, the Yankees passed on a lot of players, Russell Martin as one shining example, to get them under the $189M luxury tax floor for 2014, which would save them at least $50M over the next few years. That $6.5M or so for Wells will make it much tougher to get under, and the commish will not allow any hanky-panky to allow the Yankees to evade the spirit of the law.
    They might just give up on the idea or cut 2014 payroll by trading lots of players for no return. Either way, Vernon Wells will have cost them a lot.
    So, I am sorry to see the Yankees strengthened slightly for 2013 but very happy to see that they will suffer for it in 2014 and possibly future years.

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  23. Grebe says:

    As a Yankees fan, I am (outraged/indifferent/numb) to the acquisition of (name of old, finished player) from (the scrap heap/other team’s DL/the Angels). Still I’m hoping he can rebound from (injury/being finished/being injured and finished) at least until (current Yankee player) returns from (the DL/his suspension). Who knows, maybe he can return to the form he showed in (2006/2007/2008). At least he’s looked pretty decent (during the spring/during the WBC/in MLB ’13).

    Oops, I forgot to actually fill out the template. Oh well, whatever.

    +33 Vote -1 Vote +1

  24. Antonio Bananas says:

    I’d like to see a study of which teams generally pay for players to get better or worse. Like a team average of + or – WAR per player year to year. Not like the team had more, but they acquire a guy and he’s -1 WAR. Which teams truly pay players to decline or improve.

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  25. Hank says:

    A few folks commenting on the luxury tax implications have it wrong – what the Yankees pay Wells has nothing to do with the luxury tax. For luxury tax purposes they take on Wells AAV and are then credited for whatever another teams pays in each individual year

    So if it is a 12mil (Yanks)/9mil (Angels) in 2013 and 1mil (Yanks)/20mil (Angels) in 2014:

    2013: 18mil AAV – 9mil Angels subsidy = 9mil luxury tax payroll impact to the Yankees
    2014: 18mil AAV – 20mil Angels subsidy = -2mil impact

    There is nothing explicit in the CBA of the player having a negative luxury tax impact, so it will be interesting to see if Selig steps in. I imagine if he does the trade doesn’t happen.

    The Yankees have a similar asymmetric trade scenario with ARod down the line where they are on the hook for 27.5mil AAV but only 21mil in salary in his final 2 years. If they trade him to another team and pick up 20.5 mil, the new team is on the hook for 7 mil in luxury tax salary (27.5mil AAV -20.5mil) and the Yankees would be on the hook for the subsidy (20.5 mil)instead of the AAV (27.5mil). If they threw in prospect would an acquiring team way under the luxury tax # effectively buy a prospect for 1mil? (and then just waive Arod and pay him the 1mil the owe)

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  26. Jason H says:

    I expect this to be a great move by the Yankees. For the cost, its a bit of a no brainer, really. …and as much as they are maligned on this site, the Yankees are actually pretty smart. …remember what everyone thought of Raul Ibanez, Andruw Jones, Bartolo Colon, etc.?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  27. Ruki Motomiya says:

    At first I hated this, but it could work out okay. If Wells makes 1.5 WAR over two years or so as a spot starter in case of injuries and fourth outfielde,r he’d end up worth about 7.5 mil, while the Yankees can afford a little bit of an overpay.

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  28. Peter 2 says:

    Wells would not get 2 years $13-14 million on the open market. Therefore, the Yankees are overpaying, plain and simple.

    For those who are bullish and claim that if everything falls into place for Wells, then he would be worth $7 million this year, it is simply ridiculous to stop the analysis there and not give any weight to the bear case or even the medium case scenarios.

    Now, markets ultimately express the relative likelihood of the various possible outcomes when they attach a value to a player, and in Wells’s case I’d bet he’d be signed to a one year deal of $1-4 million if he had been a free agent this offseason. Completely irrespective of how he actually performs this year, they’ll therefore have paid about double what they should have for Wells’s services.

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    • Jason H says:

      This ignores the fact that Wells was not on the open market. Don’t you think that if the Yankees could have bought a player with Wells’ bat on the open market for 1-4 million they would have? Who is available right now on the open market? The only reason trades ever happen is because the open market doesn’t actually exist in the sense that a GM can just order up a Vernon Wells equivalent at “market price” whenever he wants. Trades are about what a team is willing to give up to get what they can’t get on the open market. There is no reason to expect a team to pay “market price” in this context.

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    • kiss my GO NATS says:

      You guys forget the massive amount of money the Yankees can spend on players. Being unwilling or unable to trade decent prospects for a good 4th outfielder, they used what they have is spades (money) to get a player that actually fits with the team quite well. Overpaying is easy when your budget is flush! Sure this is an overpay for a typical team, but for the Yankees it is like 1/38th of their player cash outlay for the next two seasons. Not big deal for a 4th OF.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  29. Brian says:

    I kind of like the move, Yanks have many fragile players (Gardner, Hafner, Teixiera?) and a experienced right handed bat with power on the bench is a luxury. Wells will be better than advertised.

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  30. SABRphreak says:

    If Wells does give them a negative luxury tax implication (i.e. a tax credit) in 2014 then this deal is nothing short of genius regardless of $/WAR or any actual on the field value. And Wells actually will be a decent fill in for 8 weeks and then backup OF. Compare him to the average 4th OF in MLB. Overpay by $6-7MM in 2013 to help save $50MM in 2014. No-brainer.

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    • Pft says:

      Genius. Right. Wells will cost them almost 18 million in 2013 if you include the extra luxury tax. For this they get a replacement level Of’er in 2014 for 2.5 million who will have 0 AAV for 2014. They still have to find a way to spend only 80 million to fill 34 spots on the 40 man roster including signing Cano. The odds of staying at or below 189 million AND being competitive is nil.

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  31. jpg says:

    I think the snark is deserved. It shows that the Yankees were reactive rather than being proactive with regards to OF depth. They could have signed Scott Hairston or Jonny Gomes for less money. Those are two guys that are basically better versions of the exact same player the Yankees just traded for. Instead they pinched pennies and opted to sit on their hands. They even showed interest in Hairston earlier this winter, so it’s not like they didn’t know they needed a lefty masher or that they’d have some problems if an outfielder went down. They basically rolled the dice that the lack of outfield depth wouldn’t come back to bite them. It took all of couple of weeks in spring training to see that it was a bad idea.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • mancrush4pauloneill says:

      My comment is presumptive on the Yankees 2014/189 M plan but if the plan is a go then this is a great deal versus signing Hairston and Gomes. The math for Wells salary has been shown by commenters above and the key has to be the 2 M credit they will receive in 2014 as opposed to having to pay Hairston and Gomes 4-5M. I don’t like the plan and find it ridiculous that a organization like the Yankees should even care about the luxury tax but since they do, trading for a player who will somehow MAGICALLY COST THE TEAM NEGATIVE DOLLARS IN REGARDS TO THE LUXURY TAX IN 2014, it’s not that bad. Hold the snark please; keep calm and carry on.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • jpg says:

        Yeah that’s not really true. The Yankees could have signed either Gomes or Hairston for a year at a higher AAV. Gomes got 2/$10MM Hairston got 2/$7MM plus incentives. The Yankees could have offered either of those guys 1/$5-$7MM with zero 2014 luxury tax implications. So the snark goes on like it should.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Hank says:

          The snark occurs when internet GM’s thinking $/WAR is how you judge all deals and that because they read a few baseball websites, they have access to all the necessary information to judge deals and non deals. Reading your comment you seem to have quite a lot of inside information into many different areas

          1) Apparently the 13mil spent was actually available back in December to be spent… you know this how? The recovery of ~7+mil of Teixera salary from the WBC didn’t impact this? Or maybe the owners just approved it as a one time spend given the injuries? You seem to be working under the assumption that Cashman was sitting on the ability to spend 13 mil in the winter and decided not to spend it? (does that sound right to you?)

          2) The Yankees apparently can will FA’s to sign 1 year deals now. Well either that or you are confusing “could have signed” with “could have offered”. And apparently you know that they didn’t make 1 year offers to these guys how again? Reading MLBtraderumors? Your own inside contact into the Yankees front office?

          So you are suggesting that Gomes would have passed on a 2/10 deal to sign a 1/5? Heck he might prefer the guaranteed money and pass on a a 1/7 deal and want the 10mil). Hairston was looking for playing time… sure the Yankees could have forced him to sign against his well, but maybe potential playing time was a significant consideration? (which he publicly stated). But in your internet GM world give a guy the highest AAV contract and the deal gets done. Must be nice.

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  32. Brad says:

    Speaking of JD Drew, why is Oliver projecting him for 466 PAs and Steamer for 100?

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  33. Westside guy says:

    “Peter Bourjos is safer than he’s ever been.”

    Was there some concern Vernon Wells might eat him?

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  34. Givejonadollar says:

    I see no justification for this trade at all. Really bad move by the Yankees. The only way to redeem this, obviously, is for Wells to play well. Seems there are much, much better options out there at two years and 13 million. Just seems insane.

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  35. Tanned Tom says:

    I won’t restate the mechanics of the salary tax ramifications for 2014, but this seems to be a case of 2 teams figuring out how to save themselves some money. Angels save $13.9 mil by dumping Wells, Yanks save $2 mil against the 2014 cap by back loading the cash they get from the Angels. Since getting under $189 mm will be a closely run thing, this $2 mil could prove extremely useful. And c’mon, how good are they expecting Wells to be, just hold the fort for 2 months, then be a 4th OF. Seems a good fit to me.
    As for the general Yankee-hating snark, 17 playoffs in 18 years. Until anyone else does any better you guys can hold your snark, and save it for the bumbling, incompetent teams like the Mets or the Mariners.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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