Yankees official on Vernon Wells trade: Where was this money in December?


When I woke up this morning I felt like the Vernon Wells trade was just a (bad) dream. Unfortunately when I opened Google Reader the stark reality hit me. Vernon Wells is a Yankee and somehow, despite claiming they were poor all offseason, they are paying $13 million over two years for him, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.

The deal was so asinine that one Yankees official pondered, “I just wonder where this money was in December.”

That’s the thing that makes this trade so bad. We’d heard all offseason how the Yankees have no money. They couldn’t afford Russell Martin despite the fact that they had no replacement for him and there was none on the market either. They couldn’t afford Torii Hunter despite the fact that he would be a cheaper solution to replace Nick Swisher (and of course they couldn’t afford Swisher).

They couldn’t even afford some smaller, one year deals like Eric Chavez or Nate Schierholtz. They couldn’t afford a relatively cheap impact bat like Justin Upton either.

They could afford none of that, but now they somehow found $13 million to waste on Wells who probably isn’t better than Brennan Boesch, Ben Francisco, Melky Mesa, or even Zoilo Almonte.

The Yankees are justifying this deal by claiming that the WBC is responsible for at least $7-$8 million (or more if he doesn’t play this season) of Mark Teixeira‘s salary since he was hurt working out with Team USA. They also have pointed to the fact that by paying all of the $13 million Wells is owed in 2013 none of the remaining $29 million will count against the 2014 luxury tax.

However, spending that Teixeira money on Wells is like finding $20 on the ground and then buying $20 worth of spoiled milk. The fact that his money doesn’t count against next year’s cap is hardly comforting given some of the one-year deals they could have made earlier this offseason, but passed on.

The bottom line is that this is a bad deal and it looks like a panic move made by an amateur front office. At this point I find it hard to believe that Brian Cashman was behind this deal. It seems like a trade just for the sake of making a trade which is something Cashman has repeatedly warned against. However, if it is his doing it could go down as one of the worst moves he’s made as GM of the Yankees.

Curtis Granderson will be back by mid-May, but the Yankees will still have spent money that could have been much better allocated. Heck, it didn’t even need to be allocated at all as they could have hung on to it until the trade deadline and just used Boesch or Mesa in April.

No. This trade wasn’t just a bad dream. It’s more like a sign that the Yankees are in full blown panic mode with no plan to right the team.

About Rob Abruzzese

Rob Abruzzese created Bronx Baseball Daily in 2008 just before graduating from Brooklyn College. He currently serves BBD as its editor and works as a reporter at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobAbruzzese.

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18 Responses to Yankees official on Vernon Wells trade: Where was this money in December?

  1. jfs says:

    honestly, what is this deal? the guy can't hit, he can't walk, (even if he could get on base he can't run) and he can't field. even looking at his splits hes a bad platoon hitter.

    why pay so much for someone you know is bad when you can have cheap kids with more energy in the minors?

  2. guest says:

    Wow, I don't know where to start. Chavez went to play for his home team, closer to family. Upton would have cost a ton in terms of our prospects. Martin is getting paid 8.5 million his second year for the pirates. Many have stated that he was not worth than much but about half that amount. Swisher got 5 years, way too many years. Hunter got 26 million for 2 years at age 37. Brennan Boesch, Ben Francisco, Melky Mesa, and Zoilo Almonte can't hit a lick. I wish that Schierholtz would have a good sign even thought he had a worse SLG than Wells last year. I also think that tex, granderson were still healthy in December and Jeter said he was feeling great until last week. A-Rod was the only hurt player we had and the yankees got Youk to replace his bat and glove at third. S..t happens and you have to adjust.

    • Fred says:

      Wells can't hit either though. And he's making 13 million dollars.

      I'd MUCH rather spend that money on Martin or Hunter or Chavez or hell even 100 year old Ibanez

  3. There were other reasons the Yankees used to justify not getting involved with other players, but the bottom line, every time, was the money. Yes, Chavez wanted to be closer to home, but we'll never know if he would have comeback because the Yankees never made him an offer — because of money. You might not think that Martin is worth $8.5 million, but Cashman loved him and the biggest reason he didn't bring him back was money. Justin Upton would have cost a lot in prospects, but Brian Cashman said that he couldn't even get involved with talks because of the money.

    Practically every move or non-move this offseason was dictated because of money. Now they have money to spend because the WBC is picking up part of Teixeira's money and because of injuries they do have holes to fill. However, spending money on Wells is like spending money on spoiled milk. You say Boesch, Francisco, Mesa, Almonte can't hit, well neither can Wells. He's hit just .230/.279/.403 over the last two years. If it weren't for his crazy contract he might be out of the league (or at least in Seattle).

    • mikefoxtrot says:

      Rob, you crying over that "spoiled milk" comment yet?

      • I think I'll wait a little longer than 8 games. Funny, I can't find your old comment that praised the trade.

        • mikefoxtrot says:

          you won't find any such comment. i was skeptical and not happy with two years of Wells until I found out that his salary next year isn't more than minimally charged to the Yankees.

          however, even after eight games, it's clear that he ain't spoiled and if he stays healthy is going to hit for power and defend well.

        • mikefoxtrot says:

          Well, Rob? It's little longer than 8 games. After 21, he's still playing quite well in the field and hitting damn well.

          Wanna change your tune a bit?

  4. olie says:

    It might be time for Kevin Long to start to earn his paycheck. He seems to get off scott free all the time.

  5. dc yank says:

    This is an early April Fool's joke, isn't it?

  6. John says:

    The WBC is paying Teixeras salary so the yankees are saving that portion.
    This isnt so bad when you add that factor

    • John says:

      That said I think Cashman and the ownership has done awful.
      If they want to lower payroll. Lower ticket prices.

  7. craigbhill says:

    The Yanks gave themselves a deadline, if they saw no great outfield play emerge by the Sunday of the final week, they'd go shopping for the best that was available at the lowest price.

    Will the real team representing Tampa Bay please take off the pinstripes?

  8. Michael R. says:

    Wouldn't you just hate to be a prospect in the Yankee organization??? Relegated to a career in the minors.

  9. Joba, Nova, Phelps, D-Rob, Cervelli, Cano, Nunez, Gardner, and Hughes wouldn't complete agree. Although Melky Mesa would be nodding in agreement.

  10. Tanned Tom says:

    The only reason for this trade to make sense is if you believe Wells is healthy. The last 2 years he's stunk, but he's also had wrist and shoulder injuries. When he was healthy last (2010) his numbers were beyond what you could reasonably expect of Mesa or Almonte. So what it comes down to is a gamble that Wells can stay healthy for 2013. His ST numbers have been very good, but still…

  11. Michael R. says:

    Rob, that's a span of about 8 years isn't it? To me that's not a plethora of minor league players who have received a legitimate shot, but I guess we'd have to compare it to the other top clubs to have an accurate picture.

  12. I guess my point is that it's a little bit of both. It' s not like there is zero chance, but the Yankees do expect young players to make an immediate impact which is hard to do. It's not impossible though. 9 in 8 years is not much of an opportunity though. I doubt David Adams is in a rush to re-sign with the Yankees.

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