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UPDATE: Angels acquire Vernon Wells from Jays for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera

Jan 21, 2011, 9:30 PM EDT

Mike Napoli

UPDATE: Jon Heyman of SI.com confirms it. The Angels are picking up the entire $86 million tab left on Vernon Wells‘ contract. Mind sufficiently blown.

9:08 PM: The deal is done. The Angels have acquired Vernon Wells from the Blue Jays for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera. According to Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com, cash is not mentioned in the release from either club. If the Jays aren’t paying some of Wells’ salary, this is a heist of the highest measure.

7:14 PM: Rosenthal’s latest update has the Blue Jays sending Vernon Wells and cash considerations to the Angels for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera. No word yet on the exact amount of salary the Blue Jays will absorb.

6:42 PM: Juan Rivera might also be in the deal, according to Rosenthal.

Vernon Wells was in Anaheim for a physical today and is waiving his no-trade clause. Of course, he is owed the ridiculous sum of $86 million over the next four seasons. We haven’t heard anything about the Blue Jays picking up any salary here, which if true, would officially make Alex Anthopoulos a miracle worker. Still waiting for the final details, of course.

6:26 PM: If this trade didn’t surprise you already, this certainly will. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, Vernon Wells is headed to the Blue Jays in the Mike Napoli trade. In a word, woah. More when we get it.

5:38 PM: We weren’t expecting that! Rosenthal reports that the Angels have traded Mike Napoli to the Blue Jays. No word on the return.  Giving up one of the team’s better bats makes some sense if you can get some good young Rays talent. The Jays system isn’t quite as stocked.  Here’s hoping for Angels fans that they’re getting some value back.

Man. You just never know.

4:18 PMStan McNeal of the Sporting News reports that the Rays have expressed interest in Angels catcher Mike Napoli.

Interesting. Napoli is a good hitter who, while his OBP dropped precipitously last year in a career-high 140 games, still popped a lot of dingers.  McNeal says that the Rays would use him as a DH.  If so, those Manny Ramirez talks would probably end. As it is, Napoli made $3.6 million and is due a raise via arbitration, so he would probably end up costing around the same — or maybe a bit more — than Manny.  Except he’s not a head case and can play catcher.

As for the Angels, they have Jeff Mathis, Bobby Wilson and Hank Conger to prevent passed balls.  The Rays have a prospect-rich system, so if there’s a team to whom you’d want to trade a valuable player like Napoli, it’s Tampa Bay.

  1. Adam - Jan 21, 2011 at 4:50 PM

    Except Jeff Mathis is horrible and overrated defensively.

  2. BC - Jan 21, 2011 at 4:53 PM

    My ex-wife is probably looking at Mike Napoli. So the point is?

  3. BC - Jan 21, 2011 at 5:45 PM

    Manny is either going to Texas or Tampa. I’ll bet a nickel on it.

  4. proudlycanadian - Jan 21, 2011 at 5:55 PM

    Nobody saw this coming because The Jays do not talk about their plans and trade discussions. Stories that say that the Jays are interested in a certain free agent do not come from the team.
    The Jays are not sure if Arencibia is ready to be the full time catcher and wanted some insurance.

  5. clydeserra - Jan 21, 2011 at 5:56 PM

    Ah, Mike Scioscia, you give the rest of the AL west such pleasure in your anti-napoli stance.

    This is just funny to me.

  6. marshmallowsnake - Jan 21, 2011 at 6:28 PM

    The good news here is that the Blue Jays dumped that contract…the bad news is that the Angels missed out on every target this off season, that they had to do this. They love overpaying for OF positions out there!

  7. andrewkw - Jan 21, 2011 at 6:40 PM

    This really could be a franchise altering move for the jays. I have never been so shocked by a trade ever. Even if they are kicking in a modest amount of money the savings will be significant.

  8. Mark - Jan 21, 2011 at 6:43 PM

    The Jays got rid of Wells and added Napoli. Can’t complain so far. I wonder who else and how much cash is involved.

    I can’t wait to hear the rest.

  9. proudlycanadian - Jan 21, 2011 at 6:48 PM

    WOW!

  10. shlomo1977 - Jan 21, 2011 at 8:38 PM

    Even if Toronto absorbs $30 million over 4 years, it’s a great deal for them. They can put a strong team together for 2012 that can finish 4th in the AL East and still make the playoffs in MLB’s latest playoff expansion idea. You just gotta get into the tournament.

  11. billybeaneismyhero - Jan 21, 2011 at 9:49 PM

    Wow. Do you remember when the Dodgers were the most f’d up team in Los Angeles?

  12. fribnit - Jan 21, 2011 at 9:53 PM

    it is official. The Angels are more screwed up than the Mets

  13. spudchukar - Jan 21, 2011 at 9:59 PM

    Wow is right ProudCanuck. Isn’t theft a crime in Canada? Anaheim can now be known as the “Fallen Angels”. Pure desperation. How this solves any of their problems is a mystery to me.

    • proudlycanadian - Jan 22, 2011 at 5:16 AM

      Yep, but nobody here is complaining.

  14. gravytrain56 - Jan 21, 2011 at 10:17 PM

    Tony Reagins amazing trade really. From ESPN’s Mark Simon: Vernon Wells is hitting .201 vs. lefties the last 2 seasons, the worst of any qualifying RH hitter in the game

  15. Brian Murphy - Jan 21, 2011 at 11:26 PM

    I just threw up on myself a little bit. The Angels were so extremely desperate to make a splash of any measure. This is just a huge panic move. The fact that they are taking on that entire contract is stunning, but Reagins felt like he had to do *something* after missing out on every notable name in the free agent market.

    Oh, except for Scott Downs.

  16. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jan 21, 2011 at 11:57 PM

    Is it too late for the Angels to sign Overbay for way too much money? Apparently they are collecting overpaid Jays…

  17. Old Gator - Jan 22, 2011 at 12:24 AM

    What a night. I come back from listening to some pretty fine folk music uptown and Hardball Talk has been busy making April Fools Day irrelevant.

  18. apbaguy - Jan 22, 2011 at 12:41 AM

    Wow, I wonder if Dan Haren wants out of SoCal yet. Rivera had nothing left, but Napoli could drive the ball, something Scoscia believes is a secondary talent. The Jays should be thrilled, also the A’s. With Wells, Hunter, and Abreu LA has a great outfield, if this were 2006. Now those three equal the entire A’s team in payroll for 2011. And the A’s will most likely finish ahead of them in the standings this year. Ouch, babe.

    • proudlycanadian - Jan 22, 2011 at 5:19 AM

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jays trade Rivera (Texas?) or designate him for assignment.

  19. writtenbyross - Jan 22, 2011 at 6:30 AM

    Vlad, Torii Hunter, now Vernon Wells…looked hard at Manny… I think the Angels pick their outfielders based on the results of a 2004 fantasy baseball draft.

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