For the Birds? Wells Signs for $126M

In a continuing effort to keep up with the AL East Joneses, Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi has dropped another huge contract, this time a seven-year deal to slugging centerfielder Vernon Wells, who’s done a fair bit of damage to both the Yank and Sox over the years. That’s a long, expensive contract for a guy whose career OBP is .336, but then there aren’t too many CFs who can put up a .900 OPS with any kind of regularity, and do it while playing effective defense in a fast outfield. Losing him as a FA next year would have been a PR disaster for the Jays. In 07, he’ll have Frank Thomaa to protect him in the lineup, but with Royce Clayton at short he’ll need plenty of help. Good move? We’re undecided. But that “crazy” Damon contract the Yanks inked last year is looking better every day.

29 comments… add one
  • //…but then there aren’t too many CFs who can put up a .900 OPS with any kind of regularity,//
    Except that Vernon Wells has only had *one* season with a .900+ OPS. (2003) Well, it was .899 in 2006, so that’s close enough, I guess.
    I never look forward to seeing him step into the batter’s box against the Sox though. Bleh. I’d held out hope that Toronto would trade him or let him walk after next year, preferably to some other division. Oh well.

    mouse - SF December 16, 2006, 2:35 am
  • I’m not sure this does anything to affect the Damon contract and/or its outlook. Wells is the better fielder, much better arm, and stronger hitter of the two (though they have different lineup roles, and Damon does his job there pretty well). Until the continually-predicted decline/significant injury that us SFs predict(hope for?), Damon’s deal looks more than solid on its own. That being said, especially given his comparative youth, Wells *could* be worth $5M more per year. It’s doubtful. A team of 2006 Vernon Wells’s would score one more run per game than a team of 2006 Johnny Damons. Is that worth $5M more per year? I’m not sure.
    Still, the Jays are banking, literally, on Wells to be the Wells of 2003 and 2006 for the next seven years. It’s a reasonable gamble, I suppose, especially given what he means as far as their fanbase is concerned. A lot of talking heads on ESPN mentioning the obvious, the fallout of the Carlos Delgado departure.

    QuoSF December 16, 2006, 2:56 am
  • Mouse, you have to figure that the Vernon Wells FA scenario would have played out like this: TEX and TOR offer similar amounts of money/years. NYY trump them in their monetary or year commitment by some amount. I think those’ll be the big spenders looking for a CF next offseason (unless Coco AND WMP flame out this season, I doubt we’ll be major players). You have to give the NYY credit for having the resources and the track record to hold up and say: We’ll probably give you the best chance of those three teams to even make the playoffs.
    The Yankees have a CF? I’m not sure Damon’s going to break down completely, like a lot of SFs, but I do think it is in the Yankees’ best interest to move him to LF or 1B in the near future, as to minimize that possiblity.
    Somewhere, Scott Boras is calculating just how much of the money he ‘left on the table’ with Matsuzaka can be recouped in the Andruw Jones contract after 2007.

    QuoSF December 16, 2006, 3:03 am
  • While it would be nice for the Yankees to get Jones next year, I’m worried that they’re just going to end up having two aging center fielders who should be playing first base. Not saying Melky Cabrera is a better option than perennial gold-glover and power hitter Jones, but I’d much rather the Yankees go after a guy like Zambrano, a bonafide ace.

    Andrew December 16, 2006, 10:22 am
  • Andrew Jones is pretty young, so he would be goof for the fist five of maybe six or seven years.
    Andrew Jones is going to be filthy rich. No, Andrew Jones is going to be disgustingly rich. As is, Ichiro Suzuki.

    Brad December 16, 2006, 10:45 am
  • I honestly don’t think Ichiro is going to get the payday people think he’s going to. As of now, he’s about a .310 singles hitter who steals. Ideal leadoff hitter? Maybe. But all defense aside, I’d rather have Johnny Damon pop a couple over the fence than squeeze one through the infield again and again and again. People say Ichiro could hit homeruns if he wanted to, but I don’t buy it for a minute. He didn’t even hit 20 a year consistently in Japan. And if he had power, he’d hit doubles. He hit 19 doubles (plus the 9 triples which would be doubles for a less speedier player).
    I dunno. He’s obviously a very valuable player who always leads the league in AB, and has crazy sick stolen base percentages. He’s also a very good defender. Maybe he is worth a large payday. Who am I kidding, he’s going to be the highest-paid outfielder not named Alfonso.

    Andrew December 16, 2006, 11:36 am
  • Andruw Jones will be 30 before the All-Star break. He’s an excellent player, but will definitely be on the decline side of his career by 2008. He’s been around a while. Ichiro is a wonderful, exciting player to watch. I’d be stunned if he isn’t reupped in Seattle during the season; his value there is tremendous in terms of filling Safeco. The Yanks don’t need a centerfielder in the immediate future, so this speculation is kind of ridiculous. The outfield is filled out, and Miggy is on the bench. Brent Gardner is a potential ML CF in the minors, and Jose Tabata is a blue chip prospect who will likely be angling for time, in 2 years (if not sooner).

    YF December 16, 2006, 11:47 am
  • I guess that Pittsburgh has asked for a package that includes Melky for their reliever that everyone wants. If I’m NY, if that’s all it takes, they should do it. That kid is the real deal, and in reality, if a fourth outfielder is all the real value they’re asking for, it’s a good deal for NY.
    The article is over at

    Brad December 16, 2006, 11:58 am
  • Re: Ichiro – His defense is off the planet, he has the absolute best arm in the outfield in all the majors, and he is an absolute hitter. He’s the best contact hitter this leauge has to offer, and he beats out throws to first on infield hits more than anyone I’ve ever seen. His speed makes Carl Crawford and Julio Lugo appear to be slow.
    I agree with Andrew that he’s probably not going to get the payday Jones is, but he’s every bit the player as any other outfielder in the leauge. Imagine how much better he would be with a real lineup behind him? It would be sick the numbers he’d throw up.
    Jones plays 159 games a year and mashes. Not to mention that balls will absolutely never hit the ground in the outfield. His contract is probably going to be not great the last two years, but for the first five, it’ll be worth every penny.

    Brad December 16, 2006, 12:04 pm
  • Ichiro could be a hitter like Damon, popping 20 homers a year and significatly cut down on his AVG.
    In six seasons his career avg is .331 with a .376 OBA. Damon in his career has avgerages of .289 batting and .353 Onbase.
    Ichiro has the ability to hit 25 homers a year.
    Ichiro who turned 33 in the offseason will be 34 next offseason when shopping his services as a free agent, that alone would be the only thing keeping his value down.
    I can see him getting a deal in the neighborhood of what Damon got last offseason. Ichiro made $12.5 million in 2006 according to baseball-reference.

    TJ Sox Fan December 16, 2006, 12:08 pm
  • I saw that as well, Brad. I’d pass. Melky was a great story for the Yanks last year, and while baseball is a business, cutting out your heart isn’t always worthwhile. And in any case, a switch-hitting, low-cost, high quality fourth outfielder is really a nice advantage, especially for a team that’s older than average. And a young everyday player vs. a relief pitcher….well, I’d be real slow to make that deal. Pitcher’s are high risk commodities. They break down. They may not perform…..
    If Cabrera departs, look for the Yanks to resign Bernie.

    YF December 16, 2006, 12:08 pm
  • If Cabrera departs, look for the Yanks to resign Bernie
    Yeah, if the Yanks make that deal, it’s a good bet that happens. Of course, I’d rather the talks be between this kid and Boston, but no matter. Bullpen guys are always a risk: a team is either going to get a guy who catches lightning in a bottle or an off year. Very rarely do these guys repeat year after year. But this kid is a lefty, who kills lefties, and throws really hard with a great splitter. See Toronto. Lefty closers and set up men who are effective are great to have: more so than a fourth outfielder who very likely isn’t going to see much time next year.

    Brad December 16, 2006, 12:14 pm
  • and it would take more than Melky if we’re to believe certain rumors. Apparently, the Pirates asked for Victor Martinex in return in talks with the Indians.
    If it’s Melky for Gonzales straight up, I’d do it despite the legitimate concerns of YF. He’s close to a dominant reliever and we need to start thinking about the post-Mo days. Since I’ve had the guy on my fantasy team the last two years, I’m a tad biased but he basically strikes out the side every outing.

    Nick-YF December 16, 2006, 12:15 pm
  • “Andrew Jones is pretty young, so he would be goof for the fist five of six or maybe seven years.”
    Wow, Brad are you retarded or do you have a speech impediment or both? How can you take somebody seriously who has a 2nd grader’s English level? To be honest, how can you take Brad’s ideas on baseball seriously, even if they were spelled and articulated perfectly?
    We all like the Sox Brad, but your always blue skies view of the Sox, and your constant gloom and doom view of the Yankees is getting tiresome.

    Frank December 16, 2006, 12:15 pm
  • Give it a rest Frank. Brad has actually been supportive of the possible Melky for Gonzalez deal here, so your beef has no beef. And we all make spelling mistakes.
    Spare us the ad hominem attacks. That’s for another site. I refer you to the YFSF code of ethics, if you need a refresher course in yours. See the ABOUT YFSF sidebar.

    YF December 16, 2006, 12:22 pm
  • Wow, Frank. I don’t even know what to say to that!
    Thanks for the support there, YF. But, this guy’s post says more than I ever could in argument with him. At no point did I mention the Sox in this thread, other than to point out that I’d like for them to go after the pitcher from Pittsburgh.
    Clearly, this guy is roaming boards looking for spelling mistakes and incorrect uses of grammar, all the while leaving out necessary commas and ignoring structure within his own argument?
    Now, I know I only have the second grader’s intelligence level, but here ‘ya go, dick:
    It should read:
    Wow, Brad. Are you retarded, do you have a speech impediment, or both?
    Even if Brad’s ideas on baseball were articulated and spelled perfectly, how can you take them seriously?
    and finally:
    We all like the Sox, Brad. You’re constant…
    Man, If my level is second grade, where does that put you, Frank?
    If you’d like to continue this intelligence pissing contest, fell free to email me. This way, we don’t take up space on a normally fun board that’s free of assholes?

    Brad December 16, 2006, 12:34 pm
  • Yeah, I included that last sentence for laughs. For my friends here, who are aware that you’re nothing more than a troll, who I’m sure, will probably be deleted when, and if, you counter with a pathetic attempt to attack me.

    Brad December 16, 2006, 12:37 pm
  • People! It’s a pretty day!

    YF December 16, 2006, 12:51 pm
  • Yeah, it would be better if I wasn’t balled up on the couch with some unknown strain of the bird flu.

    Brad December 16, 2006, 12:58 pm
  • Brad, You don’t realize this, but just because you say it doesn’t make it so.
    I made no mistakes in my post. How something is said will determine punctuation marks.
    But you misspelled good(goof),first(fist), or(of), yet you try to say my post was worse than yours. Wrong.
    What I really remember about Brad is his statement that he didn’t care if Julio Lugo was guilty of domestic violence, as long as he was a good player for the Sox. Nice Brad, real nice.
    YF, I’m not referring to today’s posts, but the posts I’ve observed here from the last couple of years. If Brad is not the most argumenitive, the most insulting, and at times, the most dense poster here, than you tell me who is.
    And I’ve seen a number of complaints here recently that point this out.

    Frank December 16, 2006, 1:36 pm
  • this aint the freaking new york times, nor is it 6th period english. Who the heck cares if someone misspells something on here.
    When in the internet world, I tend to add my own taste to some words. I prefer Kool over cool, mayby over maybe and some others, this is a place to relax and enjoy talk about and between the two most important baseball franchises in existence, not to have the feeling like your back in 6th period.

    Anonymous December 16, 2006, 1:42 pm
  • that last post was me.

    TJ Sox Fan December 16, 2006, 1:44 pm
  • this is a baseball site, not a battered women’s shelter.

    ric December 16, 2006, 2:03 pm
  • frank- just for the record, i’m probably the most argumenitive, the most insulting, and at times, the most dense poster here. like a badge of honor, i wear it.

    sf rod December 16, 2006, 4:18 pm
  • sf rod, you are also, imho, the funniest.

    Nick-YF December 16, 2006, 4:37 pm
  • I’m not going to argue with you, Frank. If you want to go head-to-head with something to do with baseball, I’m all for it. I don’t come to this site to call people out on their spellig or grammar mistakes. I come here to talk baseball, and yes, sometimes it escalates into an argument. But, only rarely does this happen to the point that insults are thrown.
    Ric is correct. If you’re insulted by the things that are said here, go elsewhere. If you will remember, I openly discussed my statement later in that thread, where I tried to explain where I came from. But, still, why the hell do you care?
    If you’re not up for a healthy argument, then don’t come here, and especially don’t come here calling me names behind the certain protection of the internet.
    Also, FWIW, I do, in fact, have a speech impediment. Or, I should say that I used to. How that’s either relative to the subject at hand here, or any different than you being upset over a battered woman comment is beyond my realm of understand. It’s okay to call someone retarded?
    If you’re feelings are hurt, then go about setting it right in a more manly, respectable way. Otherwise, keep your mouth shut over something you have no idea.
    By simply coming here, shooting off your mouth in a very demeaning way, you show me that you have no spine. If, in fact, you have something you’d like to say, spare the rest of the guys here (who I happen to like very much, and I’m sure the feeling is mutual), and just shoot me an email. I’ll be happy to discuss anything you wish.
    You are the true definition of the internet tough guy.

    Brad December 16, 2006, 5:14 pm
  • Also, just to clear things up on another front. I’ve never, ever claimed to be a writer. Nor has any other person who regularly posts here. Some certainly are in possession of the necessary skills to do so, but I am not. The last I checked, I have a degree in Chemistry, not Literature, English, or Journalism. But, I will compare the difficulties of each any time you’d like to. Just click the name, Brother.

    Brad December 16, 2006, 5:19 pm
  • “It is a damn poor mind indeed which can’t think of at least two ways to spell any word.” – Andrew Jackson
    I love that quote.

    attackgerbil December 16, 2006, 5:59 pm
  • This is a bit of an esoteric question that I should look up for myself, but what are the tax implications of a baseball player who plays for Toronto vs. a player that plays in the states? Is Wells’ contract in the amount of dollars he actually receives affected positively or negatively from his perspective since he plays for a Canadian team?

    attackgerbil December 16, 2006, 6:13 pm

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