The Yankees and Angels are discussing a deal that would send Vernon Wells to the Bronx for a low-level prospect with the Angels picking up most of the $42 million he’s owed over the next two seasons, according to Jeff Passan, Mark Feinsand, and David Waldstein.
The deal isn’t official yet, but a source told Feinsand that it, “will get done,” possibly as soon as tonight and definitely by tomorrow. Wells has a no trade clause, but has already cleaned out his locker and said his goodbyes. Once the two sides come to an agreement, Wells would still have to pass a physical and MLB would have to approve it because of the amount of money involved.
Wells, 34, did have a nice run from 2003-2006 where he hit .292/.344/.509 and played great defense in center field, but those days are long gone. He hit a pathetic .230/.279/.403 in 262 plate appearances last year. Against lefties he hit .227/.298/.373 and righties .232/.270/.417. So he sucks from either side of the plate. In 2011, Wells hit .284/.320/.531 against lefties so perhaps they’re trying to recapture that.
His last strong season was in 2010 where he hit .273/.331/.515. It is highly unlikely that he could return to that level, but perhaps he can at least be better than he was over the last two seasons with the Angels.
Wells plays all three outfield positions with an overall 1.3 UZR last season. He’s best in left field though where he had a 2.0 UZR last season. He barely played right, but he was poor defensively when he did and he’s bad out there in center field. So if the Yankees keep him in left they should at least be getting decent defense, and if he can even manage a .240/.290/.460 line while doing so he could be a useful piece.
Obviously the biggest thing involved here is the money. If the Yankees are paying close to the major league minimum then it’s worth it to give him a shot as he’s basically just a replacement over Ben Francisco. If the Yankees are even paying as much as $4 million over the next two years it starts getting harder to justify this deal. Any more than that and you wonder why they don’t just use Melky Mesa.
• The Yankees are also said to be “poking around” on infielder Yuniesky Betancourt, who was released by the Phillies today. Betancourt had a -8.2 UZR in 57 games last season. Not a large sample size, but an ugly number still.
• Derek Jeter DH’d in a minor league game. He was not running hard at all and is sitting out again today. Brian Cashman admitted that he’s going to start the season on the DL, but that they’re hopeful to have him back by April 6.