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Mike Scioscia doesn’t have any sympathy for Vernon Wells

Aug 6, 2012, 11:51 AM EDT

Vernon Wells Reuters Reuters

Vernon Wells hasn’t played much since coming off the disabled list because a) he’s been really bad since the beginning of last season, and b) the Angels have Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo, and Torii Hunter in the outfield.

In what limited playing time he has gotten Wells is 0-for-15 with five strikeouts and zero walks, but manager Mike Scioscia doesn’t seem to be buying into the whole “he needs to play regularly to be productive” talk, telling Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times:

You might not find a groove, but you have to have better at-bats. You might not get locked in, but it doesn’t mean you’re not going to contribute. Vernon should be on some pitches and hit the ball hard even with limited playing time. … You have to be able to get it done. That’s the bottom line.

Scioscia is right, of course. Playing once or twice a week obviously isn’t ideal for any hitter, but Wells put himself in that position by performing horribly while getting everyday playing time last season and at the beginning of this season.

He’s hit .218 with a ghastly .249 on-base percentage and .405 slugging percentage in 685 plate appearances and 173 games for the Angels and the only reason they haven’t cut Wells already is that he’s being paid $21 million this season and is owed $21 million in 2013 and 2014.

  1. zakharovsa - Aug 6, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    Nah, the reason they haven’t cut him is because the Angels, like every other team, don’t understand the concept of a sunk cost.

    • danfrommv - Aug 6, 2012 at 12:48 PM

      I think there are 2 reasons the Angels haven’t cut him:

      1) If the cut him and eat the contract, he could come back to “haunt” them with some other team either this year or within the next 2 years. But the bigger reason is:

      2) Torii Hunter’s $18M runs out this year. The Angels probably won’t resign him and that opens up a spot for Vernon Wells next year. The Angels will probably try to sign Greinke and pick up Haren’s option (or renogiate down with him) and let Earvin Santana go. The payroll is enormous and Torii’s expriing contract was one item that will in the calculation for signing Pulhols

      • stex52 - Aug 6, 2012 at 1:26 PM

        Just don’t see the point:

        1.) How much can Wells haunt anybody? He hasn’t been good in a while. And what other team is going to be crazy enough to touch him for 42 MM$?

        2.) Sunk cost, like was said above. Right now anyone at AAA could come in and play to better numbers for 450M$ (I think that’s the league minimum). That is a tiny incremental cost over the dead weight they are carrying already.

      • GoneYickitty - Aug 6, 2012 at 2:11 PM


        As far as your point #1 … that’s not the way it works in baseball. If the Angels cut him they will keep paying him all them money. If someone else picks him up after he clears waivers (which he certainly would), that club will only pay him the prorated league minimum and the Angels are still on the hook for the rest.

      • umrguy42 - Aug 6, 2012 at 2:18 PM

        stex, I’m gonna assume you meant $450K, not $450M, cuz otherwise, the league minimum just took a helluva jump when people weren’t looking :p

      • jarathen - Aug 6, 2012 at 2:54 PM

        Unless the Angels grab someone on the FA market, the outfield next year is Trout-Bourjos-Trumbo. And don’t rule out the return of Hunter. And they ahve a serviceable depth guy in Kole Calhoun in SLC.

        Vernon Wells is not going to come back and haunt them. He’s terrible and should be let go.

      • Detroit Michael - Aug 6, 2012 at 4:55 PM

        If Wells were released and another team signed him, he is more likely to haunt the team that signs him thatn the Angels. It’s not a valid reason for the Angels to keep him.

      • stex52 - Aug 6, 2012 at 10:47 PM

        A couple of comments.

        1. You are right. My mistake. The Angels are on the hook for the bigger amount. But he is still a sunk cost. Get someone in there who has a future with the club.

        2. umrguy, I work as an engineer in the chemical industry. Standard abbeviation for us:
        M$ = thousand $
        MM$ = million dollar

      • tom5467 - Aug 21, 2012 at 10:12 PM

        No way that Hunter isn’t back. Wells has nothign to do with that, and they’ll eat his contract before they lose a productive option like Hunter.
        I’d dump him now.

  2. dwrek5 - Aug 6, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    Don’t count your opportunities, make your opportunities count!

  3. spudatx - Aug 6, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    I still can’t figure it out. Did Obi Wan Kenobi make this trade with some of his “These are not the droids…” magic on the Angels front office? Wells seems to be contributing only slightly less than anyone should have expected.

    • Glenn - Aug 6, 2012 at 12:51 PM

      I couldn’t agree more. The only thing worse than giving Wells that contract is trading for it after he had already started showing declining skills.

      • danfrommv - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:16 AM

        But they had to get rid of Mike Napoli and his 30 HR and 100 RBIs. Good job, Tony Reagins. Worst trade ever.

    • cur68 - Aug 6, 2012 at 1:26 PM

      Alex Anthopoulos: Jedi Master.

      • deathmonkey41 - Aug 6, 2012 at 3:57 PM

        I’m beginning to think he might have had something to do with this then…

      • jaysjunkie - Aug 6, 2012 at 7:47 PM

        I think that makes J.P. Ricciardi (who signed him to the idiotic deal) Jar Jar Binks.

    • danfrommv - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:10 AM

      Only Tony Reagins would trade for an untradeable contract. That is why Tony Reagins is no longer a GM.

  4. sisqsage - Aug 6, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    Vernon Wells: The Angels’ answer to Barry Zito.

    • bravojawja - Aug 6, 2012 at 12:16 PM

      Except Zito’s been pretty useful the last few years.

    • chill1184 - Aug 6, 2012 at 1:08 PM

      Naw, I would compare him to Jason Bay even though Wells has better numbers.

  5. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Aug 6, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    I am not sure if Wells is actually complaining about playing time, but there are ways he could get more that are entirely within his control. Approach the Angels front office and propose that they void the contract and make him a free agent. He would find some team that would play him, but for far less dollars. If he wants to make $21MM/year, the only option is to get dusty on the Angels bench.

  6. icanspeel - Aug 6, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    Gotta love baseball.. Mike Trout is helping carry the team making pennies compared to Vernon Wells who is hurting the team and making 21 mill a year doing it.

    • kkolchak - Aug 6, 2012 at 12:35 PM

      Wells is getting paid for what HE did when he was younger, just like Trout will get paid when his time comes. Time will tell if Trout remains a hugely productive player after he gets his first big pay day down the road.

      If the owners don’t want to pay out such ridiculous amounts to useless players, they should stop giving out such ridiculous long term contracts.

      • vanmorrissey - Aug 6, 2012 at 1:05 PM

        Uhh, wrong. He never played well enough for that bloated contract, never.

  7. deathmonkey41 - Aug 6, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    I’m sure he goes home every night and cries himself to sleep on a giant pile of money.

  8. papalurchdxb - Aug 6, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    it’s like soccer players in the UK on crazy (although not Vernon) wages – they sit on the bench or in the reserves on $75k a week because they lost the drive to perform when they got their contracts and complain about playing time – it’s just an attempted smokescreen to keep the fans off their backs about being overpaid benchwarmers. Sabathia’s right, if he wants to play, he’ll make it happen.

  9. uyf1950 - Aug 6, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    Got to be honest don’t have a whole lot of sympathy for the Angels either. No one forced them to take Wells of the Blue Jays hands.

  10. jikkle49 - Aug 6, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    Arte promised fans after the 2010 season that moves would be made and they were convinced they had Carl Crawford that offseason but when Boston swooped in and grabbed him their GM Reagins didn’t have a plan B than panicked and made one of the stupidest trades of all time. With the brilliant logic of it’s just a 4 year deal since that’s all the years Wells had left on his contract. Reminds me of the old 2 10 game winners = 1 20 game winner when they traded Nolan Ryan logic.

    Every Angel fan was horrified when they made this move because we all knew Trout was in the wings and we didn’t need a 21 million average at best OF blocking his path.

    Take us to present day and loe and behold the Angels have 21 million dollars wasting away on the bench that could be used to extend Grenike (they’ll probably extend him anyways) or go after areas they desperately need help in (bullpen).

    Best hope for the Angels is to find a team that will trade for him and that is willing to pay a few million of his contract while the Angels eat the majority of it.

    • danfrommv - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:12 AM

      Technical point. Didn’t trade Nolan Ryan, just didn’t sign him. I agree it was the biggest mistake in franchise history, though. When you can’t hit, you can’t replace 16-8 with 2 8-4 pitchers.

  11. SmackSaw - Aug 6, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    $42 million bucks is nothing to Arte Moreno. If Wells bitches, they’ll cut him. Sounds like Scioscia already has.

  12. jimatkins - Aug 6, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    Wells is probably the worst contract in MLB today. The Halos already ate a bundle on Bobby Abreu this year, and I think there is some reticence to chow down on this steaming heap too. Kinda wonder if Scioscia talking realistic smack about Vernon is part of a plan to get him pissed off enough to retire or something. He’s never going to play everyday, barring Trout, Trumbo and Bourjos all getting hit by lightning. Just another player trying to ignore reality.

    • danfrommv - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:14 AM

      If you have a contract for $42M over the next 2 years, you don’t retire. Regardless of how crappy you are. You hope they cut you and pay you like Bobby Abreau. Sad state of affairs. Eddy Curry of MLB

  13. keithbangedyermom - Aug 6, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    Good. I am so sick of these overpaid veteran bums like Wells and cough – Jason Bay – cough – playing only because they make ridiculous money. Ride some pine. If only the Mets were that smart.

  14. doctora49 - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    As long as Vernon is living in the dugout have him sweep up trash, scrape up chewed gum and keep the beverages stocked.

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