The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have traded outfielder Vernon Wells to the New York Yankees for two minor leaguers.
Wells will be the Yankees’ Opening Day left fielder. He will fill in for Curtis Granderson who sustained a broken forearm when he was hit with a pitch early in spring training. Granderson is expected to be out until late May.
At one time, Wells was one of the premier players in MLB early in his career with the Toronto Blue Jays. Between 2002 and 2006, Wells earned two AL All-Star selection, drove in 100 or more runs thrice and earned three Gold Gloves. But after Wells signed a seven year contract extension with the Jays worth $126 million prior to the 2007 season he began to be plagued by injuries. Wells has missed time with injuries to his shoulder, wrist and hamstring. Although he did manage to get named to the AL All-Star Team in 2010, Wells hasn’t been the consistent offensive threat he once was.
Prior to the 2011 season, the Jays traded Wells to the Angels for Mike Napoli (who was in turn dealt to the Texas Rangers). Wells hit a career low .218 (albeit with 25 homeruns) in his first full season with the Halos. Last year, Wells was relegated to being a part-time player as he only appeared in 77 games hitting .230 with 11 homeruns and 29 RBI.
I’m not sure if Wells will do well as an everyday player at this stage of his career. However, I can see him occasionally spelling Grandy in left and DHing against southpaws. The Yankees do not have Andruw Jones, Eric Chavez or Raul Ibanez this season and could use a veteran with Wells’ experience on their bench. For good measure, the Yankees also just signed veteran first baseman Lyle Overbay to a minor league contract. Overbay had just been released by the Boston Red Sox.
Even with Grandy, Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter beginning the season on the DL, I am reluctant to bet against the Yankees in the AL East.