Lukewarm Stove: Yankees Close to Acquiring Vernon Wells (Which Would Close Door on Alfonso Soriano)

vernon wellsAccording to Jeff Passan, the New York Yankees are in talks with the Los Angeles Angels about their superfluous and overpaid outfielder, Vernon Wells. Passan says a deal could actually get done today, assuming Wells waives his no-trade clause. Jim Bowden reports that Wells is expected to accept a trade.

The Yankees’ injury woes are well-documented – each of Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira are out for a healthy chunk at the start of the year, and Teixeira could be out much longer, and Alex Rodriguez might not play at all this year – as is their need for a right-handed hitting outfielder. That they would fill the need with Wells, however, indicates just how desperate they’ve become.

Wells, 34, has had an OPS+ over 100 just twice in the last six years, and his line is an ugly .222/.258/.409 over the last two years. He’s got $42 million remaining on his contract through 2014, and Passan reports that the Yankees might actually be taking more of that on than “one might think.” If it proves to be more than just a couple million per year, then the Angels will be dancing in the streets.

A deal for Wells, however unattractive a solution he might be, would close the door on any deal between the Cubs and Yankees involving Alfonso Soriano (absent a second rash of injuries). Soriano, 37, is a better version of Wells on a better deal, but is similar enough that acquiring Wells would obviate the need for Soriano. Further, because Wells is already set to start the year on the bench in Anaheim, he might be more willing to accept a trade to a team that is eventually going to bench him than Soriano, who is rightly expecting to start all year. With the Yankees, Soriano’s future once Granderson returns in May becomes cloudy.

The Cubs and Yankees have almost certainly discussed a Soriano deal, but the Cubs wanted real value for Soriano. And, for his part, Soriano has said he wasn’t sure he would consider a deal to the Yankees until he’s had a chance to see how the Cubs perform in April and May. If the Yanks end up with Wells, I’ve got no real beef here.

We’ll see if the Yanks and Angels actually pull this off, and what the final deal looks like.

UPDATE: And, what do you know, Joel Sherman, who confirms Passan’s report, is openly wondering about Soriano, too:

That’s my guess, too.

UPDATE 2: Ken Rosenthal shares our sentiments:

UPDATE 3: Multiple sources say the deal is going to get done. The Angels have already started clearing out Wells’ locker.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

40 responses to “Lukewarm Stove: Yankees Close to Acquiring Vernon Wells (Which Would Close Door on Alfonso Soriano)”

  1. Ron Swanson

    It all comes down the the Cubs wanting “real value” and justifiably so. For the Angels it’s just a money thing.

    1. Kygavin

      My thoughts exactly. Cubs asking price is most likely (and should be) a lot higher than what the Angels are asking for Wells, who has been awful for the last few years and always overpaid. Yanks might have to pay more money but likely wont lose anything of value

    2. Westbound Willie

      The door on soriano was never ever open.

      Ever.

      Next

  2. JR

    Wells is a horrible player, and the Yankees are going to blow regardless. Whatever, I guess… I’ve wanted Soriano moved all offseason as there is a lot that can wrong before the deadline, but clearly other teams think he can’t repeat last year. Just an overall shitty situation for the Cubs.

  3. Jonathan

    I think the second tweet from Sherman hits the nail on the head. The Cubs want prospects. The Yankees are willing to spend but not give up prospects. The Yankees may need Soriano but until they become desperate.

  4. Kygavin

    “Why not A. Soriano for #Yankees? Most likely because #Cubs want actual value for eating bulk of remaining $36M. #Angels can’t be as picky.”
    Just tweeted by Ken Rosenthal

  5. Tim

    A Soriano trade won’t happen till July if at all. From the Cubs perspective they are prepared to pay the remainder of his contract, whether he plays out the contract with the Cubs or elsewhere, i.e., it’s a sunk cost in their eyes. So again, from a Cubs perspective, they aren’t going to be saving any money if they move Soriano. The Angels are ONLY looking to save money, Wells is worthless to them if they get $100 bucks from another team they would probably move him.

    Another team acquiring Soriano, probably wants to see that last years season wasn’t a fluke, and that at 37 he still can hack it at a major league level. That other team also has to be willing to give up a player of significant value. Refer back to ‘sunk cost’ from Cubs perspective.

    I can only see a team willing to give up something if they are already having a good season, Soriano would also have to be having a good season, and that team getting Soriano would have to have a pretty deep farm system. I think it is unlikely a team with a weak system give up a higher rated player without being able to absorb such a loss with a deep system.

    Basically, my point is, it would take the perfect storm. Not impossible, but highly unlikely to me.

    1. JR

      Tim, couldn’t agree more. The other part of the “perfect storm” is Sori has to agree to be dealt to the team. #perfectstorm

  6. DarthHater

    As a Cubs fan. it’s frustrating to acknowledge, but Wells is not that much worse than Soriano as a hitter: http://www.fangraphs.com/comparison.aspx?playerid=847&position=2B/OF&page=8&players=1326

    Take into account the age difference and the (presumably) cheaper acquisition price for Wells, and it’s understandable that the Yankees would prefer him to Soriano.

    1. JR

      I don’t know Darth. I think it’s safe to say Wells is a much worse hitter than Sori. Wells is done, and pretty much worthless. The question remains, do other teams think a 37 year old Soriano can repeat last year? If i was another team I gotta admit, I would be a bit nervous to spend good prosects for Sori.

      1. DarthHater

        Of course, Soriano has great intangibles these days. Maybe the FO can convince the Yanks that he’d be a great role model and mentor for that A-Rod kid. ;-)

        1. JR

          LOL, I hear that kid joined the big brother program in the greater NY area and has already began working with Fonzie as a role model.

          http://deadspin.com/5053163/getting-to-know-alfonso-sorianos-alleged-road-beef

    2. jt

      2012 Soriano PA’s 75% vs RHP
      2012 Wells PA’s 55% vs RHP
      Seems your stats indicate that Wells has some value as a platoon?

  7. cubfanincardinalland

    Soriano was fifth in the NL in homeruns and third in RBI’s last season. Might want to compare that to the current 250 pound Vernon Wells recent production.
    Angels can free the money up, look for them to go after Lohse.

  8. mditka

    i hope lots of yankees keep getting injured – i know that sounds bad but they are my brothers fav team & i cant stand them. glad they get wells to fumble around that outfield & hit around .217 for them. sounds great to me.

  9. Mike Taylor

    Yankees will probably wait until Texiera and Granderson come back for a couple of series before they go into panic-acquisition mode. Next year is going to be horrible for them. I assume they’ll spend again on free agents.

  10. Die hard

    Angels making room for Soriano?

    1. Westbound Willie

      No

  11. The Dude Abides

    Baker, Garza & now Soriano seems like a rough day for our long term flipping strategy.

    Obviously $10 million still seems like a lot for a 37 yr. old with a bulky knee, great attitude or not for what we are asking for in return. Garza? Seems we missed his peak value sometime last season but again we were not getting what we were looking for.

    Stay the course Theo we will find someone, we will not settle on any one else’s terms…

  12. JR

    WTF, $13 Mill. for Wells? The Yankess are so ridiculous and desperate. This is a huge get for the Angels even they receive nothing in return other than money for a sunk cost. Half a years salary for Hamilton for this turd. Wow…

  13. Diamond Don

    Sometimes the best trades are the trades not made. I’m not a Soriano fan, never have been, but it might make more sense to keep him on the Cubs to help drive in runs and set a good example for the younger players If he does as well as last year, he will definitely be more tradable at the deadline or after the season (only one year left on contract after 2013).

  14. another JP

    There’s no comparison between the value of Sori/Wells and I can’t believe the Yanks think they’d receive better performance with what they paid. The asking price in prospects by Theo must be more than what NY is willing to do, or they just have a problem dealing with an ex-Boston exec.

    1. DocPeterWimsey

      The Yanks have stated repeatedly that they are not willing to part with any of their 4 or 5 good prospects. They like to maintain the illusion that they have a home grown core, after all, even though at this point it’s a home grown long-in-the-tooth core. Although they had wanted to bring their payroll down, that was before the rash of injuries threatened their ability to compete: and the Yankees will, at all costs, try to compete.

      This deal suggests that the Yanks are serious about not trading prospects: otherwise, they could probably have gotten someone much better than Wells or even Sori. Apparently, this is the best compromise: to not risk the future but at least give the present an outside shot, while delaying payroll reduction by a year.

      1. CubFan Paul

        “the Yankees will, at all costs, try to compete…”

        Because every chance to win is sacred?

        1. DocPeterWimsey

          No, because any chance to lose is heretical for Yankees fans! :-)

          Seriously, all of this talk of payroll reduction has *not* sat well with Yankees’ fans: insofar as they are concerned, a huge revenue base is an asset that the Yanks should always use. If other teams and their meager fan-bases complain, well, screw them: their point is to provide the Yankees with teams to beat, not to compete themselves.

        2. hansman1982

          Yes, cause the Yankees would be best suited to let $50M sit on the payroll in aging guys just so they can look like they are going to compete.

          1. DocPeterWimsey

            Well, the truth is that it could get ugly for the Yanks. And by “ugly,” I mean that they might win only 85 games. But, on the other hand, could any other team lose a third of their regulars and still consider contending? (That’s rhetorical, by the way….)

  15. Gcheezpuff

    Everyone is looking at this all wrong. This is good news as the Yankees just set the floor at 13 million on salary acquired in any Soriano deal. Soriano is a better player with less contract remaining. This deal shows there are not very many options remaining. I believe the phillies and tigers are still looking for a right handed power hitting OF. 13 million plus a prospect please. Wells blows… If the Angels can move him for anything Theo should be able to move Soriano for value.

    1. Westbound Willie

      Lol!

      Good one.

  16. When the Music's Over

    So much for the Yankees trying to save money this year. Thought they were intent on getting under the salary cap.

    1. CubFan Paul

      Winning/being competitive is more important…

      1. dabynsky

        but not important enough to give up prospects…

  17. Spencer

    Lol and everyone was concerned that the Yankees couldn’t take on like $5 million a year for Soriano. Oops.

  18. August

    The Cubs have had Sori curbside in the Cubs Yard Sale for some time. People have stopped, looked him over, but left him in the bin with the old baby clothes, 8-tracks and dime store paperbacks. Theo and Jed and the rest of us, sitting in our lawn chairs, will have to wait till July before Brian Cashman will arrive in his ’78 country squire station wagon ready to make a deal.

  19. Die hard

    Yankees built a new stadium tearing down house that Ruth built… So it’s no big deal to do same with Wrigley even if new one 10 miles away… Got to give Ricketts credit — when he bought McDonalds site he was setting stage to leave and use that site to add parking for 5 star hotel on ball park site with a walkway over the street adjoining both

    1. Tom A.

      Yankees stayed in the same area. I think you are wrong with the even one 10 miles away part of your comment.

      If the Cubs relocate anywhere, they will suffer great losses.

      And, what good is a luxury hotel without the ball-park across the street. I doubt anybody would think, hmmm let’s stay at the fancy hotel near where they use to play baseball, the one where you can see the ugly looking seating on the rooftops of several buildings that are now being occupied by vagrants and also the one that is located near a large number of boarded-up and closed-down bars. You would have to be very strange to want to stay there !

  20. Bigg J

    The Yankees “will have $6.5M count against payroll” for Vernon Wells for both 2013 and 2014, Mark Feinsand of New York Daily News reports (on Twitter). Joel Sherman of the New York Post seems to have a different take, writing, “most of the dollars will be applied to 2013″ for the Yankees.

    I don’t get what the Yankees are doing here when they can get Soriano for cheaper. Yea they would have to give up a better prospect, but this is a bad deal for NY unless Wells can play 1st(which he can’t).

  21. SFToby

    I thought Fonz didn’t want a trade until the Cubs showed whether or not they’d be good this year, which would put any trade out until June.

  22. Spencer