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Vernon Wells nearing return, but do Angels want him back?

Jul 17, 2012, 12:51 PM EDT

Angels batter Vernon Wells hits a two-run home run during their MLB American League baseball game in Toronto

Vernon Wells is close to returning from a torn thumb ligament that has sidelined him since mid-May, but with Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo, and Torii Hunter entrenched as the Angels’ starting outfield and Kendry Morales playing every day at designated hitter … well, do they even want him back?

Wells had a miserable 2011 and was only slightly better this season before the injury, hitting .244 with a .282 on-base percentage and .422 slugging percentage in 38 games. He still has 20-homer, but the combination of a low batting average and terrible plate discipline makes Wells an out-machine.

He might fit decently in a platoon role spotted mostly versus left-handed pitching, but Trout, Trumbo, and Hunter are all right-handed hitters. Morales is a switch-hitter who’s struggled against lefties, so a Morales-Wells platoon at DH could work.

Wells needs to go on a minor-league rehab assignment before coming off the disabled list, so the Angels likely have a week or so to figure out a plan for their unwanted outfielder with about $50 million remaining on his contract.

  1. hansob - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    maybe they could find a team willing to trade for him if they include, like, $5M to cover a portion of his contract?

    Nah… no one is THAT stupid.

  2. nbjays - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    Well, the Jays don’t want him back. We have plenty of outfielders, good ones even.

    Waitaminute… can he pitch?

  3. ptfu - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    They also have Bourjos as a more-than-capable fourth outfielder: less pop than Wells but better defense, plus he’s almost ten years younger. Wells is gonna be a fifth outfielder/DH platoon.

    I suppose the Angels could juggle their infield to squeeze Wells into the lineup. If Pujols can play 3B once in a while, then Morales can play 1B and Wells/Trumbo can play DH/corner OF. That replaces Callaspo/Izturis with Wells’ bat in the lineup…which might not actually be an improvement. Plus it weakens the defense and disrupts a star. Never mind.

    Ugh. Wells really is terrible.

    • bsbiz - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:59 PM

      The problem isn’t really Wells. The problem is the $50mill he’s still owed.

      • elgorditodehumboldt - Jul 17, 2012 at 2:31 PM

        The problem is both Wells AND his contract. Release him and be done with it.

      • bsbiz - Jul 17, 2012 at 2:33 PM

        Except that then the Angels have to eat the $50mill they still owe him.

        If it wasn’t for the money, he likely would be released as soon as he’s healthy or he would have been a while ago. Or traded as soon as he’s healthy. That Godzilla sized albatross of a contract he’s working under is the fundamental problem with Wells.

      • Glen - Jul 18, 2012 at 12:54 AM

        More than that is the problem that when he’s back on the team, Scioscia will find a way to start him 4-5 times a week.

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  4. SmackSaw - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    When he makes contact he hits the ball HARD. I have Angels season tix. The sound of the ball coming off his bat is like a cannon shot. Trumbo runs a close 2nd. He’s a lot like Adam Dunn, except Wells can run and field. The Angels should just cut him loose. He’ll catch on somewhere. The Astros could use him.

    • echech88 - Jul 17, 2012 at 2:07 PM

      The only similarity between Dunn and Wells is their batting average. Wells does not hit for power as consistently and Dunn leads the league in walks.

  5. echech88 - Jul 17, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    As an Angel fan it goes without saying he should just be released. Anyone who can objectively look at the player Wells is knows that he is not only a detriment to the lineup, but also is the antithesis of our GM’s philosophy.

    But the decision will not go this way because the guy pulling the trigger is not objective.

    As someone who read about how involved and even excited Arte was in bringing Vernon in (unfathomable now), I have a hard time believing Moreno cuts him loose and eats the money until at least this point next season.

    Torii will be gone next year and Scioscia doesn’t have the guts to bench Wells in favor of Bourjos so Wells will be given the opportunity to replace Hunter in the outfield.

    The only reason he has this much rope is because Moreno’s pride (and wallet) is so intertwined in that trade. It’s sad.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jul 17, 2012 at 3:37 PM

      Eating 50 million dollars is not easy, no matter who you are.

  6. turdfurgerson68 - Jul 17, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    Vernon Wells = Worst. Contract. Ever.

    • proudlycanadian - Jul 17, 2012 at 3:39 PM

      Ever hear of a pitcher named Brown?

    • ezthinking - Jul 17, 2012 at 5:32 PM

      Maybe, but Hampton, Zito, Lackey, Brown, Figgins, Crawford maybe, Soriano, Howard can give him a run for the money.

    • surefooted1 - Jul 17, 2012 at 8:02 PM

      When his contract is up in 5 years, they’ll be in the same situation with Pujols.

  7. elgorditodehumboldt - Jul 17, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    Angels are in a no-win situation with Vernon Wells. Cut him loose and you are paying him an awful (pun intended) amount of money to play for someone else. Keep him and you risk ruining the great chemistry that they have built up since Trout was called up. Glad this is not my decision to make.

  8. pxeeks - Jul 17, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    Worst contract of all time in any sport this Wells guy got. Brown pitcher up there too. Good call!

  9. jkaflagg - Jul 17, 2012 at 9:28 PM

    This is pretty simple – you are obligated to pay his salary, but you are not obligated to play him ahead of better players and hurt the team. As a guy who plays mediocre defense and has been trying to find his groove at the plate for more than a year, he doesn’t offer any value as a bench or platoon player either. I don’t think it will kill Arte’s ego to release him either – he’s always got the ghost of Tony Reagins to take the blame.
    Finally, I think Vernon is a good guy – but it’s unfortunate that his skills seemed to have deteriorated at a rapid rate. I think he’ll get a shot with another team and maybe he’ll find a niche – but it just won’t happen in Anaheim, where he’ll always been seen more as a bad contract than a player.

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