Already, speculation is starting that Blue Jays’ center fielder Vernon Wells could be the next player to command $20MM annually. Wells turns 28 later this month and will be a free agent after the 2007 season.
Wells’s offensive production this year ranked third in baseball for his position, behind only Grady Sizemore and Carlos Beltran. Bill James’s panel of fielding experts ranked his glovework 8th among CFs. J.P. Ricciardi seems willing to let Wells play out the string in his walk year rather than try to cash in. The bidding war a year from now could involve the Rangers, Red Sox, White Sox, Phillies, Astros, and Cubs.
For 2007, baseball has three players set to earn $20MM or more: Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, and Jason Giambi.
With that, let the Winter Meetings begin! No more puff pieces about Zito or the number 51.1111 or the 2000 meetings in Dallas…it’s time for action.