The Blue Jays And Vernon Wells

Vernon Wells will have negative trade value until his contract expires at the end of the 2014 season. Wells' deal is considered one of the worst in the game. After all, the three-time Gold Glover has $98.5MM coming his way even though his defense has deteriorated rapidly and he hasn't topped 20 homers in any season since 2006. 

But Wells underwent successful wrist surgery last offseason, he's a year removed from the hamstring problems that sidelined him last spring and he has four home runs in his first six games. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports said this weekend that Wells would probably waive his no-trade clause. No team would take Wells on if it meant shouldering nearly $100MM, but GM Alex Anthopoulos could potentially find a team that would take on some of Wells' salary – it's a question of how much.

Last winter, the Cubs signed Marlon Byrd to a three-year $15MM deal after a career year in which he hit .283/.329/.479 with 20 homers. Byrd is 32, a year older than Wells, but there was still enough interest for him to sign a multi-year deal. 

But this doesn't mean Wells could find a $15MM offer on the open market; in fact, it's hard to imagine any club offering more than a few million. Wells has just a .317 on base percentage since signing his long-term deal and his defense has cost the Blue Jays in recent years, according to UZR (Byrd's defense has been closer to average).

Toronto's supporters can still hope, though. If Wells hits well this year and has healthy enough legs underneath him to impress scouts and turn around his defensive numbers, teams may be willing to trade for Wells and pick up some of the money he's owed. Jerry Hairston Jr.Mark Kotsay and Rick Ankiel lead the next crop of free agent center fielders, so teams aren't about to find elite solutions on the open market. The Blue Jays will not be able to trade Wells without paying the vast majority of his contract, but they can dream about a deal that allows them to shed $10-20MM. 

46 Responses to The Blue Jays And Vernon Wells Leave a Reply

  1. BIGPELF 5 years ago

    mets can take it
    wells-mathews trade

    • shockey12 5 years ago

      All of it?

    • BentoBox 5 years ago

      Are you serious ?
      Wells owe a ton of money while the Angels are paying for Matthew’s salary.
      Although, AA will be a genius if he can pull that off.

    • I’m not even sure that the Jays could manage to pull this off through the commissioner’s office. Due to the Jays needing to eat about 40-50 million dollars of Wells’ salary that would be an unprecedented trade. In fact, for that reason alone I have trouble imagining the Jays being able to dump Wells. I mean, imagine the trade. Wells + 70 million for a bag of balls.

      • Will_Clarks_Gauchos 5 years ago

        I’m not sure why the Jays would want to trade him if his play improves. One way or another they’re going to be on the hook for a lot of money. Even if they trade him and eat salary, they’ll have a player and expense coming back.

  2. frasco25, why would the Mets want to take on any of Vernon Wells’ salary? Gary Matthews Jr. is not very good, but Wells doesn’t seem like much of an improvement.

    • BIGPELF 5 years ago

      i dont know minaya its stupid enough to make a trade for him

  3. I’d throw in Lind or Hill if someone will please please take Wells.

  4. bigpat 5 years ago

    I don’t think they can trade him just yet, that will be a sunk cost for SO many years. They don’t have anyone else who can play center, so they should try and get whatever they can out him for at least two more years, because it would be awful to pay a guy 15M a year for multiple years when he’s on another team. He looks good now but he will never live up to half of that contract.

    • jdub220 5 years ago

      I don’t think that the Jays having no center fielders would stop them from making a deal.

      I’m sure they’d put a dead body out in center if it meant getting rid of Wells. The dead body might put up similar production, too…

  5. There is no point in attempting to move this albatross contract until we are in contention and Vernon Wells is blocking some up and coming centerfielder (which we don’t currently have). Why would we move him now and eat 70M dollars so we can watch a waiver wire pickup bat behind Adam Lind. Vernon Wells is no silver slugger but he gives Lind SOME protection. He may be 1/4 of our payroll but until guys like Marcum, Romero, Snider, and Rzepczynski hit arbitration and start making big money, his contract isn’t as big of a hinderance as people may believe. Our front office has shown it will not be handcuffed by the contract by their interest and bidding in both Chapman and Hechavarria this offseason.

  6. TytheSportsGuy 5 years ago

    Rangers need him…He’s from Arlington and plays well there.

    • bucs_lose_again 5 years ago

      Funny stuff here.

    • bluejaysstatsgeek 5 years ago

      Actually, Wells is below is career average numbers in Arlington, even including his wonderful performance last week.

  7. The Blue Jays lost their most likely trade partner when Jim Hendry signed Marlon Byrd. Hendry seems to go after anyone Tim Wilken drafted. As a Cubs fan, I’d rather have Byrd and his shorter contract than Wells. Then again, maybe Soriano gets hurt this season and Hendry will trade for Wells. That’s the kind of moves Hendry makes with money, completely idiotic.

  8. jeffdg 5 years ago

    Zito AND Rowand for Wells. Giants would save about $20mm as of today.

  9. j6takish 5 years ago

    This deal, truly is mind boggling. Even if Wells consistently put up his 2006 numbers, he would still would be lucky to be worth half of his salary. The Jays are certainly at a geographic disadvantage, but Tampa Bay has proven that the right team can compete in the AL East with a low payroll. I’d really like to see what AA could accomplish if he had an extra 20mm a year to spend instead of paying Wells, and even though Alex didn’t sign this deal…its going to make his team look bad for the next four years

    • Steelslayer 5 years ago

      The Rays proved that by finishing in the basement consistently, and therefore getting alot of high draft picks, you will compete eventually. The question will be: How long will they be able to hold onto high value players that will cost alot of money when they are eligible. The AL east is still a joke for any team that doesn’t have New York or Boston on their jerseys

  10. Pavilionbum 5 years ago

    Jays would need to pick up about $80-90 million, and would still get very, very little in return…….but it would still be worth it.

  11. jeffdg 5 years ago

    Wells for Zito and Rowand. Giants save $20mm and get a bat they could use.

  12. Yankees10 5 years ago

    I like Vernon I hope his hot start to the season continues.

  13. crashcameron 5 years ago

    • Not that VW’s contract is anything less than second-worst, but he-and-it are better than an NL club being stuck with Soriano’s
    • Not that a quick start erases everything but his bat speed has looked night and day so far
    • i like stats, (though i can’t stand the Stats Nazis and their SS-adjusted attitudes) but UZR is among the worst. when i read these posts i realize it hits me how little the Blue Jays are shown south of the border … all these comments about his defence are f—king clueless. he’s not not elite anymore, but he can still roam.

  14. Bravoboy10 5 years ago

    You have to remember the economic climate was much different in the league when he signed this deal and it wasn’t like this was a fluke year in 2006. At the time he was a 27 year old All Star, Gold Glove caliber center fielder who was capable of hitting over .300 with 30/20 type power and speed who looked like he could be the stability of an offense for the next 7 years. It averages out to $18 a year. The following off season Torii Hunter signed a deal worth $14 million annually and he was not coming off as good a season as Wells. IN hindsight this deal is awful, but at the time the Jays were locking up there franchise player to go along with Halladay. Now as for what to do with him, if the guy is going to produce why not just let him produce for you? I don’t understand why you would want to pay him nearly $20 million to play for someone else just to save yourself $4 million. Ride it out the next 4 years and in the 2013 off-season rejoice Jays fans.

    • This!

      It drives me nuts when people rip on the Wells contract without considering the time period. This contract was signed to lock up an All-Star player int he PRIME of his career at a time when contracts were at their absolute highest in baseball. Who could have predicted Wells would get fat, lose his legs, get hurt, lose his bat AND also see that the market for players would radically change. Hindsight is 20/20 folks.

    • AmericanMovieFan 5 years ago

      Hunter’s deal averages $18MM per year. 5/90.

  15. peter_is_happy 5 years ago

    dodgers could use this guy… trade manny for wells and we’re good. hands down

    • damnitsderek 5 years ago

      Given the financial flux the Dodgers are in right now, I think they’d be the last team willing to take on Wells’ contract.

    • Guest 5 years ago


  16. I think that if it ever got the point where VW stopped sucking enough to garner interest from anybody to be willing to accept a trade for him, it would be to the point where he would be producing enough to make it nonsensical to trade him away anyway. By that, I mean that nobody would ever take on that contract without having him put up numbers somewhere in the Utley-range (offensively) and therefore, don’t trade him– he’s putting up Utley numbers.

    • alxn 5 years ago

      I imagine a contending team with a higher payroll would have much more use for a productive Wells than a rebuilding team with a tighter payroll like the Jays. They don’t really have anything to gain from Wells returning to form other than being able to dump the contract.

  17. Shoeless_Joe 5 years ago

    I think the Jays will have to wait this one out for at least the next three seasons. Its not like the Jays system has any stud CF waiting to take over, as their best CF prospects are only A ball. I could see them eating the final year of the deal as sunk cost, but before then you have to wait it out and see if he can regain some value and try to be an at least average player.

  18. JP 5 years ago

    I don’t think this deal is really hurting the Jays this year, or probably next (AA has recently said as much). With all the young players, payroll should be low regardless for a while, and I don’t think a company like Rogers that makes billions a year will be sweating a 60 million dollar payroll.

    If the Jays get good in the 2012 – 2014 time frame though this may sting.

    Wells is only 31 and was clearly unhealthy last season. He looks great so far, so maybe someone might have interest later in the year. (Although I’m not sure it’d be worth it for the Jays to deal Wells if they’re only going to save 10 or 20 mil out of 100).

  19. damnitsderek 5 years ago

    Too bad he never played for the Braves, or Dayton Moore would trade what’s left of the farm for him.

  20. blurnandez 5 years ago

    I find it funny that Rosenthal and other writers are again bringing up the idea of a Wells trade. Here in Toronto, it’s essentially a non-issue at this point.

    The organization and fans have pretty much accepted that Vernon is untradeable (right now at least), and are willing to give him shot/live with him for the foreseeable future. It’s not like his contract is completely choking this franchise or anything…they’re 2010 payroll is only $62.5M, and they were willing to pay BJ Ryan and Doc a combined $16M this year to not even play for the team.

    Why the issue is brought up again after Wells has one hot week, perplexes me.

  21. bomberj11 5 years ago

    Ok, if any team trades for Wells they will be disappointed. He’s had a hot start. So has Alex Gonzalez. It’s far too early to tell if Wells can return to what he used to be.

  22. AmericanMovieFan 5 years ago

    At the time Wells deserved to get paid, just not that much. They paid him like a national star when really he was just the best Toronto had. Personally I never feared him when my team played Toronto and I never dreamed of my team signing him. Depending on how you look at it the Jays either overpaid him so that he’d stay or underpaid him because he gave them a hometown discount. Either way, at the time, the deal looked bad. I mean, good for Wells. He cashed in big time. The deal was bad for the simple reason that he’s a 30 HR hitter who got paid like a 40 HR hitter. I personally would’ve never given him more than $15MM per, but oh well.

    Live and learn. Sometimes these deals look great (Jeter, A-Rod, Manny, Miggy and Pujols) but mostly they burn the teams (Hampton, Soriano, Zito, Lee, Griffey, etc.)

  23. Cubman12 5 years ago

    What about Wells for Soriano? Both have roughly the same money coming, and perhaps a change of scenery for both would do them well…

  24. RichMahogany 5 years ago

    The Jays should move Wells even if it means having to eat 80% of the contract. In fact the FO should jump for joy if they can finagle such a deal.

    Wells is a perfect storm for the Jays. A rebuilding team that has no chance of making the playoffs during the next few years owes nearly $100M through 2014 to a 31-YO player with no real offensive or defensive value.

    The best thing that can possibly happen to the Jays is that Wells stays hot and they can convince another team to take him. Even if Wells manages to prolong his hot start, he’s a terrible bet to remain a good player over the next four years. He will not help the Jays accomplish anything over the short term or the long term. The damage was done when the Jays signed the contract; the best they can do now is cut their losses by selling on Wells as high as they can.

    • LOL @ eating 80$ million dollars. I’d rather just watch Wells suck and pay him the full 100$.

  25. ellisburks 5 years ago

    I must confess that when I heard about this deal I hated it from the start. And I told my fellow Torontonians the same thing. He was getting paid like a superstar when he was only a very good player. And now it just looks even worse as his skills have diminished. Even taking into account that at that time everyone was signing big deals, this was a bad move. JP was pretty much told by the front office to sign him and make him the face of the franchise and as JP was on shaky ground at the time he didn’t say no. Also, Rogers was flush with money at the time as the Canadian dollar was at par with the American so they weren’t losing as much money in the exchange for players salaries so they figured they should spread the money around. They said finally we can compete with the big boys in the salary department! This resulted in an abundance of poor contracts at the time (BJ Ryan, AJ Burnett, Troy Glaus etc) some of which they are still paying off.

    In conclusion it was a bad signing for the worst reasons and will hurt the Jays for a while.

  26. The Jays and Rogers signed the contract too, which means the money is budgeted for. Have you seen the MLBTR report about how much the Jays are paying their front 5 starters? 4 million total. That’s it. Rogers is a massive company. One of there execs likened the Jays operational losses as similar to a ’rounding error’. I wouldn’t sweat what they are paying him. Rogers aren’t. In a year or two, he’ll shift to left. After that, he’ll fade away.

    • crashcameron 5 years ago

      like the great Canadian baseball fan Neil Young said:
      “better to burn out in centrefield, than move to left and fade away.”

  27. sort of a crazy trade… but what about

    CHC cubs get: Vernon Wells
    SF Giants get: Alfonso Soriano
    TOR gets: Barry Zito

    Wells could be the centerfielder hendry never had, and the giants would get that big bat they were looking for. The Jays would get a good innings eater to save the arms of some of their young, talented guys.

    P.S. I realize this is insane, and Zito may actually be worth more than soriano and wells, but when you have Jim Hendry and Brian Sabean…. anythings possible

  28. blurnandez 5 years ago

    I’d like to state again, Wells will not be traded. And the Jays are not going to eat his contract. End of story.
    The ridiculous fantasy contract swap ideas need to end. 😛

    • iamgreatto 5 years ago

      any trade for wells wont be pretty, it will involve bad contracts and lots of cash.
      for example Wells + cash(50 million) for aaron rowand.

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