Ridiculous, right? I mean, that headline must be from The Onion.
Sadly, it's all too real. While it's still uncertain how many Canadian dollars (if any) the Blue Jays will pack into Mom's Attic when Vernon Wells rents his U-Haul next month, make no mistake. (Update: Looks like it will be zero Canadian dollars, so Vern can still stuff his golf clubs up there.) They're popping corks and smoking Cubans in Toronto tonight. Alex Anthopoulos has done the impossible.
Today, the Toronto Blue Jays unloaded one of the worst contracts in baseball history and got players with positive value in return. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have just agreed to take on the majority of Vernon Wells' seven-year, $126 million deal, signed in 2006, in exchange for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera.
This trade doesn't even deserve the dignity of a formal analysis. The Angels voluntarily vacated about three or four wins next season while simultaneously boosting their payroll by nearly $10 million. Sure he had weaknesses, but Mike Napoli was the second-best offensive player on the 2010 Angels, and light-years better than Jeff Mathis. And even though Wells outperformed Juan Rivera last year, the two of them have been virtually identical hitters over the last four seasons. Wells may play center field for awhile, but if Torii Hunter's recent performance there was unsatisfactory, then he will find himself in Juan's old corner soon enough.
Wells, whose contract was a regular feature on the waiver wire, was previously thought to be unmovable. Tony Reagins, Arte Moreno, and Mike Scioscia are now the owners of the back-end of a deal back-loaded at the time of signing to account for uncertainties in the US-Canadian exchange rate. Sam Miller of the OC Register was noted that very rarely does a trade make one team "older, more expensive, and worse," all at the same time.
Thinking outside the box? Perhaps not thinking at all.