The outset of the off-season the Angels were rumored to become big spenders to get themselves back into a position to contend. Many believed that they would sign at least two of Carl Crawford,, and Rafael Soriano…if not all three. But things haven’t worked out as well for them. Crawford went to the Red Sox for a record amount for a player that has never hit 20 or more home runs, they’ve pulled back their offer to Adrian Beltre, and there have been few rumors floating around about Soriano heading west since they signed Scott Downs. Beltre and Soriano could still sign with the Angels, but the team may still be interested in bringing in another big bat.
Why not Vernon Wells? Wells just went through a resurgent season that saw him hit .273/.331/.515 with 44 doubles and 31 home runs. Although Toronto’s Rogers Centre is a little more offense-friendly than Angel Stadium of Anaheim, a power bat with similar output would be welcome in the Angels lineup. A revered power bat in the middle of the lineup could provide protection that could have a trickle-down affect to the rest of the bats.
Defensively, a move to left field may help keep Wells healthy, it would also give the Angels an outfield with three centerfield talents. Angels’ pitchers would be put to ease knowing that those three speedsters would be covering the outfield areas behind them.
Of course, the major hook that has made Wells untradeable in the past has been his salary commitment. Wells is guaranteed at least $21-23 million each of the next four seasons. This is a significant amount to assume for a player that has struggled some the previous three seasons for the Blue Jays. However, reports have been saying that he is now just getting back to full strength after breaking his wrist in the spring of 2008.
Alex Anthopoulos, the resourceful GM of the Jays, may also be interested in partial salary relief. Having the ability to free up $12-15 million of his payroll for other endeavors may very useful to him. Alex may also want to free up the potential liability he may have if Wells gets injured again. With the Jays possibly assuming a portion of the salary, he could still be able to acquire a little talent in return as well. This would somewhat a salary dump so a few of the Angels’ mid-level prospects may draw his interest. But eating $5-8 million a season may bump up the compensation some.
It’s not THAT bewildering of a thought now is it? Still a little crazy, but not completely bewildering. But who would the Jays receive in return?
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