When news broke that the Angels traded for Vernon Wells, it sent shock waves throughout the baseball world. With four years and $86 million remaining on his deal, the Wells contract is seen as one of the most immovable contracts in all of baseball. That the Angels were shedding some salary in Mike Napoli (between $5.3 and $6.1 million) and Juan Rivera ($5.25 million) in 2011 was ancillary; it was impossible to analyze the impact of this transaction without knowing just how much cash the Toronto Blue Jays were sending to the Angels to cover part of Wells' salary.
However, there is no cash changing hands in this deal (according to both Jon Morosi of Fox Sports and Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated). The contract that couldn't be moved has been traded, and the Blue Jays got actual major league players in return. To put this in perspective:
- Wells was placed on waivers last August. Any team, including the Angels could have had him, and his contract, for nothing. Yet, nobody claimed him.
- The Angels are paying $6 million more to Wells for four years than the Rangers will pay Adrian Beltre for five years.
This trade doesn't even deserve the dignity of a formal analysis. The Angels voluntarily vacated about three or four wins next season while simultaneously boosting their payroll by nearly $10 million.
Wells is due $23 million in 2011. The Angels have between $140-142 million committed to 18 players this season, depending on the outcome of Jered Weaver's arbitration case.
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