Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Perfect Year to Trade Wells

What could we get for Vernon Wells today? The quote "trade a player a year too early rather than a year too late” has been attributed to the great Branch Rickey who was the General Manager of the Cardinals and then the Dodgers. Ken Rosenthal makes the point in analyzing the Ryan Howard deal that power hitters are in greater demand since the post steroid era penalties established in 2004. Though the contract is still a stumbling block, a CF who hits near .300 with 30 homers and 100 RBI and plays strong defense is a rare commodity today and should be in strong demand come the end of June should his bat continue.

Look what the Yankees paid to get Curtis Granderson who has averaged 25 homers, 70 RBI, 19 SB and 4 Errors over the last 3 years. It took Ian Kennedy, Phil Coke and Austin Jackson to pry Granderson loose from the Tigers, Granderson appears to have peaked in 2009 with 30 homers and 71 RBI. Yet in the previous 8 years Wells has averaged 25 homers, 108 RBI, 10 SB, and 2 Errors.

The Jays would undoubtedly have to eat some salary to make a trade happen, but this likely is the perfect year to make a deal. Given that Wells is not part of our future and with a boat load of teams needing a big bat, his value will never be higher. The Giants in particular are one of the top teams on that list with the Braves and perhaps even the Angels and Marlins considering changes. We now have Fred Lewis to take over CF temporarily, and though he isn’t a long-term solution, he at least can provide admirable defense while AA continues to explore a longer term option.

One major prospect with some upside and 1 or 2 others with some potential would likely get it done similar to the Granderson deal. The Braves, Marlins, and Giants all have farm systems rated in the top 10 and have the prospects to get such a deal done. The Giants have several top outfield prospects, the Marlins have a couple of interesting future third baseman, while the Braves as usual have lots of pitching on the rise.

Wells is at the top of the MLB leader board in total bases and doubles and is near the top in several other categories. His OBP shows he is more patient at the plate and he is slugging over .700. His stats are virtually identical to Matt Kemp of the Dodgers though Wells is outslugging him by 130 points and getting on base more frequently by 50 points. So who would you trade to get Matt Kemp? If Wells continues his hot season start by the end of May, look for several suitors to come calling and Alex Anthopolous to pull the trigger. Wells would move to a potential contender and the Jays would continue to build toward 2012. It would be a win for both teams and reward Wells for his loyalty.


  1. Not sure Wells' defense qualifies as strong anymore

  2. Mathesond, IM(H)O, in right or especially left he'd be an above average defensive outfielder.

    William - you just might be on to something. My only fear - since I don't ACTUALLY pay the dude his 126 gazillian dollar contract is that IF he stays this good for another three years, he would be a serious part of our move towards respectability - if indeed we actually make one.

    Nonetheless - I'd not lose any sleep if he was shipped off to the NL.