Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday Afternoon Rambling: Vernon Wells


I thought that I would have a little fun this morning. I am going to throughout a wild and crazy idea and see how everyone reacts. I want to start by stating that what I am about to suggest is not completely serious, nor do I think that it is being considered by Jays management.

There has been some talk about the Toronto Blue Jays bench not being strong enough for the upcoming 162 game grind.  There has been much speculation about whether Anthony Gose or Moises Sierra will be adequate to fill the 4th outfielder spot on that bench. Why not bring back Vernon Wells? Vernon was released by the New York Yankees this off-season and isn’t expected to play this season. He also isn’t expected to retire either, since he would not receive the final $21 million he is owed for the final year that fantastic contract he signed way back in 2006. You remember that contract, right? At the time it was viewed as a major step forward for the Blue Jays. J.P. Ricciardi was able to retain Wells for what many believed was market value since he was a highly sought after commodity. At the time many teams would have gladly handed Wells the same kind of money.

That was then and this is now.

As I already stated, Vernon was waived by the Yankees and passed through unclaimed. So at the moment he has no team and is considered a free agent.  It won’t require much  to entice Vernon to sign since most of his contract is being absorbed by the Anaheim Angels ($18 million) and the Yankees ($2 million). I am not sure that ‘IF’ Vernon Wells is interested in resurrecting his career Wells if he would even consider a one year deal with a chance to play.

The Toronto Blue Jays could offer Wells that type of opportunity. Let’s be honest, Wells can still play every outfield position, maybe not at Gold Glover calibre, but he can still play the position better than most. Maybe we could turn him into a super utility type….heck he played 1st (8 innings), 3rd (1 inning), and 2nd (a 1/3 of an inning) for the Yankees last season. Oh, maybe we could convert him to 2nd base and platoon with Ryan Goins. Just kidding, but this does show that is a team player. Vernon would inevitably provide this team with class, leadership, and veteran presence. He also knows the city, the fans, the coach, and won’t be expected to do too much. Wells appeared in 130 games last year and started off very well, but quickly came down to earth to finish the year batting .233/.282/.349 and 11 dingers. As bench guy he wouldn’t be expected to play 130 games, maybe 100 appearances as a late inning replacement in the outfield, pinch runner, and as a pinch hitter.  His main role on this team would be to provide a day off here and there for our regular outfielders.  We would have to worry about the number of AB’s he would receive or stagnating his development like we would with Gose, Pillar or Sierra.

Although this was written as a tongue in cheek type post, I truly think that Vernon Wells could provide some value for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2014 and so do the Philadelphia Phillies. At the end of the day I believe that he will spend 2014 relaxing in Texas collecting his $21 million and will announce his retirement at the end of the season. I leave you with one last thought, a serious one, What would this Jays team look like had VW been able to maintain slightly below his 2006 form and Alex Rios be able to maintain somewhere close to a consistent version of his 2006/2007 form?

Tags: Toronto Blue Jays Vernon Wells

  • Eric

    Wouldn’t mind wells off the bench cheap tbh.

    • Ryan Mueller

      like league minimum cheap?

  • Doug Hall

    I like Wells , but would be really disappointed if that would mean losing Sierra as he is out of options. I believe he is going to be a good player as he moves forward .Good bat and great arm. I don’t want to see him coming back to haunt us.

    • Ryan Mueller

      Doug,
      Sierra does seem to have solid upside and would most likely put up better numbers than VW at this stage in his career.

  • Quincy-Sam

    There was a time when VW was about our best player. He could probably handle a bench role, but not sure fans could. I still think Sierra is going to be packaged with a couple of pitchers before the end of spring training. So maybe an opening will come where Wells might be a fit. Jays still have to move 2 pitchers also without options if memory serves me correctly. I still see a significant trade before the start of the season (package) as teams do their reality checks including their pens and what players they have without options. AA made a few references to this at winter meetings. Since then restated that prices will come down in March when talking about trades, not FAs.

    Does anyone know if Wells will still get paid by other teams if Jays sign him to a minor league contract?

    • http://jaysjournal.com/ Michael Wray

      He would still get paid but it’s a very strange situation… because he lives in Texas he won’t pay state income tax on his earnings. But if he signs with a team outside of a tax free state (like Toronto) he would need to pay income tax on those earnings and would actually make less money by playing and even if he signs with a team in a tax free state he would still have to pay taxes for the time he “worked” in other states.

      • Ryan Mueller

        I don’t really see this being an issue. If he were to be taxed on his low low salary of $21mill he would loss roughly a $1mill in taxes. Pretty sure that he could afford it. The other tax free states he could sign with (other than Texas) are Florida and Washington.

    • Ryan Mueller

      We will have injuries that will take place this spring, dare I say hopefully one or two of those injuries will be with players that are out of options. In all seriousness, injuries happen every spring to every team. This makes our healthy players more attractive to other teams but also more valuable for us. It would be great if we could hold onto them until say April and start making trades at that time, which would allow us to better evaluate what we already have.

  • Len Nunes

    VDub coming back is a rubberstamp to failure simply because that means Sierra/Gose couldn’t fill the bench role which would be an ominous sign as to how our young pitchers will fill out the pitching rotation

    i know their different aspects of the game, but i’m trying to buy AA’s “options within the club are better than options outside the organization”

  • SM

    Need to move forward with this team, not bring back old has-beens. I appreciate you clarifying at the start that this is not meant to be a serious article.

    • Ryan Mueller

      I would hardly call VW a has-beens, although I understand where you are coming from. My stance on bring VW back would be to provide a veteran presence off the bench. Ultimately, Gose will make the trip from Buffalo a few times this season and I see Sierra getting the mother load of 4th outfielder time. With any luck Sierra will prove to be a major hitter and a serviceable outfielder…ps I am a fan of him getting reps at 1st.