Wells traded to the Angels — Manny and Damon sign in Tampa

Leave it to me to say that there is no news in baseball right now.  As soon as I posted that Pujols piece, all hell broke loose.

The Toronto Blue Jays, led by noted ninja Alex Anthopoulos unloaded Vernon Wells and his gaudiest of gaudy contracts to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for catcher/DH/1B Mike Napoli and outfielder Juan Rivera.

On a pure talent level, the Angels may have an edge in this deal, but this was clearly a salary dump for Toronto.  They get out from under four years and $86-million owed to Vernon Wells and in return get two serviceable major-leaguers who fill urgent needs for 2011.  Beyond that, nothing is guaranteed to either player, giving the Jays much more financial flexibility going forward; Rivera is a free agent after this season and Napoli is still in his arbitration years.

The best part of this deal is that the Angels will take on all $86-million still owed to Wells.  The Jays get off.  Scott.  Free.

Juan Rivera can occupy one of the now empty outfield spots (probably leftfield, moving Snider to right) with Rajai Davis most likely manning center until Anthony Gose or Darin Matroianni are ready.  Rivera could also be flipped in another trade.

Napoli fits in nicely as an insurance policy behind the plate in case Arencibia shows signs of not being ready and if he is ready, he can DH and play occasional first base.

Napoli has very dramatic splits (.305/.399/.567 against lefties vs. .208/.277/.423 against righties) which set up some really nice platoon options for Toronto with Adam Lind at first base.

As the Wells news began to settle down, the Tampa Bay Rays popped up with some equally significant news; they signed both Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon to one year contracts.  Damon’s deal is for $5.25-million and Manny’s is apparently for $2.0-million!!!!

I speculated earlier this week that Manny would get far more than $4-million and I really did think he’d get $6-$8-million.  Mind=blown.

I’m a little confused as to why the Rays would get both Manny and Damon considering neither can play outfield, but maybe they are planning an insane DH platoon, who knows?

Both players are still more than competent at the plate and to get them both for under $8-million is nothing less than very impressive.

The Rays and Jays are both fully aware of the kind of savvy it takes to compete in the AL East on a small budget and within minutes, they both showed you why.

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5 responses to “Wells traded to the Angels — Manny and Damon sign in Tampa

  1. Yep. It is official. The Silent Assassin is showing his powers. And Friedman isn’t too bad himself. I love the flexibility the Jays now have. Did a bit of research on Cot’s Baseball Contracts and it looks as though the Jays have around $24M locked up in guaranteed contracts in players other than those who were arbitration eligible or whose contracts are still renewable (less service time than the required 3 years for arbitration).
    Add all the arbtration cases and the players traded, and it will be closer to $70-75M. Knowing they have the money to spend when it is needed, that adds a lot of potential financial flexibility. I love this deal.

  2. I plan on doing a little piece on what Beeston/AA have done over the past couple years, starting with the unloading of Alex Rios to the White Sox. Imagine the situation if both Rios and Wells were still on this team for the next few years.

    I know it’s a honeymoon period right now with AA, but good god damn it’s been a steamy one so far.

  3. I’m finding myself somewhat torn on this deal. From purely a fan perspective and staying away from the numbers, Vernon was probably my favorite player on the team (save the Dr.) over the last decade. It was awesome to watch him have success again last year and develop into a guy who was become a very vocal leader for the team.

    That being said I COMPLETELY understand the need for the Jays to get out from under his contract. But I am worried that we’re a few years away from replacing his position (Gose) and we’ll be substituting for now a guy (Davis) that up until tonight we were hoping would be used only as a 4th outfielder.

    My heads still spinning, but I wish Wells all the best and will keep the faith in AA and “The Plan”

  4. I actually think Davis is a more than capable starting centerfielder until Gose comes along. Not only that, but Darin Mastroianni is on the 40-man roster now and who knows, maybe he surprises us.

    With the added financial flexibility, the Jays may be able to go outside the organization. AA is far from done.

  5. Great news for the Blue Jays, but lost among the shuffle was the Manny signing. $2 million dollars? You can’t tell me the Blue Jays didn’t the money to sign him – but I guess after getting Napoli and Rivera in return, there really wasn’t much room for Manny on the roster anyway. Good job, AA.

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