Bad offseason gets worse for the Angels
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
I was already leaning towards the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim as my biggest losers this offseason. It is now official.
After striking out on Carl Crawford, Cliff Lee, Adrian Beltre and Rafael Soriano this winter, the Angels were so desperate to add a player that they have now taken on perhaps the worst contract in baseball.
I thought I had been the victim of a Twitter trade rumor on Friday when I heard the news that the Angels traded for the Toronto Blue Jays' albatross, Vernon Wells, in exchange for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera. I shortly found out that this was no joke, though.
Barring Isiah Thomas joining someone's front office, there was no way I thought the Blue Jays would be able to unload Wells' contract. The three-time All-Star will make $23 million this year and $21 million in each of the three seasons after that.
Yea, Vernon Wells is owed $86 million over the next four seasons. And Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos got the Angels to take it all.
If you can, forget the money aspect for a second; the Angels also gave up two players in this deal. Two players who by the way will likely make a combined $11 million next season and one in Napoli, who is every bit the power hitter Wells is.
I just don't understand this at all from an Angels' standpoint. But then again, Tony Reagins is the same GM who absorbed Scott Kazmir's contract from the Tampa Bay Rays in 2009. For those keeping score Kazmir is owed $25.5 million over the next two seasons.
On the bright side, though, he did pitch to a 5.94 ERA last season.
Vernon Wells is nowhere near the player he was before he signed that monster seven-year, $126 million extension after the 2006 season.
Again, Wells is a nice player and one of the best all-around guys in any sport. He's nowhere near the player he was before he signed that monster seven-year, $126 million extension after the 2006 season, but still a nice player nonetheless.
Since signing the deal Wells hasn't hit over .300 and his 31 home runs last year were just 20 less than he had in the three previous seasons combined. He got off to a sizzling start last year, but saw his power numbers fade in the second half, as he managed just 12 home runs and 39 RBI after the break.
He did, though, rank in the top 10 in the American League in extra-base hits, home runs, and slugging percentage last season.
Defensively, Wells is nowhere near the player he once was, but he is still above average in the field. He, along with Torii Hunter and rookie Peter Bourjous in center, should comprise the best defensive outfield in the American League next season.
Adding Wells is not the problem. Adding a contract that rivals Barry Zito's as the worst in the history of baseball is.
I might not have had a big of a problem if the Angels gave up nothing, but the fact that they gave up viable players, both of whom will start for Toronto, just doesn't make any sense.
And how does Toronto get this deal done without giving any cash in return? That boggles my mind. They save over $70 million and you have to believe that Anthopoulos will now go to work on a long-term extension for Jose Bautista.
I don't care where the Jays finish next season, Anthopoulos is my early favorite for Executive of the Year.
Reagins wanted to add a bat and a starting pitcher for the Angels this offseason. He got his bat in Wells on Friday. Maybe he can call the New York Mets for that starter.
I hear Oliver Perez is available.