Sean Dodds: On the surface, I can see why many fans and media types are so up in arms about the Vernon Wells trade. It does seem odd that after declining to sign free agents like Crawford and Beltre that they would be willing to take on Wells' contract, one which many believe is one of the worst in baseball. The trade does send mixed messages. However, whether or not this contract hinders possible future signings remains to be seen and any claims to the contrary are premature at best. The roster is better now than it was before the trade. For those upset because they don't believe enough was received in return for Naps, it's hard to get more when he has been nothing more than a part time player for us. Other teams knew this. All in all, I'm not pleased with the money spent, but I do like the roster better.
Randy Lawrence: I'm not high on this deal because of the money and age but, the team is better with Wells than we were with Rivera or Napoli neither of which would have seen a full season of AB's. Wells while not a great CF'r due to reduced range will be a good LF'r and set the OF with very good defense joining Torii and Bourjos. This also makes room for Trumbo who is capable of giving us the power lost with Napoli and can fill in in LF or 1B if needed. Overall I like this deal. It's not great but it still improved the team. I don't see how the money is that big of a deal because I don't think it hampers the Angels in anyway over the next 4 years if they need to increase payroll in the FA market or make another Haren like trade. For those that want to compare this trade to the FA deals this winter because of the money per year, there is a massive difference in the risk exposure for any of the big FA deals. 142/7 was the starting point for Crawford. 96/5+1 was the staring point for Beltre. If the Angels were to stay in the bidding for either of those players, it would have cost significantly more than where they ended up. Even at 142/7, the financial risk is much greater than 86/4.
One more thing, we paid Torii a similar contract at a similar age as we are now facing with Wells, similar players. It's a couple million more per year for Wells. Torii was probably over paid, Wells is over paid, but the amount really isn't that big of a deal. It's not fantastic but I don't think it hurts the team even if he's somewhat mediocre for part of that. It has risks though, any big contract does.
Sean Scanlon: I have no problems with the players involved in the trade. Wells has the potential to put up better numbers than the outfielders slated to play prior to his arrival, league average or above for his position. That's a good thing for 2011.
The players leaving had worn out their welcome. Rivera was a slow 4th outfielders who was regressing. And Napoli...I have no love lost for Napoli. Here is a guy who, for stretches, has a major league bat...and yet he refused to take the steps necessary to be a big league catcher. And not just last year, but for years. Scioscia had made it clear what he needed to do...in the papers...for Napoli to play. You know if he said it in the papers he was direct and clear when speaking to Napoli face to face. And Napoli did not do what was necessary...to the point that Jeff Mathis received playing time. Napoli was so bad behind the plate, and so infuriated Angels management, that Jeff Mathis was given regular playing time. That tells me a lot about Mike Napoli and his desire to be a major league catcher. Add in that he was incredibly streaky and disappeared for weeks at a time and it adds up to a player that will have a nice career playing for a non contending team. He can put up some nice home run stats, chase girls, cash a check and get away with putting in 70%.
With all that said...the dollars are incredibly alarming. This is a deal that 4 years from now has the potential to look real bad if the Angels don't win. Yes, it's only 4 years, but in 2-3 years this has the potential to be a 20 million dollar albatross. I find it hard to believe that the Angels did not get more dollars back in return.
David Saltzer: While it's not the ideal move for this offseason, it makes the team better, and that's the bottom line. It plays to the Angels' strengths--pitching. As Peter Bourjos showed last year, increasing the OF defense makes the starters better, especially since the top of the rotation consists of flyball pitchers. Wells in left, Bourjos in center, and Hunter in right will be one of the elite defensive outfields in the game. It gives the Angels another middle of the order bat, which they sorely needed. The Angels now have a heart of the order (Hunter, Morales, Wells) that can all put up 25+ HRs, making it much more difficult to pitch around any one of them.
As for the money issues, the Angels have plenty of money coming off the books in the coming years and have a wave of talent developing in the minors. They can afford Wells and can afford to keep Weaver and Morales because of all the money coming off the books. All those saying that Wells' contract was one of the worst in baseball are missing two points. First, the operative word is "was" as in the past. Second, thanks to this crazy offseason, the market has caught up to the terms in this contract. Had Wells been a free agent this winter, he would have easily gotten the same amount of money, but for more years. On deals of this magnitude, it's not so much the money per year, but the length in years that is truly the problem. The Angels got Wells for today's market value for 4 years rather than having to commit the same level of money for 6 or 7 years long term.
Finally, adding Wells does not block the development of any of our key prospects (nor did it cost any of our elite prospects). Instead, it provides stability to the lineup so that when prospects such as Trout, Conger, Segura, Amarista, etc. come into the Majors, they won't be saddled with too many expectations or too much pressure to carry the offense.
Geoff Stoddart: Is the team better now then they were before the trade was made?
- Absolutely! From a defensive standpoint, I would put our OF up against most another in the game. We are solid!
- We got rid of two guys that were proven inefficient. Rivera made GA look like Charlie Hustle and Naps couldn't throw out a runner at 2nd base if told him the runner was going. His hitting was marginal at best. I mean, if you can't clearly beat out Mathis for a starting catcher job, how good are you?
- Is it a lot of money? Sure. Is it inline with what other FA were getting this offseason? You bet! In fact, Wells probably would have gotten more this Winter were he a FA.
Simply stated, the Angels are a better team then they were before the trade. They're better because of who they got, and they're better because of who they got rid of.
Bruce Nye: Would Wells garner a 4/86 contract as a FA? The answer is, no. But there are compelling reasons to like the trade.
1. Napoli and Rivera are off the payroll. Both have become closer to slugs than valuable players. Fantasy/rotisserie owners like Napoli's 26 HRs, but real baseball doesn't like his .182 RISP and the fact only 13 of those HRs had runners on base. Napoli is a below average defender at C and 1B. Rivera hasn't been the same since he broke his leg. This is almost $12 coming off of the payroll. I don't know of a team who would have taken them.
2. Wells had a nice year last year and had severe wrist injuries in 2008 and 2009 hampering his swing. He is off of the turf and on real grass and is thrilled to be in Anaheim.
3. Wells contract is for 4 years whereas the other FAs were in the 7 year range.
4. Defensively we have a superior outfield.
5. Arte Moreno had to do something after he made his bold statement - and more importantly, he wants a winner on the field and with Wells this team is better.
6. The addition of a power hitter in the middle of the line up means a lot to the offense.
7. Is Wells overpaid Yes, but the price to pay justifies the transaction. Kazmir and GMJ's contracts come off the books next year further softening the blow.
Lou Garcia: I like the trade because it now gives us the past 2 Branch Rickey Award winners. People that don't like it are against the following:
#1 A role model for young people as evidenced by baseball accomplishments coupled with high ethical standards.
#2 An unselfish contributor to the community whose volunteer activities exemplify Rotary International's motto, "Service Above Self."
Eric Notti: Scioscia used to make excuses for Anderson's slow play by saying he took very good routes the ball. Yeah, I'm sure AAA was impressed of how safely he got from point A where he was standing to point B where the ball rolled to a stop without every getting a grass stain on his pants.
Later Reggie Willits was in the outfield and he took very fast routes to the ball from Point A where he was in the wrong position to point B where the ball flew over his head and he crashed into the rail, got back up and ran very fast to where the ball rolled to a stop. -1 for colliding with walls without touching the horsehide.
There was Matthews that ran to the wall, lept and pushed the ball over the fence. Enough said.
Then there is Juan Rivera that saw the ball, watched it while slowly moving in on the ball to take it on a bounce instead of catching it in the air, and follows up his act by throwing the ball extremely hard into the ground for a four hopper to third base as the runner jogs into second.
Last is Bobby Abreu that runs towards the ball with his glove out and Bourgos passes by him, heading to the dugout with the ball in his glove.
It was time for a change defensively. Wells, although many discount his Gold Gloves, is a damn site better fielder than those four and can hit the frigging ball as well.
We could have not traded for him and gotten another Willits clone in Posednik. We could have picked up no arm Damon to see if he can convince enough pitchers to walk him so his OBP justifies him being in there over Willits. Or we could have just played Willits. Yeah, that would have improved the team, a guy who still can't track a ball in the outfield, is fast but can't steal a base, sucks at bunting, has never hit a MLB home run in his 986 plate appearences. Why spend all that money for Wells when we had Willits for about $22 million less?
In 7 years the Angels only had a left field OPS above league average twice. Once was last season and the other 2005 when Willits was out there. Hmmm, maybe we should just play Willits.
Adam Dodge: Not a fan of the trade, but I'm not going to crucify Reagins and the Angels for getting "something" done. I would not have been a fan of giving Werth 7 years and $126 Million, Crawford 7 years and $142 million or Beltre 6 years and $96 million. I put this acquisition in the same ballpark as those signings. I'm an optimist (to a fault) and I just hope we get 2010 Vernon Wells for at least 3 of the next 4 seasons.
Chuck Richter: People talk about being disappointed about not signing Carl Crawford, but to me, Carl Crawford is not worth a 7-8 year deal mainly because his best two assets are his speed and defense. With Trout and Bourjos in the fold (similar players, good defense, speed, but not 25-30 HR power), I would rather have a middle of the order bat who can hit 25-30 HR's and drive in 100, signed for just four years opposed to 7-8 years.
Carl Crawford if not a leadoff hitter either. If he was a guy that walked a lot (+.380 OBP), I may have to think about it, since the Angels at this point do not have a true leadoff hitter. But then again, it's back to my initial argument. Do I want to pay a guy 20 million dollars a year who does not hit more than 20 home runs with deteriorated stolen bases and defense at the tail end of his contract?
The answer to that is NO.
Vernon Wells is just what the Angels needed for his defense, middle of the order power and the Angels are getting him for just four years, not 6-8.