Vernon Wells is a 3x GG (Gold Glove), 3x AS (All-Star) but also an OF who after leaving Toronto had two bad years with the Angels.
The Yankees are hoping they get the Toronto version of Wells. For Wells is coming to the Yankees to hopefully replace power lost through injury and free agency.
Wells, 34, has played mostly CF in his career, a bit of LF and RF. It will be interesting to see if he plays CF with Gardner going back to LF or if he plays LF with Gardner in CF (I prefer the latter).
Wells is a .273 hitter with 259 career HR and a career OPS+ of 106 (100 is average). His last good year was in 2010 for Toronto, .273-31-88, OPS+ 125. Since then in two seasons with the Angels, he’s put up (2011) .218-25-66. OPS+ 84 and (2012, in 77 g., 1/2 a year) .230-11-29, OPS+ 91.
The Yanks are hoping they get the Blue Jays version of Wells, 2002-2010 who averaged .279-25-89, OPS+ 109.
They could use a power bat. On Opening Day, Chavez, Swisher, Martin & Ibanez will be on other teams, and A-Rod, Granderson, Teixeira and most likely Jeter, will be on the DL. That’s a lot of missing offense.
Wells is owed $21MM for this year and next. The Angels are apparently picking up $29MM of the $42MM with the Yanks responsible for the rest.
Wells has had a good, comeback spring so far. 11 for 36 with 4 HR. The Yanks hope it continues. That way when Granderson comes back, Wells could fill in for the Grandy Man, Gardner or Ichiro or DH to give Hafner a rest.
There is a minor leaguer going to the Angels in the deal, but no confirmation. Rumors are it could be Slade Heathcott, 22, who in 65 games (GCL/A+) hit .302-5-29 with 19 SB last year. Many have compared Heathcott’s style of play to Lenny Dykstra’s.
If Heathcott goes, then Mason “Classical Gas” Williams must deliver and become the Yanks CF of the future. Williams, 21, was in low and high A ball last year, and and 91 games hit .298-11-35 with 20 SB.
Meanwhile, the Yanks (for now) say they aren’t interested in Yunieski Betancourt, released by the Phils today. Betancourt, 31, is a SS with some pop, but he doesn’t walk enough. His 162 g. average is .266-11-65, but only 21 walks for those 162 g. OPS+ 82. Good pop, not selective. Mostly SS, some 2b (55) and 3B (8) games. Given Jeter’s woes, you wonder if the Yanks will eventually become interested, or with Jeter out they are committing to Eduardo Nunez.
You also wonder if the recent setbacks for Jeter are a harbinger of the end.