Wells? No… but here’s my suggestion…

I have seen an article that the Yankees talked to the Angels about Vernon Wells. The Angels would have to eat about all of Wells’ atrocious $21 MM salary.

While Wells would fill the righty-hitting OF role that Andruw Jones (who just signed with a Japanese team) filled the past two seasons, Wells is on the downside. In one sense, he’d fit in well with the Yanks as the team is currently constructed. He’s an aging veteran former All-Star on the downside of his career, and the Yanks are becoming too filled up with those types of players. Wells is 34, a 3x All-Star and 3x GG winner. He’s mostly played CF in his career but would be put in the corners. As of now, the Yanks have Ichiro, Granderson and Gardner, all lefty hitters (and Chris Dickerson is a lefty hitter as well). Wells would be that righty bat.

But Wells hit just .230-11-29, OPS+ 91 last year in 243 AB. The year before, it was .218-25-66, OPS+ 84. There is still pop there, but the batting averages were low, and he does nothing as far as a youth movement goes.

Instead, what I would do is to check on the Angels for two other players: Peter Bourjos and Hank Conger.

The Angels apparently don’t want to give up Bourjos. That is understandable. They’d rather dump Wells (and pick up most of his salary by doing so). Bourjos will be 26 at the start of next season and is a CF. Although he hasn’t played the corners, he probably could transition there quite easily. He only hit .220-3-19, OPS+ 73 for the Angels in 2012 in 168 AB but hit .271-12-43 with 22 SB and a AL-leading 11 triples in 2011, OPS+ 116. His 162 g. ave. is .247-11-42, 19 SB, OPS+ 97. Not great, but a good defender, young, inexpensive ($500K) with upside, as opposed to Wells 34 and downside.

As for Conger, he’ll be 25 next month and is a switch-hitting catcher. He’s hit just .201-6-25, OPS+ 73 in 224 AB in the majors, but that has been spread out over three years. He’s a .297 hitter in the minors. Maybe all he needs is for someone to take a chance on him and to give him regular playing time. Switch-hitting catchers are something to be desired (Posada, Ted Simmons back in the 1970’s… ). He made just $414K last year. Hey, right now the Yankee C options are Cervelli, Romine (who has just 21 games of AAA experience), Stewart and Bobby Wilson (also an Angels’ backup C last year, Wilson will be 30 next year, and in 389 at bats is .208-8-37, OPS+ 67.) Conger is younger than Wilson and a switch-hitter. He is just 10 months older than Romine and has more AAA and major league experience than Romine.

So you’d have two guys who’d fill needs who are both young (on an old team), who have upside and who you can probably get for less than $1.5 million—combined.

I don’t know if the Angels would make either, much less both, available. I don’t know what the Angels would ask for in return.

But I’d rather have those two than Vernon Wells.

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