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Friday, January 10, 2014

Yankees Designate Vernon Wells For Assignment

I feel in retrospect that not enough was made of Exicardo Cayones and Kramer Sneed going in the same deal.

The Yankees have designated Vernon Wells for assignment, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney (on Twitter)...

The Yankees need room on their 40-man roster because although they’ve agreed to deals with Brian Roberts and Matt Thornton, neither has been officially announced at this time (as noted earlier today by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports)...

Wells, 35, was acquired by the Yankees last offseason in exchange for Exicardo Cayones and Kramer Sneed… Wells posted a .495 OPS with just one homer from May 16 through season’s end… finishing with a batting line of .233/.282/.349 in 458 plate appearances.

Wells is owed $21MM this season, $18.6MM of which comes from the Angels, with the Yankees on the hook for just $2.4MM.

(The Thornton signing has since become official.)

The District Attorney Posted: January 10, 2014 at 06:06 PM | 36 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: matt thornton, transactions, vernon wells, yankees

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   1. Jim (jimmuscomp) Posted: January 10, 2014 at 11:44 PM (#4636093)
Wells is owed $21MM this season, $18.6MM of which comes from the Angels


####### Tony Reagans is an idiot.
   2. Davo Dozier Posted: January 11, 2014 at 12:01 AM (#4636100)
Saw on MLBTR they were having a 40-man roster crunch--guess this was the result.

He's not completely useless; I imagine he'll pop up somewhere. Angels fans might kill me, but I can't help but think he's a decent fit there (split DH at bats with the lefty Ibanez and fill in as a 4th outfielder they need after trading Bourjos).
   3. JJ1986 Posted: January 11, 2014 at 12:11 AM (#4636103)
What are the Yankees planning to do at 3B? Even if A-Rod gets only 50 games, I don't think you want to start Johnson at third and Roberts full-time at 2B.
   4. Davo Dozier Posted: January 11, 2014 at 12:19 AM (#4636106)
3--apparently in talks with Mark Reynolds
   5. Tripon Posted: January 11, 2014 at 12:56 AM (#4636118)
What the heck happened with Vernon Wells? He seemly went from near all star performance to below replacement level in one go.
   6. Baldrick Posted: January 11, 2014 at 04:08 AM (#4636156)
What the heck happened with Vernon Wells? He seemly went from near all star performance to below replacement level in one go.

I can explain that. Uh, see it used to be milk, and well, time makes fools of us all.
   7. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: January 11, 2014 at 09:36 AM (#4636170)
1) Gettin' old's a b#tch, and

2) Wells was never that good anyway. He parlayed his decent 2010 season into $68M the past 3 years (plus another $21M this year), in which he produced a whopping -0.1 WAR. (Now, that's value...!)
   8. Davo Dozier Posted: January 11, 2014 at 11:18 AM (#4636192)
#5--Injuries definitely played a role, too (he broke his wrist in 2008, and we've seen tons of examples of how that injury ruins the ability to hit for power). Also, the fact that he was never good at taking walks really sped up his decline.
   9. PreservedFish Posted: January 11, 2014 at 11:54 AM (#4636208)
Exicardo Cayones and Kramer Sneed


Wow.
   10. DL from MN Posted: January 11, 2014 at 12:01 PM (#4636214)
Gettin' old's a b#tch


Isn't that the 2014 Yankee slogan?
   11. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 11, 2014 at 12:12 PM (#4636223)
He's not completely useless; I imagine he'll pop up somewhere.


At this point, he's at best a warm body to take up space in AAA.
   12. Tripon Posted: January 11, 2014 at 12:28 PM (#4636240)


At this point, he's at best a warm body to take up space in AAA.


Considering the amount of money he made, and his age, I don't think Vernon Wells would tolerate spending a couple of months in AAA just to get a chance of a bench role eventually in the Majors somewher.
   13. BDC Posted: January 11, 2014 at 12:31 PM (#4636242)
Comps for Vernon Wells, OF centered in him in terms of PA and OPS+:

Player                Rfield   PA OPSWAR/pos  SB        Pos
Curt Flood                99 6957  100    41.9  88   
*8H/7549
Tom Brunansky             44 7169  106    21.7  69   
*9/78HD3
Sam West                  37 6973  104    28.9  54    
*8H7/39
Charlie Jamieson          18 7511  101    23.8 131   
*79/H813
Dode Paskert              11 6997  108    24.6 293 
*87/9H3564
Tommy Harper             
-25 7162  101    25.9 408  7958HD/43
Vernon Wells             
-26 7212  104    28.8 109 *87/D9H345
Frank Thomas             
-39 6915  107    18.6  15   7583H/94
Claudell Washington      
-63 7367  106    19.5 312    *978H/D
Gus Bell                 
-65 7069  103    15.5  30       897H 


Always appreciate a Dode Paskert sighting. That's a solid minor-star comps list, I have to say. The main problem with Wells's career is that nobody ever knew whether he'd show up quite a bit better than that, or quite a bit worse, each year. By contrast, somebody like Brunansky had a comparatively monotonous career: a very dependable ballplayer.
   14. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 11, 2014 at 12:42 PM (#4636250)
The main problem with Wells's career is that nobody ever knew whether he'd show up quite a bit better than that, or quite a bit worse, each year.

Yeah, you don't really expect a borderline All-Star player (avg. 4.6 WAR from 24-27) to put up a couple of 1 WAR seasons in his prime. Makes it hard to build a team.
   15. Walt Davis Posted: January 12, 2014 at 08:12 PM (#4637319)
Always appreciate a Dode Paskert sighting. That's a solid minor-star comps list, I have to say. The main problem with Wells's career is that nobody ever knew whether he'd show up quite a bit better than that, or quite a bit worse, each year. By contrast, somebody like Brunansky had a comparatively monotonous career: a very dependable ballplayer.

Wells is really near the top of that list because he was a CF. Flood has the big WAR advantage because he kills him on defense but he and West are second in WAR. Anyway, P-I now lets you sort by dWAR so if you're not going to limit comps by strict position, it would be better to use that than Rfield. So, for example, despite the 7 win difference in Rfield, Wells had slightly more dWAR than Bruno (-1 vs. -3).

Harper is a pretty good comp because he was also erratic. From 22-24, he was about a 3-WAR player (7.6 WAR in <1600 PA). But from 25-28, only 3.5 WAR in 1900 PA. Then at 29 he put up 7.4 WAR! Then just 2.3 WAR total the next 2 seasons but 4.8 WAR at 32. Then barely above replacement from 33 on.

1970 was my first real year as a baseball fan and, although he was in the lesser league, I thought Harper was a demi-god -- 31 HR and 38 steals got you good press in those days.
   16. Walt Davis Posted: January 12, 2014 at 08:32 PM (#4637356)
He parlayed his decent 2010 season into $68M the past 3 years (plus another $21M this year), in which he produced a whopping -0.1 WAR.

That's a funny way to put it. He signed that contract before the 2007 season (an extension), his 2010 performance has nothing to do with his earnings from 2011-14. His 2010 performance may have suckered the Angels into trading for him.

That contract really didn't look crazy at the time. From 2003-6, Wells had 18 WAR and was coming off his age-27 6.2 WAR season and third GG. He was under their control for 2007, then would be an FA. The contract covered his age 29-35 seasons. That same offseason, Soriano signed for 8/$136 (ages 31-38) and Carlos Lee for 6/$100 (31-36). GMjr got his 5/$65 or whatever contract that year (ages 32-36). In the middle of the 2007 season, Ichiro extended for 5/$90 (34-39) and the next offseason Hunter got 5/$90 for ages 32-36.

In that environment, signing Wells still in his prime was reasonable.

Scoring those contracts:

Hunter 21 WAR -- clear winner
Ichiro 16 WAR -- good enough
Lee 9 WAR -- awarded 3rd place at $11 M per WAR
Soriano 9 WAR -- needs positive WAR this year to stay ahead of Wells
Wells 7 WAR
GMj 0 WAR

Not really much diffrence between Lee, Soriano and Wells.
   17. Matthew E Posted: January 12, 2014 at 08:48 PM (#4637397)
In that environment, signing Wells still in his prime was reasonable.

I dunno... at the time, my reaction was along the lines of, "Well, I like Wells, and I think he's got another couple of good years in him, so that's good, but that contract is gonna be no fun at all towards the end of it. I think they would have been better off just letting him go, sad as that would be."
   18. Walt Davis Posted: January 12, 2014 at 09:04 PM (#4637419)
Other recent comps:

Holliday, 20.5 WAR from 26-29, 7/$120, 16.6 WAR, 3 to go
Werth, 16 WAR from 28-31, 7/$126, 6 WAR, 4 to go
Tex, 24 WAR from 25-28, 8/$180, 16 WAR, 3 to go
AGon, 17 WAR from 25-28, 7/$154 covering 30-36, 7.5 WAR, 5 to go
Kemp, 16 WAR from 23-26, 8/$160, 3 WAR, 6 to go
Hamilton, 16 WAR from 29-31, 5/$125, 1.5 WAR, 4 to go

Tex has been much better than I realized and if he can add about 6 WAR onto that, it won't be a disaster. Tex, Hamilton (that's just 3 years there), and probably Holliday were better than Wells and, after adjusting for inflation, Tex might be cheaper than Wells (Holliday is in raw dollars, Werthi is equal in raw dollars). AGon seems a reasonable bet for 15-20 WAR.

Werth had a nice year but the remaining 4 years are ages 35-38. There have been a reasonable number of kinda-Werth-like guys who produced pretty well from 35-38 -- Cruz Sr, Palmeiro, Walker, Molitor all with 15+ WAR. But you also see guys better than Werth at more blah totals -- Bagwell, Dawson, B Williams and Winfield around 8. Hal McRae, Reggie Smith and Reggie Sanders there too, Abreu at 6.

Kemp is about health and re-finding his game.

   19. Walt Davis Posted: January 12, 2014 at 09:12 PM (#4637426)
I dunno... at the time, my reaction was along the lines of, "Well, I like Wells, and I think he's got another couple of good years in him, so that's good, but that contract is gonna be no fun at all towards the end of it. I think they would have been better off just letting him go, sad as that would be."

Fair enough but is there an FA contract where we haven't said "that contract is gonna be no fun at all towards the end of it"? Your reaction was certainly a lot calmer than my reaction to the Cubs signing Soriano. :-)

I think it objectively looked a lot better than the Soriano and Lee contracts, probably better than Hunter (15 WAR from 28-31), less risk and more upside than the Matthews contract. Ichiro was a special case as something of a franchise icon and his rare skillset and unique style.

I never said it looked like a good contract, just that it didn't look out of whack with the other bad contracts. :-)

   20. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: January 12, 2014 at 09:20 PM (#4637432)
Werth had a nice year but the remaining 4 years are ages 35-38.


The Werth signing can't be looked at in a vacuum though. The Nationals signed him when they sucked and were begging(ok, throwing money) at people to come and play with them. We all knew it was a massive overpay. Did their strategy work? Did it make the club a more enviable place to come because they were willing to show they would spend money to put a good product on the diamond? I think these questions need to be considered when looking at his contract.

Teams will overpay for any number of reasons and I think a look at the historical context in which a signing occurs needs to be considered as it can have a significant bearing on the decision at the time.

Not sure what the Angels were thinking when they got Wells though.


   21. Walt Davis Posted: January 13, 2014 at 03:25 AM (#4637564)
The Werth signing can't be looked at in a vacuum though. The Nationals signed him when they sucked and were begging(ok, throwing money) at people to come and play with them. We all knew it was a massive overpay. Did their strategy work? Did it make the club a more enviable place to come because they were willing to show they would spend money to put a good product on the diamond? I think these questions need to be considered when looking at his contract.

Possibly. But it's not clear it's any worse of an overpay than the others, he just wasn't healthy for half of it so far. But he'll probably pass Lee and Soriano, nearly passed Wells already.

As to establishing their cred ... hard to say. Their "big" FA signings since then were LaRoche and R Soriano. Maybe the Werth signing contributed to Zimmerman's and Gio's willingness (willingnesses?) to extend.

The better question is why, after seeing his team dole out 7/$126 to Werth, was Zimmerman willing to extend for 6/$100. :-)
   22. shock Posted: January 13, 2014 at 03:44 AM (#4637567)
I've said it a thousand times and I'll say it 1001 times. Vernon Wells and Torii Hunter were the same player who signed at the same time for the same AAV through the same age. Whether these contracts turn out is basically 50/50 and in this case Hunter was heads and Wells was tails.
   23. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: January 13, 2014 at 09:08 AM (#4637591)
For about a month, Wells was an extremely useful player for the Yankees. And then he was terrible the rest of the year. I wonder if true part-time status (not the near-fulltime PAs he racked up for the 2013 Yankees before they figured out that he was useless) would be good for his production.
   24. BDC Posted: January 13, 2014 at 10:10 AM (#4637608)
Anyway, P-I now lets you sort by dWAR so if you're not going to limit comps by strict position, it would be better to use that than Rfield

So it does! How long has that been going on. I should start including dWAR, though I like the extra information one gets from including both RField and positions played.
   25. greenback calls it soccer Posted: January 13, 2014 at 09:19 PM (#4638256)
How does the money work if the A's sign Vernon Wells to a league-minimum deal, and he then gets suspended for PEDs? Do the A's get all of his salary from the Angels without having to pay it to Wells?
   26. Tripon Posted: January 13, 2014 at 11:52 PM (#4638321)
25. greenback says fpk Posted: January 13, 2014 at 08:19 PM (#4638256)
How does the money work if the A's sign Vernon Wells to a league-minimum deal, and he then gets suspended for PEDs? Do the A's get all of his salary from the Angels without having to pay it to Wells?


No, it'll be piecemealed to whomever paying his salary. So a portion of Wells' salary will return to the Angels, Yankees, Blue Jays, and then the A's.
   27. PreservedFish Posted: January 14, 2014 at 12:27 AM (#4638342)
I've said it a thousand times and I'll say it 1001 times. Vernon Wells and Torii Hunter were the same player who signed at the same time for the same AAV through the same age.


I don't get it. I've seen you make this point before but I don't understand what it proves. Wells signed a 7-year extension that kicked in a year later. Hunter signed a 5-year deal. Wells was 4.5 years younger than Hunter when he signed his deal. I don't see the similarity that you think is so important.
   28. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 14, 2014 at 12:50 AM (#4638351)
For about a month, Wells was an extremely useful player for the Yankees. And then he was terrible the rest of the year. I wonder if true part-time status (not the near-fulltime PAs he racked up for the 2013 Yankees before they figured out that he was useless) would be good for his production.

If everybody had been healthy, Wells & Ichiro would have split the 3rd/4th outfielder duties in a semi-platoon. No guarantee they would have been that much better, but that seems like their best use at this stage of their careers. Maybe Wells can find that type of gig, but he's probably a non-roster invitee.
   29. Jim (jimmuscomp) Posted: January 14, 2014 at 01:18 AM (#4638360)
Reading #16 made me laugh.

The Halos signed GMJr to that 5/$50 deal in one offseason. Then signed Torii during the next offseason for 5/$90.

Then, as if that wasn't enough they had to trade for Wells the NEXT offseason.

Insane.
   30. Tripon Posted: January 14, 2014 at 01:52 AM (#4638368)
29. Jim (jimmuscomp) Posted: January 14, 2014 at 12:18 AM (#4638360)
Reading #16 made me laugh.

The Halos signed GMJr to that 5/$50 deal in one offseason. Then signed Torii during the next offseason for 5/$90.

Then, as if that wasn't enough they had to trade for Wells the NEXT offseason.

Insane.


I never understood it. Trout was blowing up in the minors and looking like the next coming of Willy Mays. Then they called him up anyway.
   31. Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Posted: January 14, 2014 at 02:28 AM (#4638373)
I never understood it. Trout was blowing up in the minors and looking like the next coming of Willy Mays. Then they called him up anyway.
The story I remember is that Moreno wanted a big move, and with all the FAs off the board (Crawford was their primary target IIRC, which would have been awesome) Wells was the best Reagins could do. Yeah, horrible from a rational POV, but imagine trying to tell an owner hellbent on doing SOMETHING that you've got this amazing kid down in single A...
   32. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: January 14, 2014 at 03:44 AM (#4638379)
I don't get it. I've seen you make this point before but I don't understand what it proves. Wells signed a 7-year extension that kicked in a year later. Hunter signed a 5-year deal. Wells was 4.5 years younger than Hunter when he signed his deal. I don't see the similarity that you think is so important.


Hmm, I wonder what attribute Vernon Wells and Torii Hunter have in common that makes it a natural comparison.
   33. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: January 14, 2014 at 09:33 AM (#4638415)
I never understood it. Trout was blowing up in the minors and looking like the next coming of Willy Mays. Then they called him up anyway.


Trout had never played above Hi A (half a season) prior to that 2011 season. As good as he may have looked was there any reason to project him as an MLB regular any sooner than 2013 or maybe the second half of 2012? I don't care how good a prospect looks if he's in Hi A you are being excessively optimistic if you project him as a starter in any less than two years.

And I'm with Walt re: the Wells signing. At the time it looked like a great example of a "mid-market" team keeping a homegrown star through his prime.
   34. Ron J2 Posted: January 14, 2014 at 10:39 AM (#4638449)
#13 Brunansky was notoriously streaky within a season. 1985 wasn't really unusual for him and featured a 2 month stretch with an OPS over 1.000 and a 2 month stretch where it was under .550
   35. villageidiom Posted: January 14, 2014 at 11:52 AM (#4638573)
Yeah, horrible from a rational POV, but imagine trying to tell an owner hellbent on doing SOMETHING that you've got this amazing kid down in single A...
There is no greater sign that a business is doomed to failure than an executive who says "we have to do SOMETHING". That is the rallying cry of the desperate.
   36. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: January 14, 2014 at 01:59 PM (#4638708)
greenback says fpk Posted: January 13, 2014 at 08:19 PM (#4638256)
How does the money work if the A's sign Vernon Wells to a league-minimum deal, and he then gets suspended for PEDs? Do the A's get all of his salary from the Angels without having to pay it to Wells?


No, it'll be piecemealed to whomever paying his salary. So a portion of Wells' salary will return to the Angels, Yankees, Blue Jays, and then the A's.


Thought you had the new Moneyball figured out for a second, didn't you?

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