Your friend and mine Travis Reitsma passes on an Alden Gonzalez story regarding highly paid non-starting Angels outfielder Vernon Wells. The handsomely paid fourifth outfielder will walk away from the game when his current contract expires at the end of the 2014 season.
Though Wells will only be 35 at the end of next season, he will walk away from the game to spend time with his two young sons.
Easy as the jokes about Wells status bordering on “employable” as a 35-year old, it is admirable that he has a clear plan for the remainder of his playing career. Like many players, Wells is very active in the community in his off-season home in Texas.
“It’s definitely something we’re interested in doing once we’re both done playing,” Wells said. “It’s fun, man. Instead of playing fantasy GM, you’re actually putting together your own team and learning what it takes to pretty much make money in an organization, especially in the Minor Leagues. Because sometimes you’re only going to get 500, 600 people in a game, but you have to figure out ways to get fans in the stands. That’s part of the business.”
Like many players, Vernon Wells is better known for his lucrative contract than his exploits on the field. Vernon Wells was faulted for what he wasn’t as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, when he really was an above-average to very good center fielder in Major League Baseball.
He didn’t walk enough and he started getting hurt too much but a 109 wRC+ with 175 home runs through his peak years is still quite good. Not worth the money he ended up getting but still an achievement in itself. Two monster seasons in 2003 and 2006 wherein he hit more than 30 homers and posted .380 wOBAs.
If anything, Wells deserves some credit for knowing when it is time to walk away. No desperate non-roster invitations, just quietly leaving the game which earned him more than $150 million over his career. Not a little nest egg, Vernon. Congratulations on a solid career.