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Yet another reason not to sign Vernon Wells

Jan 30, 2014, 1:13 PM EDT

New York Yankees' Wells hits two-run home run against Kansas City Royals in their MLB American League baseball game in Kansas City Reuters

His baseball shortcomings are reason enough not to sign Vernon Wells, but as Ken Rosenthal pointed out yesterday, not signing him has an added bonus: it could save him a million dollars in taxes.

Wells lives in Texas. If he stays home all summer, the money he is owned by the Angels and Yankees is all taxable in Texas, which has no state income tax. If he signs with anyone but the Rangers, Astros, Marlins, Rays and Mariners — major league cities in states without state income taxes — he’s have to pay the taxman for home earnings. No matter where he’d sign he’d have to pay taxes for earnings made on road games in states with an income tax.

So: do Vernon Wells a solid. Don’t sign him.

  1. El Bravo - Jan 30, 2014 at 1:17 PM

    do the rest of the US a solid and DO sign him so the gov has more money for roads, bridges and for building new stadiums on our dime….

    • Jeremy T - Jan 30, 2014 at 1:46 PM

      Well it wouldn’t really be on our dime, would it? It’d be on the Yankees and Angels dime. The rest of the US still has to pay taxes regardless of where Vernon Wells goes.

      • km9000 - Jan 30, 2014 at 5:05 PM

        It’s their dime, but it’s a matter of whether it’s added on to public funds, or Vernon’s pockets.

  2. cackalackyank - Jan 30, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    Given how hard it was for the Angels to pawn him off on the NYY, and the fact that no one claimed off waivers I think he will get his tax break at least into Spring training, maybe until July.

  3. fanofevilempire - Jan 30, 2014 at 1:26 PM

    The tax money would be wasted by the gov’t anyway, they have hundreds of millions invested in penis pumps they purchased and now store in a factory in Virginia.

    • missthemexpos - Jan 30, 2014 at 1:34 PM

      New Slogan: Sign Vernon and help pay for a Penis Pump.

      • fanofevilempire - Jan 30, 2014 at 1:52 PM

        whose slogan is that, omg

      • fanofevilempire - Jan 30, 2014 at 1:53 PM

        who uses that slogan, Craig?

  4. mikhelb - Jan 30, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    I sometimes have the suspicion that Craig takes whatever is discussed in the “Hot Stove” show on MLB network every morning and just writes about that a few hours after it airs… Rosenthal, Greg Amsinger and Mitch Williams said exactly what Craig posted.

    • plmathfoto - Jan 30, 2014 at 2:26 PM

      That’s possible, but pretty sure they don’t defend ARod, or try to discredit any one going against ARod, well actually at all, quite like Craig does EVERY TIME

      • Old Gator - Jan 30, 2014 at 2:42 PM

        You’re another idiot who can’t read and understand what’s right in front of him. Stick around. More of your clueless freres are sure to show up any minute now.

      • plmathfoto - Jan 30, 2014 at 2:47 PM

        Seriously? Why don’t you read exactly what I said and understand it, then go ahead and point me to where I’m wrong.

      • Old Gator - Jan 30, 2014 at 5:10 PM

        You’re wrong in virtually every aspect of what you red. Every one. Craig has never “defended” A-Roid’s drug abuse – he has defended his rights to due process. And he has ridiculed the hysteria surrounding his offenses. Period. Howsabout you pointing out where he’s “defended” A-Roid “every time.”

        And you’re still an idiot.

      • doctorofsmuganomics - Jan 30, 2014 at 5:25 PM

        “You’re wrong in virtually every aspect of what you red. ”


        Must. Resist. Urge. To make snarky joke.

      • vivabear - Jan 30, 2014 at 6:13 PM

        Old Pederast – I think you’re taking these comments a little bit too literally. Use some common sense for once.

      • plmathfoto - Jan 30, 2014 at 7:00 PM

        Love the other comments people made on this. Old Gator, all I can say is, I refuse to have a battle of the wits with an unarmed person. You sound like Craig’s girlfriend defending him. Where did I say anything about him defending ARoid’s drug use? And yes, he constantly defends everything about ARoid’s due process rights being met. It’s almost hypocritical for him to mock the amount of coverage, as he gives coverage to every single piece of news that comes out from it. It would take way too long to show every time he’s defended ARoid, as you said, it might be a much shorter list if we left out the due process stuff, but obviously he’s defended him there every time. Again, read my comment again and see where I ever said he defended his drug use, I never did. I think you have to work your way up to being an idiot by the way, pretty funny you’d call some one else that…twice.

      • doctorofsmuganomics - Jan 30, 2014 at 7:10 PM

        You leave OG alone, he’s good people.

        Besides, you don’t want to be on the wrong side of an original gangsta

    • anxovies - Jan 30, 2014 at 3:50 PM

      Money for nothin’ and chicks for free.

      • Old Gator - Jan 30, 2014 at 5:11 PM

        Nice work if you can get it.

  5. happytwinsfan - Jan 30, 2014 at 1:39 PM

    the money he’s paid by his former employers in california and new york isn’t taxable in those states? you sure?

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 30, 2014 at 1:55 PM

      why did you put Craig on blast?

    • vivabear - Jan 30, 2014 at 2:29 PM

      Yeah – an individual’s income is taxed by the state in which they earn it. Professional athletes pay income tax to multiple states.

  6. nymets4ever - Jan 30, 2014 at 2:04 PM

    Damn, you really despise Vernon Wells

    • zzalapski - Jan 30, 2014 at 2:26 PM

      What in this post is indicative of malice towards Wells, or are you showing off your poor reading comprehension skills again?

  7. proudlycanadian - Jan 30, 2014 at 2:24 PM

    LOL! There have been a couple of prior threads in which team executives were supposed to be interested in Vernon Wells. In both cases, I argued that Vernon was not the source of those stories and that he probably did not intend to play in 2014.

    Once he cleared waivers, his salary for 2014 was completely guaranteed. He had previously stated that he planned to retire at the end of 2014 when his contract expired, so he can simply unofficially advance his retirement by one year. The lack of an income tax in Texas is a bonus.

    He is done and he knows it. His children and grandchildren are probably set for life. Vernon can stay home in Arlington and watch the kids grow up. He can take a few college courses or perhaps try his hand at painting. (His dad is a talented artist.)

    • zzalapski - Jan 30, 2014 at 2:30 PM

      Maybe he can star in a buddy cop show with Chipper Jones.

      Damn right I’d watch it. So would you.

      • proudlycanadian - Jan 30, 2014 at 2:58 PM

        Forget Chipper. His buddy is Michael Young. They became friends when they were Blue Jay minor leaguers.

      • km9000 - Jan 30, 2014 at 4:58 PM

        One would start forest fires.

        The other would let off some steam.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 30, 2014 at 2:41 PM

      Canadian, “his dad is a talented artist”,you always come up with a bit of info that not everyone would know.

      • proudlycanadian - Jan 30, 2014 at 2:56 PM

        Actually, many baseball players own portraits of themselves in uniform painted by Vernon’s dad. Vernon is Vernon Michael Wells 111 and his dad is Vernon Wells 11.

      • doctorofsmuganomics - Jan 30, 2014 at 5:27 PM

        Man. They really liked the number 1 in his family

  8. scottp9 - Jan 30, 2014 at 2:32 PM

    I’m no expert in tax law but this story doesn’t make sense to me. Wells was released and so the money he collects is termination pay, not salary for playing baseball. If he signs with a team this year, the salary he earns for playing baseball is certainly taxable wherever he plays, but I don’t see how that would impact the characterization of his termination pay – he’s not earning that for playing baseball (or doing anything) anywhere.

    Any tax experts here who can comment?

    • vivabear - Jan 30, 2014 at 3:12 PM

      I’m no income tax expert, but my take is: should another team sign Wells now that he’s cleared waivers, they become responsible for ONLY the league minimum portion of his contract. Meaning, he still gets paid the money specified in his original contract but the new team isn’t on the hook for very much of it.

      His origianl contract was guaranteed. The only way he doesn’t get paid is if he retires. It’s still regular earnings, not termination pay. If he plays no baseball, and maintains his residence in Texas, that’s where he’s recognized to have earned that salary.

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jan 30, 2014 at 3:15 PM

      It’s not termination pay – it is money they are contractually obligated to pay him. But regardless, termination pay is still income, and as such, all taxes are calculated the same as regular income. The tax is paid where he earns it, not taxed by locality of the one who pays it

      • scottp9 - Jan 30, 2014 at 5:46 PM

        No, it’s definitely termination pay, because the contract wasn’t claimed on waivers. That contract is over, at least as a baseball contract, and Wells collects the remaining guaranteed salary as termination pay. If he signs with a new club, he signs a new contract and collects salary pursuant to that new contract from his new club, with the Yankees’ termination pay obligation from the old contract off-set against any earned salary – that’s why players in that situation always sign for the minimum salary, because they’re getting the rest of their old guarantee in termination pay anyway.

        However, as you say, termination pay is still income, and taxes would be calculated based on where it is earned. That’s actually my question – if he signs with a new club, is he really “earning” his termination pay where he plays baseball? Seems to me he has already “earned” that termination pay by being released. Or maybe he earns it incrementally over the season, so it does in fact matter where he is and what he’s doing? That’s what I don’t understand.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jan 30, 2014 at 9:48 PM

        To be clear, I am talking about this in terms of tax implications. He is going be paid his salary next year as thought he were still playing – divided into 26 weeks and all that good stuff. That, by any measure is income, not termination pay. Again, talking in terms of taxes

      • vivabear - Jan 30, 2014 at 6:11 PM

        Scott – Not sure if you’re right about the termination pay, based on this from

        When a team wishes to release a player, it must first place his name on the waiver list. This allows any other major league team to claim the player’s existing contract. The claim prevents the player from bargaining as a free agent for more money or refusing to sign with an unattractive team. It also saves the waiving team from paying any guaranteed money as that is the responsibility of the claiming team. These waivers are irrevocable. Players on these waivers do immediately clear space for another player on both their team’s 25-man and 40-man rosters. Every other team for a prescribed period can claim this player’s contract for $1 and add him to their 25-man and 40-man rosters.

        If no claim is made, the player becomes a free agent. Any guaranteed portion of the player’s contract is still paid on each payday by the waiving team. As a free agent, the player can sign with any team. If two or more teams are interested in the player, the player can choose which team to sign with. Given each team refused to buy the player’s contract for the waiver price, it never happens that either of the two teams offer a higher salary than the old contract. But since the waiving team is still on the hook for the guaranteed contract, that means the player gets paid the same amount no matter which team he signs with. So the new team will always pay him the mandated minimum salary and that amount is offset from the old team’s fiscal responsibility. As a result, only players making the minimum or close to it are usually claimed in this manner, as others will be available as cheap free agents in a matter of days.

        For example, Boston’s Yaz passes through unconditional release waivers. The Red Sox had a guaranteed $800,000 left for the season and $1 million for the following season on Yaz’s contract. Both the Yankees and the Rays are interested in Yaz (but not for what his contract called for). Yaz will get paid $1.8 million over the next year and a half. Let’s say that the major league minimum salary for the rest of this season is $150,000 and for all of next year is $400,000. If Yaz signs with the Yankees, the Yankees will pay him $550,000 and the Red Sox $1.25 million through the end of next season. If Yaz signs with the Rays, the Rays will pay him $550,000 and the Red Sox $1.25 million through the end of next season. The Rays can’t tempt Yaz by offering him $950,000. Because Yaz will still get paid $1.8 million over the next year and a half–the Rays will pay him $950,000 and the Red Sox $850,000.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 30, 2014 at 4:18 PM

      Canadian, I had no idea to be honest, like I said good piece of info.

  9. barrywhererufrom - Jan 30, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    Have to love a non-story like this being morphed into a man and state income taxes. Wells overachieved for the Yankees in the first half of the season last year. He is closer to retirement than the big leagues and you turn this into this story. Not suprised I am sure the lettist here will start calling him a 1 percenter, and he muist be signed to pay his fair share. Sorry to say state constitutions are different. .. they don’t have to state income taxes. Just like all Americans we can chose to live where we want. If all states had no state income taxes maybe they would be more afforable to live. I know living in the Soclalist Republic of New York I am working my first 7 months to pay off my tax obligation to the state. So leave Wells enough alone..

    • clydeserra - Jan 30, 2014 at 4:00 PM

      This is not a non story, this is just the kind of thing I like reading about, in addition to the on the field stuff.

      please people, stop calling things a non story, you are not the president’s press secretary. everything it a story.

    • doctorofsmuganomics - Jan 30, 2014 at 5:21 PM

      I’m curious, what exactly is a “lettist”? Are they the people who cut up those heads of lettuce and stick them in those bags in the grocery store?

      • barrywhererufrom - Jan 30, 2014 at 7:01 PM

        Another failure of the American educational system. I hope that you are being sarcastic with your comment. But if you have no idea what a leftist is you are probably one of them. Great leftist include Fidel Castro..Stalin..the hero of the stupid Hugo Chavez..and of course in America the late great swimmer Ted Kennedy. Later day leftist include Van Jones..Nancy Pelosi..Harry Reid…Hillary Clinton and finally.Barack Obama. They all love power and demonize their enemies. Some have them imprisoned or murdered. Others use the irs to target them. They all want your wealth under the guise of fairness. Of course they themselves lived or live in luxury. I hope that clears it up for you but I know when you look in the mirror you know what a leftist looks like and is about.

      • doctorofsmuganomics - Jan 30, 2014 at 7:14 PM

        The fact you didn’t understand that was a joke doesn’t surprise me in the least.

        For the record, stupid you didn’t say “Leftist” Youd said LETTIST. Before you call someone else out make you you have everything correctly spelled.

        And I am a leftist, but that’s neither here nor there, as this is a baseball blog and not politics. Take your old angry white man ramblings to the tea party section of the nearest faux news blog

    • dylanthom2013 - Jan 30, 2014 at 6:47 PM

      Still waiting for you righties to prove fossils were planted by Satan, the universe was made in 6 days, blacks are an inferior species, etc. See, a righty commenting on life is like a retard commenting on education – you’ve never had one, you don’t have one now, and you never will, so why exactly do you think your opinion is relevant to anyone except you? Sigh, where’s a Brazilian death squad to get rid of undesirables like yourself when you need one.

      • doctorofsmuganomics - Jan 30, 2014 at 7:17 PM

        My first guess would be Brazil.

      • barrywhererufrom - Jan 30, 2014 at 7:56 PM

        Doctor,i will give back my my masters degree because i mispelled leftist. Glad you admitted you are a leftist. You guys are more out in the open. I do take umbridge with your comment on race. You have no idea what race i am. Liberals,are,obsessed with it. You are worst type of race baiting bag of balls. Its all you got.,dont worry your heroes policies have failed and america will rebound. Now go vack,to watching the,al,sharpton show you racist pos..

      • dylanthom2013 - Jan 30, 2014 at 8:25 PM

        Barry, you’re a waste of resources. Why not off yourself so the oxygen you receive could go to something that contributes more than you do to society, like say a mushroom. Shoo shoo little parasite, that’s a good freak…

      • doctorofsmuganomics - Jan 30, 2014 at 9:46 PM

        I didn’t call you stupid because you misspelled leftist. I called you stupid for misspelling leftist, and then going on to ramble on about how *I* was a product of a failed educational system because I made a joke on YOUR misstep. A point I can’t help but notice you side-stepped there.

        Point out kindly where I “quote/unquote”: race-baited. If it was the “old white man tea-party ramblings, I assure you that was not so much pointed at you, as it was the group of people of which you seem to be a stereotypical product of.

        I take no shame in my political views: Unlike yourself however I’m usually wise enough not to bring politics onto a baseball blog because I know that nobody really cares here. If you’d like to debate baseball, I’ll be more than happy to point out why the Detroit Tigers or Kansas City Royals are better than the team you root for.

        Don’t worry, this is all going on your bill, by the way.

  10. clydeserra - Jan 30, 2014 at 3:58 PM

    Washington State too, yeah?

  11. fmjoe44 - Jan 30, 2014 at 4:00 PM

    Vernon who?

  12. Kevin Gillman - Jan 30, 2014 at 4:32 PM

    So how do certain states get away from not paying state taxes, and most of us have to?

    • APBA Guy - Jan 30, 2014 at 4:57 PM

      Property taxes can be higher in no income tax states than in states with income taxes. When I lived in Texas my property taxes were much higher than when I lived in Virginia, which has a state income tax. Also, there are differences in how much a given state supports public schools, builds roads, provides benefits to citizens, etc..Finally, states get differing amounts from Federal sources. Some, like Texas, get more in Federal money than they provide in Federal taxes.

      • Kevin Gillman - Jan 31, 2014 at 12:01 AM

        Okay, thank you for bringing that up. It makes sense then.

    • vivabear - Jan 30, 2014 at 5:01 PM

      Depends on the state. They all have their own tax structures. Some states rely heavily on income tax for revenue, other rely on other sources such as sales tax, mineral tax, etc. Some states don’t have sales tax either. I believe Alaska has neither sales or income tax. They rely on oil and mineral taxes.

  13. stephenolszewski - Jan 30, 2014 at 5:47 PM


  14. jobber33 - Jan 30, 2014 at 7:05 PM

    That is just plain RUDE to expect someone to pay taxes, Wells isn’t the only MLB player that gets away with it. That’s why most players move to states like Texas and Arizona.

    • proudlycanadian - Jan 30, 2014 at 7:16 PM

      Wells is originally from Arlington, Texas and continues to live there.

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