The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have made their big move of the offseason, as they have reportedly traded Mike Napoli to the Toronto Blue Jays, per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports,. The amazing part of the deal, however, is that the Angels are reportedly getting center fielder Vernon Wells from Toronto in return, again per Rosenthal. Wells had one of the most untradeable contracts in baseball (emphasis on had, because now that he has been traded the contract is no longer immovable), as he is due a whopping $86 million over the next four years.
Napoli and the Angels could not come to terms on a contract on Tuesday, and the two sides exchanged salary figures for arbitration. Napoli requested a salary of $6.1 million, while the Angels submitted a salary of $5.3 million. The Angels, with Mathis, were projected to have a payroll north of $130 million, and it is unknown how much salary they are taking on with Wells. Wells has a salary of $23 million in 2011.
Napoli, 29, hit .238/.316/.468 with 26 home runs in a career-high 140 games in 2010, and has hit at least 20 home runs for three consecutive seasons. Napoli split time between catcher and first base last year, starting 67 games at first base, filling in for the injured Kendry Morales. Napoli made $3.6 million in 2010, and is arbitration eligible through the 2012 season.
Wells had a bounce back season last year in Toronto, hitting .273/.331/.515 with 44 doubles and 31 home runs. The Texas native is 32. It is unknown how this will affect the Angels' outfield alignment, but it could potentially have three center fielders, with Wells, Peter Bourjos, and Torii Hunter, with Bobby Abreu at designated hitter. It appears that the days of Juan Rivera and his $5.25 million salary are numbered in Anaheim.
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