JANUARY 16: The Yankees have released Wells, according to the MLB.com transactions page.
JANUARY 10: The Yankees have designated Vernon Wells for assignment, according to ESPN's Buster Olney (on Twitter). Wells himself tweeted out a thank you to the organization: "Thank you Yankees for the opportunity to be a part of such a storied franchise."
The Yankees need room on their 40-man roster because although they've agreed to deals with Brian Roberts and Matt Thornton, neither has been officially announced at this time (as noted earlier today by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports). An Alex Rodriguez suspension could clear a spot for the second player.
Wells, 35, was acquired by the Yankees last offseason in exchange for Exicardo Cayones and Kramer Sneed, with New York picking up $13.9MM of the remaining $42MM on Wells' contract. They looked to have caught lightning in a bottle early in the season, as Wells mashed his way to a .301/.357/.538 batting line with 10 homers through his first 38 games, replacing some of the production lost when Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira went down with injuries. Wells posted a .495 OPS with just one homer from May 16 through season's end, however, finishing with a batting line of .233/.282/.349 in 458 plate appearances.
Wells is owed $21MM this season, $18.6MM of which comes from the Angels, with the Yankees on the hook for just $2.4MM.