January 21st, 2011- Blue Jays trade Vernon Wells To The Angels For Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera
The Vernon Wells trade wasn’t as much about the players being exchanged then it was about the financial flexibility it created for the Blue Jays. Alex Anthopoulos did the impossible shipping Wells and his enormous contract to the Los Angeles Angels. The deal at the time rocked the baseball world as many thought the contract was unmoveable and the Blue Jays would be saddled with the financial repercussions until the term expired.
Following a career year in 2006, Wells signed a 7 year/ $126 million dollar contract extension with the Blue Jays. Wells would eventually regress and the contract would handcuff the Blue Jays front office from making future moves. Anthopoulos recently went on record to say they may not have been able to keep Jose Bautista in the fold had they not packaged Wells and the remaining $86 million owed to the Angels for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera.
Wells would play for only three more seasons following the trade and accumulate a -0.3 WAR rating with the Angels and Yankees. Prior to the trade, Wells totaled a 28.7 WAR in his 12 years with Toronto.
The Jays would flip Napoli almost immediately to the Texas Rangers in exchange for reliever Frank Francisco and Rivera would be designated for assignment later that the season after 70 games with the club.
This trade along with the Josh Donaldson acquisition have to be the two most memorable and lopsided trades of the “Silent Assasin’s” tenure with the Blue Jays. Well done A.A.
Jays Journal Site Expert: Clayton Richer