Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
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?