Vernon Wells On the Move?

First, these Jays-related tidbits from Aaron Gleeman's winter meetings update:

Apparently the Blue Jays have removed Vernon Wells from all advertising for the 2007 season, although manager John Gibbons said he "hadn't heard that" when informed by a reporter. Gibbons also revealed that it'll be "tough for Russ Adams to make the team" and said Adams' long-term position is second base moments after saying Aaron Hill could become one of the league's top second baseman. In other words, Adams is trade bait.

Additionally, espn.com's rumors section (insider only) is reporting that the Blue Jays are in trade talks with the Dodgers, which are, of course, revolving around the availability of Wells. It must be noted, however, that most of the rumors posted in that section never come to fruition. Moreover, this doesn't make much sense from the Dodgers' perspective. While Wells would significantly improve their outfield corps, they're committed to Juan Pierre in centerfield and, following Ned Colletti's ill-advised signing of Luis Gonzalez, they already have more corner outfielders than necessary.

If he does indeed intend to take the trade route, I recommend that J.P. not limit his focus to players who would fill positions of immediate need, much like Allard Baird notoriously did when he traded Carlos Beltran a few years back. Of course, replacing Russ Adams with a shortstop who's capable of fielding would be opportune, but turning down a potential star simply because he's not a shortstop would be foolish and short-sighted.

Another factor that must be considered is whether the Blue Jays truly believe they're built to win now. It appears that they do -- based mainly on last season's free agent signings and second-place performance -- so they should tailor any trades in that direction. That requires:

a) Someone capable of replacing Wells immediately and

b) Acquiring a few players in return who could help the team next season.

The Mark Mulder trade from a few years back is a great example of something for which J.P. should strive (apologies for inducing painful emotions from Cardinals fans). Of course, that's much, much easier said that done.

Alexis Rios could very well replace Wells in center field, though his strong arm may be best-suited for right field, especially since, based on what I've read, his range has never been deemed to be exceptional.

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