The non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone, but I'm not ready to stop talking trade just yet. As we all know, trades can still happen via the waiver process now. Typically, the only players that make it through waivers are players with big contracts that nobody wants to claim or players who aren't good enough for anyone to want to claim. Turns out the Angels have one of each of those and they are both the same person. That would be one Mr. Vernon Wells.
It was only a few weeks ago that I published a jocular post about how unlikely it would be for the Angels to trade Wells, but I've reconsidered. Wells and his 0-for-coming off the DL hasn't done much to change things, but seeing some of the rumors that popped up combined with the kind of desperation that infects certain teams as they make a run at a playoff spot and there could be a chance that someone does the Angels a favor and takes Vernon Wells off their hands.
We all give Wells a lot of grief, but 18 months ago he was coming off a very productive season and even in his disastrous 2011 campaign he hit lefties to the tune of an .851 OPS. Plus, he does still rate as a quality defender in left field.
But don't get too excited, no matter how desperate teams get, they aren't going to get desperate enought to take on much of Wells' contract, however there is a value to the Halos if they can clear a roster spot, add a low-level prospect and save some pocket change.
So who wants to help a JeDi out?
Could it be the San Francisco Giants? They reportedly had a deal in place at one point to acquire Alfonso Soriano, who isn't that dissimilar to Wells, only to have Soriano veto the move. The Giants would go on to add Hunter Pence instead, so that might take them out of the bidding, even if it is a penny auction.
Maybe the Detroit Tigers will take a chance on Wells? They too showed interest in Soriano before the deadline, but they definitely still have a need in the outfield, specifically a right-handed platoon mate for Brennan Boesch, if not an outright replacement for him. In a strange turn of events, it might be the Angels who would be unwilling to let Detroit take Wells from them. As of right now, the Tigers are three games back of the Halos in the Wild Card race and it is seldom ever a good idea, although one could argue that the Angels would actually be sabotaging the Tigers from within by giving them their version of a sleeper agent in Wells.
Why not the Baltimore Orioles? If ever there was a team that actually needed Wells it would be the Orioles. This is a "contender" that has been forced to pull Lew Ford off the scrapheap and use him as their starting left fielder in recent days. Again, the Halos run the risk of strengthening another Wild Card contender, but since most everyone assumes the O's will fall out of the race at any second, it would be a great chance to get some kind of return without much risk.
How about the Pittsburgh Pirates? They transformed themselves into a halfway house for depleted sluggers at the deadline when they picked up Travis Snider and Gaby Sanchez. They'd do well to hedge their bets on those two reclamation projects by adding Wells to the mix too. And with a team that young, it wouldn't hurt them to bring in a veteran clubhouse guy like Wells either.
This whole conversation could be moot if Wells doesn't start showing just a little something. He's gotten a somewhat unexpected bounty of playing time since coming off the DL thanks to Mark Trumbo's back ailment, but not even Scioscia's undying love for veterans is going to be able to keep Vernon in the lineup much more if he continues looking this lost at the plate and most certainly no scout is going to recommend to his GM that they take a flier on Wells via trade.
Photo courtesy of Daylife.com
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I feel badly for VW. Seems like an OK guy, has decent talent but, let's face it, was never, EVER going to live up to that ridiculous contract. What's he supposed to do when they throw a number like that at him? None of us would say "no", that's for sure. Now he's just a joke and I can't even imagine the pressure he must feel in this situation. It's sad for us as fans but I'll bet it's a living nightmare for him. An unfortunate story all the way around.