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Today in Blue Jays History: Vernon Wells Trade

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New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images

Eleven years ago today, Alex Anthopoulos managed to trade Vernon Wells, something that I figured was pretty much impossible.

The Angels took Vernon and his rather large contract in exchange for Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli.

We were:

At the time of the trade, Vernon was owed about $86 million over the next four years. His salary was to jump from $15.7 million, in 2010, to $26.1 million in 2011. So it was the perfect moment to trade him.

Vernon played 2 seasons for the Angels, hitting .222/.258/.409 with 36 home runs. After that, they sent him (and a lot of money) to the Yankees. With them, Vernon hit .233/.282/.349 with 11 home runs in 2013 and was paid to stay home in 2014.

I’ll admit I always liked Wells. He was one of those guys that played full out all the time (he might have been better off to pick his spots), always ran out grounders as hard as he could, did tonnes of charity work, was a good teammate and seemed to like playing in Toronto. It wasn’t his fault that the Jays offered him way too much money. Playing all those seasons on the hard surface at Rogers Centre likely didn’t help his career. Somewhere I have a Jays jersey with his name on it.

We didn’t get a lot out of the two players who came to Toronto. Rivera, hit .243/.305/.360 in 70 games before the Jays put him on waivers to be claimed by the Dodgers. Napoli, we quickly sent on to the Rangers for Frank Francisco. In Alex’s defense, if we had kept Napoli, we likely would have lost Edwin Encarnacion.

Dumping Vernon’s contract allowed Alex to make the trade with the Marlins, which may not have turned out the way we would have liked, but it did add some excitement to our lives for a while.

I have no idea what the thought process was in the Angels’ end of things.