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“Maybe it’s just society”: Vernon Wells won’t opt out of deal

Sep 19, 2011, 10:47 AM EDT

Vernon Wells

Vernon Wells has a clause in his contract that allows him to opt out and become a free agent after this season.

There was never much chance of him using that to get out of a seven-year, $126 million deal, but those odds are firmly entrenched at 0.00 percent after a career-worst season that has seen the 32-year-old hit .219 with a ghastly .252 on-base percentage and .406 slugging percentage in 121 games.

Wells has three seasons and $63 million left on the deal and predictably told Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register that he “wasn’t planning on using it.” Of course, he spun it in a slightly different way:

Why would you waive your no-trade clause [to accept a trade to the Angels] and then opt out one year later? I never really thought about using it. You do a contract and you ask for certain things. That happened to be one I asked for and got. To be honest with you, I think about it as often as I think about the money.

Maybe it’s just society, but people put too much on struggling. All of a sudden, everything is negative–you’re a bad guy; you’re unhappy. It’s a struggle, yeah. But that’s all it is. I’ve struggled before. Baseball is such a different game. You can be an All-Star one year, struggle the next year and become an All-Star again. It is what it is. This is a great place to live, a great place to play. I’ve got a lot of good years left and I look forward to having them there.

Wells could be playing for a last-place team in Antarctica and he’d still never opt out of a three-year, $63 million deal, so the stuff about loving California is a pretty iffy rationalization.

Wells is right that he’s capable of bouncing back from a terrible year, as he did so in 2008 and 2010, but the reason the Angels’ trade for him was so widely mocked at the time is that he could have had strong seasons from now until the end of the contract and still wouldn’t be worth the money or what they gave up to get him. The fact that he completely collapsed just changed the trade from bad to horrendous.

Or, you know, “maybe it’s just society.”

  1. proudlycanadian - Sep 19, 2011 at 10:50 AM

    Recently, Wells has played well in even numbered years. If the pattern continues, he is due to play well in 2012 and 2014.

    • Francisco (FC) - Sep 19, 2011 at 11:00 AM

      For his next contract, Baseball GM’s will offer only half his asking price on odd-years and pay him full price on even years.

      • jamie54 - Sep 19, 2011 at 1:54 PM

        Anyone who even offers him another multi-year contract should be canned. One year offers would be it.

    • dianagram - Sep 19, 2011 at 11:04 AM

      The Bret Saberhagen of outfielders.

      • seattlej - Sep 19, 2011 at 11:55 AM

        That’s a pretty hefty insult to Bret Saberhagen.

    • dirtyharry1971 - Sep 19, 2011 at 11:28 PM

      Wells is just one of a long list of bluejay BUSTS but dont worry proudly you got lots more players getting ready to join that list like drabeck and synder

  2. purnellmeagrejr - Sep 19, 2011 at 11:42 AM

    What did you want the guy to say?

    • cur68 - Sep 19, 2011 at 12:22 PM

      Purnell; loaded question and thank you for asking it. So to answer this veritable gift from the gods of a question here is my answer;
      “Dear Vern, WRT to what I’d like you to say about all that dough you’ve been raking for essentially playing AA ball, here’s my first choice; Id like you to say that you’ll donate it to all the loyal Canadian fans who’ve been on this very blog supporting the team that gave you that fat contract. Yes, the four of us could really use it, and we would likely earn it, too. Thanks Vern, for considering our request for what we’d like you to say about your contract.”

      And thank you Purnell for serving me that one. I’ve always wanted to tell a millionaire to give me some of is dough.

      • Old Gator - Sep 19, 2011 at 2:08 PM

        How about, “I never expected to be born into a world where there were so many people who were dumber than I am.”

  3. kgfugitive - Sep 19, 2011 at 2:37 PM

    Vern, no one in their right mind ever thought you would opt out. You are entitled to that money if you want it.

    Unfortunately, your lousy play has greatly contributed to The Angels coming up a few games short this season. Your “struggles” have put too much pressure on Hunter & Abreu to drive in the runs that you have failed to do over and over this season. Your “struggles” are certainly not setting much of an example to the young players who carried the offensive burden either.

    How about you give us a Carl Crawfod-type apology? I’m struggling to watch everyone of your horrific at bats as well as your poor play in left field.

    Okay, you did not opt out of your contract, but you can still retire. I’ll buy your jersey if you do.

    • dchaban - Sep 19, 2011 at 3:59 PM

      Unfortunately, if he does retire he still gets paid out of Arte’s pocket. It’s unfortunate that he is playing lousy because a healthy Wells would have really added to this lineup. The other thing is that it’s unfortunate that the Angels did trade for him when Trumbo and Trout are proving out to be so good. I see good things in the Angels future – just not Wells.

      • kgfugitive - Sep 19, 2011 at 4:20 PM

        The Wells trade was crazy from day #1 (even when most people thought that Toronto would be kicking in $30 million in cash to the deal).

        What I most greatly fear is this:

        For the next two years Scioscia will play Wells everyday in left field (because he loves underachieving/overpaid vets), and

        GM Tony R. won’t DFA Wells at any point in the next two years because that would be admitting that the trade was horrendous and worthy of his termination.

  4. APBA Guy - Sep 19, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    Better still, try coming to Orange County and see how happy you are on $ 21M per year. I wouldn’t opt out of that either, especially with declining skills. I don’t think he’s worried at all about his next contract. He wont need another one after this one is paid off.

    • mgflolox - Sep 20, 2011 at 12:04 AM

      Need one? Hell, he ain’t gonna GET one after this.

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