Jays, Angels Swap Vernon Wells For Napoli, Rivera

So much for the Angels' quiet offseason.  The Angels and Blue Jays have announced a blockbuster trade that sends center fielder Vernon Wells to Los Angeles in exchange for catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli and outfielder Juan Rivera.  Wells waived his no-trade clause to make the deal happen.

Wells, 32, hit .273/.331/.515 with 31 homers for Toronto in 2010, rebounding from an injury-plagued and disappointing stretch from 2007-09 when he managed just a .743 OPS.  The number most associated with Wells, however, is his contract.  The center fielder signed a seven-year, $126MM extension with Toronto in 2006 that runs through 2014.  Wells is slated to earn $23MM next season and $21MM in each of the following three years, though he has the option of opting out of his deal after 2011.

The Halos took a lot of local and national criticism for failing to sign Carl Crawford, Adrian Beltre and other major targets this winter, especially since owner Arte Moreno said he was prepared to spend to get his team back into contention in the AL West.  Acquiring Wells will quiet some of those critics, but now the Angels are paying Wells a higher average annual value ($21.5MM) over the next four years than Texas is paying Beltre ($16MM) over five years or Boston is paying Crawford (roughly $20.28MM) over seven years.

Wells presumably takes over in center field for L.A. now that Torii Hunter has been shifted to right, though Hunter (-6.2 UZR/150) was a bit better than Wells (-7.0 UZR/150) in center last season.  Wells' defense did improve last year, however, and the former three-time Gold Glover could approach his old form playing on natural grass at Angel Stadium.  The Angels could also explore putting Wells in left and give Peter Bourjos for the bulk of playing time in center. 

The Angels dealt from a position of strength; along with Napoli, the Halos have backstops Jeff MathisHank Conger and Bobby Wilson on their 40-man roster.

Getting Wells' $86MM salary off the books (especially without sending L.A. any money in return) is a major achievement for Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos, given that the contract was considered perhaps the most untradeable in all of baseball.  The Jays also succeeded in keeping Napoli away from a division rival; the Rays appeared to be targeting the catcher/first baseman earlier this evening.

Napoli hit 26 home runs last year, reaching the 20-homer plateau for the third consecutive season. He hit .238/.316/.468 overall, with a career-high 137 strikeouts. The right-handed hitter has a .931 OPS against southpaws in his career, so he is a potential complement to the lefty-hitting Adam Lind at first base.  The Jays could combine Napoli with Lind and Edwin Encarnacion at first, or with Jose Molina and J.P. Arencibia behind the plate.  Would-be base stealers were successful 73% of the time they tried stealing off of Napoli in 2010; they've been successful 76% of the time in his career.

Napoli, 29, is arbitration eligible this year and eligible for free agency after 2012. He asked for $6.1MM in 2011 and the Angels countered with a $5.3MM offer, as MLBTR's Arb Tracker shows.  MLBTR's Tim Dierkes used Napoli as an example of the arbitration process in this October post, predicting his agent could ask for $6-7MM.

Rivera, 32, is set to earn $5.25MM next season, the last year of a three-year, $12.75MM pact he signed with the Halos following the 2008 campaign.  The veteran outfielder has a .272/.323/.448 line over the last two seasons, and has a career .832 OPS against left-handed pitching (though that OPS against lefties dropped to .746 last year).  Rivera could play right field and allow Jose Bautista to move to third base.  Rivera is also a candidate for DH time in Toronto, and could spell Travis Snider against southpaws.

Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports were the first to report on a Napoli-to-Toronto move this afternoon, and then added the news of Wells' involvement, plus details about the outfielder's physical and waiving of his no-trade clause.  Mike Wilner of Sportsnet Radio The FAN 590 confirmed the Wells-for-Rivera/Napoli trade package in an e-mail to MLBTR and Shi Davidi of the Canadian Press tweeted the news that no money was being exchanged in the deal.

MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post


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705 Comments on "Jays, Angels Swap Vernon Wells For Napoli, Rivera"


firstavenger
4 years 7 months ago

for who????

iains
4 years 7 months ago

Bad news for JPA

Infield Fly
4 years 7 months ago

That’s the end of Wells and that albatross contract of his. Don’t know about you but I’m about ready to dance for joy!

JKGocha
4 years 7 months ago

I like the trade but we did lose a 30 hr hitter. But i just hope they can find someone good with all this money they should be saying with wells out. Afterall he is an allstar. Its not my money they are spending so i really didnt mind seeing Wells in a toronto uniform. As lets say this year if we had that money to spend, i am sure we wouldnt have got anyone from the FA market. Referring to either Cliff Lee or Adam Dunn.

4 years 7 months ago

Mikey Nap is a 30 HR hitter, too (if you extrapolate his ABs over a normal 550-600 AB season)…remember, he would get days off for Jeff Mathis.

4 years 7 months ago

If you’re a Jays fan, I can’t believe you can see ANY downside of this deal.

4 years 7 months ago

i actually liked wells, probably one of the few jays fans that do. those 2 down season were due to injury. also i agree that he isn’t worth the contract he was given but it has been done and nothing can be done, also there is no salary cap in the MLB and why are we trying to save the jays money when the people that own them are rogers “crappy tv/internet” communications. AA clearly stated rogers will give him the green light on more spending if he requires it..
still a crazy good deal salary dump wise.GL wells.

canadianball
4 years 7 months ago

I’m with you. Vernon will be missed. Always gave 100% percent and a real class act on and off the field it seems. Used that big contract to set his family for life and do charity work in Toronto and his home state of Texas… not party in Yorkville

Thanks for all your years of service Vernon! Good luck!

mp87
4 years 7 months ago

and not many all time jays you would rank ahead of him for his overall ability…its just too bad the cast wasnt able to get him to the playoffs so he couldve been more remembered

4 years 7 months ago

so what you want them to do is go with the Yankees approach and just throw money at the problem? keep in mind from 2000 yankees have only won ONE championship so….obviously buying a championship doesnt work….the plan is to draft well develop prospects and THEN put some money into a key FA when our team is established…why waste team money now?

4 years 7 months ago

Wow, didn’t see this coming.

4 years 7 months ago

Me neither, it was the funniest thing that happened all day. I bet the people in Toronto are going to be partying all night.

Guest
4 years 7 months ago

Come on 1988 is over Mike.

TdotsFinest
4 years 7 months ago

this is odd

strikethree
4 years 7 months ago

“The Jays might not be sending any money to Los Angeles in the trade”

If this is true, then this might be the worst move of the offseason…

Well, it was already a terrible move but that would just be icing on the cake.

renegade24
4 years 7 months ago

Poor JP Arencibia.

4 years 7 months ago

don’t feel bad for JPA, he will catch a lot of the games behind the plate, while Napoli and Lind will platoon at 1B/DH and Lawrie / Encarnacion will play 3B.

4 years 7 months ago

Encarnacion isn’t playing 3B Anthopolis made that abundantly clear when he signed him. Plus if the Jays got Rivera too he’ll be starting in Right and Bautista will be our 3B.

4 years 7 months ago

Rivera will not be staying with the Jays. He is not a AA type player and a cancer – look for him to be dealt quickly.

mp87
4 years 7 months ago

agreed…perhaps opens up a spot for a signing of Pods? i can only dream…

4 years 7 months ago

ya, can’t see the new manager not allow us to use our rookies for full seasons. i mean how else are we going to develop players. look for snider to have a monster season to fill wells position.

4 years 7 months ago

THRILLED!

I think Napoli becomes the DH, with Arencibia still the starting catcher, and Lind still the starting first baseman. Napoli will probably play catcher and first-base a game or so each per week, at which point Encarnacion gets the DH job. Really, I think it’s only Jose Molina who suffers.

Karkat
4 years 7 months ago

I wonder if they’d be more likely to have Lind be the everyday DH with Napoli at first. Among other things, this would allow Napoli to slide over to C and have Encarnation slip in at first if something happens to Arencibia during a game.

Devon Henry
4 years 7 months ago

If mike napoli is playing anything but DH something has gone terribly wrong!

Karkat
4 years 7 months ago

Why, exactly? Napoli is more experienced at first, and he’s probably a better defender than Adam Lind is.

mp87
4 years 7 months ago

and throws out a decent 28% of baserunners i believe

guydavis
4 years 7 months ago

From 1B? That’s awesome!

jaysfan702
4 years 7 months ago

DH and 1st base maybe even 3rd???

Redsox1324
4 years 7 months ago

If mike Napoli is playing 3rd something has gone terribly wrong for the Jays.

4 years 7 months ago

Do you even follow baseball?

SmackSaw
4 years 7 months ago

Napoli at 3rd…LOL!

4 years 7 months ago

Poor Rays fans haha. False hope, thy name is Napoli.

kdawg89
4 years 7 months ago

I know..Poor Rays with all those first round draft choices and that great starting staff and all those A+ prospects and the best minor league system and shrewdest front office, and the fact despite a $30 million payroll, we’ll still be as competitive as the Jays…. how jealous we are of not acquiring Mike Napoli..If only we had a very bright future for probably the next decade instead of trying to out spend the Yankees and Sox…woe is me…

4 years 7 months ago

Relax psycho.

4 years 7 months ago

best minor league system?….get serious…you’re the only person in the world that believes that

kdawg89
4 years 7 months ago

Are you serious???….do you even know what baseball is or is someone prompting you with responses that make absolutely no sense?? ANYONE with any knowledge knows the Rays and Royals have the best farm systems in the majors right now BY FAR. Seriously..thanks, I needed a good laugh.

Bucknife
4 years 7 months ago

The Royals have the best farm system in baseball right now, in my opinion. The Rays are up there, as well.

rzepczynski
4 years 7 months ago

actually its just the royals tampa and the jays both have a top 5 system tho

kdawg89
4 years 7 months ago

That was before the trade with the Cubs (for the Rays) Jays are rated 7th -9th by most

Slopeboy
4 years 7 months ago

That should make you thrilled when you win the International and Eastern league crowns in the upcoming years.

kdawg89
4 years 7 months ago

Oh it will..and then when they come up and we win the A.L. East AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN because we actually have a farm system….Boy,,It’s nice to see all the haters on here..all I have to do is make a valid point and watch everyone freak out and sink themselves to calling names and act like children..thank for the attention guys.

HoosiersRebirth2012
4 years 7 months ago

you guys draft well but dont make facts up, you dont have the best minor league system. besides you guys wont be back in the playoffs for 3-4 years

kdawg89
4 years 7 months ago

Don’t have to. Do some research. Royals and Rays are rated 1-2 or vice versa by almost every publication. After we sign this draft, it won’t even be debatable.

grownice
4 years 7 months ago

relax fan boy

4 years 7 months ago

you guys will be the 2010 balt O’s next season. also the best MLS goes to the royals by a LONGGGGGGGGGGGG shot.

4 years 7 months ago

hahaha yeah you mean all those 1st round picks and A+ prospects that leave the first chance they get BAHAAAHAHAHHAHAHAHAAAHHA

kdawg89
4 years 7 months ago

Wow..that was mature. Yeah because these days no players leave to make more money, especially small market teams. I guess Crawford should have resigned here for $8 million just to be loyal. If we were the YANKEES I would have been pissed at them paying him $142 million, that was ridiculous. Man..It’s good to know that the Rays are the only team that loses players to FA. You really told me. Wow..

Commander_Nate
4 years 7 months ago

What the hell? Is it the Rays or the Jays, and for what? GRRRR…

Snoochies8
4 years 7 months ago

Maybe it’s the Ray-J’s?

Roll Fizzlebeef
4 years 7 months ago

Well, you could call them Rays. Or you could call them Jays. #badjokes

S8P7W
4 years 7 months ago

I just laughed out loud.

4 years 7 months ago

As did I

bonestock94
4 years 7 months ago

I guess they don’t have faith in Arencibia…or however you spell that.

Infield Fly
4 years 7 months ago

Spelled exactly the way you did. 😉

4 years 7 months ago

I’m guessing he’s also an insurance policy incase Adam Lind can’t play 1B everyday

4 years 7 months ago

I hope Mathis doesn’t catch this year, I never really like Nap. either.

bacon_bitz
4 years 7 months ago

I guess the guy who put out the Napoli to Rays rumor just accidentally typed R instead of J

Snoochies8
4 years 7 months ago

jeez talk about a sudden twist in the story…

Commander_Nate
4 years 7 months ago

I wouldn’t try him at 3rd.

iains
4 years 7 months ago

Wow.. Rays having a bad off season

nats2012
4 years 7 months ago

Rays are going to have tons of picks this year in a very deep draft, they will be fine and they have Jaso already.

JaysFTW
4 years 7 months ago

Lol your acting like good picks instantly turn into contributing players. Rays are looking long-term, as usual.

FrankTheFunkasaurusRex
4 years 7 months ago

their looking EXTREMELY GOOD long term – fixed

fitz
4 years 7 months ago

they’re* – fixed again

FrankTheFunkasaurusRex
4 years 7 months ago

thanks. seriously

guydavis
4 years 7 months ago

What’s wrong with looking extremely long term? It’s difficult for small market teams to remain competitive for years, that’s just how it is. However, don’t count them out just yet, remember when the A’s lost Giambi and Damon?

4 years 7 months ago

They have the second-rated farm system, according to BA…so it seems like they’re doing a pretty swell job of turning good picks into contributing players. But feel free to discount the fact about half (12) of the players from last season’s playoff team were drafted by Tampa Bay, and that 9 started at least one game in their Division series.

-C

kdawg89
4 years 7 months ago

Yes, because the Jays front office plan has served them so well since.. when?? 1992..Short term planning gets you, well, constant third and fourth place finishes. (see Toronto Blue Jays)

RaygunJones
4 years 7 months ago

You know kdawg, for a fan of a team that has exactly zero WS titles, you sure like to run your mouth a lot. You need to relax, buddy. Show some class instead of insulting everyone else’s teams.

kdawg89
4 years 7 months ago

I haven’t insulted a single other persons team. I have responded to rude comments made about the Rays and myself. For you to call me out after the things that have been said to me is ridiculous. If I have been rude to anyone, it was in response to them acting childish, calling names or flat out being rude and uninformed. And I need to show some class?? I didn’t make crude remarks about anyone. There are a LOT of classless people on here and I’m not one of them. All anyone has for ammo on here is “your team has a small payroll”, “your team has crappy attendance” “you let a bunch of players go” What small market team doesn’t ?? This is ridiculous. The Rays have one of the top 2 farm systems. They run the team wisely and they have a ton of good prospects already as well as a ton of good draft picks. The future for them is bright. That’s all I’ve said and got blasted for it then criticized for not sitting there taking a bunch of insults from others that think they are the only one’s who know anything. Thank you for chastizing me though and telling me to take the abuse of others and smile and thenI”M the one talking smack…nice. BTW 2 A.L East titles in last 3 yrs. and a trip to the Series have made me a happy fan. Some fans teams don’t see the playoffs for decades so I’m not talking crap on anyone. I’m proud of what the Rays have done.

deere5800
4 years 7 months ago

erm, they won it in 93 too…it was kinda a big deal

kdawg89
4 years 7 months ago

My bad..92 and 93…Joe Carter off Mitch Williams..was off by a yr. And yes that was a big deal.

deere5800
4 years 7 months ago

sorry if I came off harsh, by the way…possibly my Blue Jays/Canadian inferiority complex

Infield Fly
4 years 7 months ago

Nothing inferior about either one! :)

Go Jays!!

damnitsderek
4 years 7 months ago

In a division where the two juggernauts are aging quickly, I think you’re overlooking how smart it is to be looking long-term.

RaygunJones
4 years 7 months ago

Well, except that the two juggernauts are not actually ever going to get “old,” because they’ll buy everyone else’s young players once they hit their prime. That’s their avowed strategy.

batting1000
4 years 7 months ago

I love how everyone thinks the Sox “buy all their players” When spring training breaks in 2012, 7 of our 8 position players will be home grown or traded for from our farm. Not many teams can say that!! !And at least 3/5 of the rotation fits that category… so find another excuse for falling short!

Sky14
4 years 7 months ago

I do like the way the red sox operate,but you act like they don’t buy their players….Carl Crawford, JD Drew, John Lackey, Matsuzaka, and Gonzo who, yea its a trade but its not like the Rays or Royals would trade for him knowing they would have to pay him an enormous contract, and you kept Beckett only a handful a teams would have been able to resign him for that price and I remember Casey Kelly fell to the Sox because of signing concerns, so it affects the draft which in turn affects trades…the buying power the sox have allows them to make trades for star players or draft expensive prospects , resigning their own players and sign the occasional carl crawford, manny ramirez or lackey the majority of teams cannot

setupunchtag
4 years 7 months ago

Love the Rays, but just because they have a lot of high picks doesn’t mean much if they don’t have the draft budget to pick the best players available. The way the draft is currently set up, a team with fewer picks and a larger budget can make up for it by signing players in later rounds, and actually end up with more ML talent (therefore, a better draft) in the end.

kdawg89
4 years 7 months ago

How exactly are they having a bad offseason? They opened up spots in their rotation and SS slots for better players. They have THIRTEEN of the first 90 picks in the draft. They hauled in 8 VERY GOOD prospects in their trades and it looks like Damon and Manny will both be signed this weekend…Great off season in my opinion. May not be in the hunt next year or two, but in the long run, they’re going to be competing for championships every year just with the talent they develop.

4 years 7 months ago

Yeah, as a Jays fan I must admit that the Rays have had a great offseason. I do think that the 2011 team is worse than the 2010 team was, but they took a strong farm system and made it even better, loaded up on picks for the the deepest draft in recent memory and found inexpensive, but elegant pieces to fill the holes on their roster (like the Manny and Damon signings which both look like pretty nice deals to me). Both the Jays and Rays look like they are taking one step back in 2011 in order to take many steps forward in subsequent years.

I think that the Yankees are probably worse than they were last year too though so even though the Red Sox have got to be the favourites in the AL East the Rays and Jays do have a chance this season. Personally after the Manny and Damon signings I think the Rays are my pick for the wild card. Texas or Oakland (whoever doesn’t win the AL West) would be good choices as well though as would the Yankees (who are still a good team, obviously).

JKGocha
4 years 7 months ago

Well there is no way, the rays could of matched taht deal. Atleast now that Angels got Wells, they might be able to compete in that division next year. Your adding a #3 hitter in that lineup infront of Kendry Morales. This is a very good move for the Angels interms of picking up a good hitter. But they do have to pay him a ton but who else is out their to sign??

NathanielS
4 years 7 months ago

So many details. <—LIE

renegade24
4 years 7 months ago

I feel like this is a trade Mike Scioscia made. He always preferred Mathis to Napoli.

NathanielS
4 years 7 months ago

It feels like a real Jacob and Esau thing is going on in Anaheim.

4 years 7 months ago

It’s more of a Goofus and Gallant thing…

Commander_Nate
4 years 7 months ago

Angry Nates unite!

renegade24
4 years 7 months ago

A) This means no Manny in Toronto.
B) This means reduced playing time for JP Arencibia.
C) I really wonder what we gave up to acquire Napoli. (Stewart?)

4 years 7 months ago

god I hope not Stewart, someone mentioned Thames which I think would be about right

JaysFTW
4 years 7 months ago

Definitely not Stewart.

Josh Stuart
4 years 7 months ago

I’m betting Frasor

4 years 7 months ago

I’m betting Vernon Wells. 😉

VegasANGELSFan
4 years 7 months ago

Way to make a bad offseason worse Angels. Sigh…

Maybe I am prematurely upset since we don’t know who is coming back, but c’mon Angels. Lacking power, so lets trade a 30 HR catcher.

Guest
4 years 7 months ago

look up his stats, dude. homers arent everything. in almost every other stat, offensively and defensively, he’s subpar.

bjsguess
4 years 7 months ago

Guest … please follow your advice and look at the stats. Here is Napoli’s rank amongst all catchers by year using wOBA (200 PA minimum):

2007: 6th (out of 39)
2008: 1st (out of 41)
2009: 4th (out of 45)
2010: 12th (out of 44)

Overall from 2007 to 2010 Napoli sits at 6th out of all catchers. The guys above him include Mauer, Posada, Martinez, Soto, and McCann. That’s pretty elite company. Napoli is a beast with the bat.

strikethree
4 years 7 months ago

Are you Mike Scioscia?!

And offensively, Napoli is one of the better hitting catchers in baseball.

PushDown
4 years 7 months ago

Umm sure Napoli hit 20+ homers, but that was all he did. Situational hitting? Nope. Plus 70% runners stole a base? That’s horrible. Sure Nap was cool, but wasn’t that great.

Then again, i too don’t know who we got, and since they didnt even mention it, im pretty nervous. So maybe Reagins this miff this one too.

bjsguess
4 years 7 months ago

1. The guy has never hit 30 HR’s
2. The team was not going to play him at catcher
3. This frees up about $6m to sign Vlad/Manny, etc

You can easily replace Napoli’s bat with a dedicated DH.

East Coast Bias
4 years 7 months ago

You’re right, but I do think he’s more than capable to hit 30 HRs in a season if given playing time. In fact, I’m willing to guarantee he will hit 30 with Toronto.

This trade still doesn’t make sense to me from the Angels’ perspective.

4 years 7 months ago

Manny signed w/ the Rays for 2 mil.