The Toronto Blue Jays have sent Vernon Wells and the remnants of his enormous, gigantic, staggeringly huge contract ($86 million over the next four years) to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in exchange for Mike Napoli (first year of arbitration) and Juan Rivera ($5.25 million for one year remaining), as reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
Before we start a parade down friggin’ Yonge Street, let’s wait to see just how much of Wells’ salary the Blue Jays will be picking up. One has to wonder if this move doesn’t free up enough money to sign Jose Bautista to a multi-year contract.
Rosenthal originally wrote that V-Dub, despite losing several steps in the outfield over the last few years, will play center field for the Angels, but has since taken that out of his story on the deal. The drastically overpaid Wells is coming off his best offensive season since 2006, swatting 32 home runs and putting up an OPS of .847.
Mike Napoli fits in well with the Jays, who could use coverage at catcher, first base and designated hitter, three positions that the former Angel has played throughout his time in the big leagues. He was preparing to go to arbitration with the Angels, after filing for $6.1 million with the Angels offering $5.3 million.
Juan Rivera spent most of his time in left field for the Angels last season, putting up a horrendous .312 OBP. One thing that Rivera adds is an ability to hit left handed pitching, something sorely missing from the Jays lineup last season. It’s doubtful that his addition is anything more than taking on the Angels unwanted contract for a year, but given the lack of options now in the Jays outfield, it could be far worse. If you want to get all picky and choosey with numbers you could also point to the fact that over past two seasons, Juan Rivera has a .771 OPS, 105 OPS+, while Vernon Wells has a .777, 105 OPS+.
Alex Anthopoulos is probably very busy right now writing thank you cards to Carl Crawford for signing with the Boston Red Sox and Adrian Beltre for signing with the Texas Rangers and Angels fans for putting so much pressure on Tony Reagins to make a move this offseason.
Update: Shi Davidi tweets that the Jays may not be giving up any cash at all in the deal.
If Davidi is right, Jays get a maximum of $11.35 million in guaranteed contracts, Angels get $86 million.
Update: It’s official. The Blue Jays trade Vernon Wells to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera.
It’s time for a parade down friggin’ Yonge Street.