Vernon Wells has decided to remain in Toronto, because super genius JP Ricciardi threw enough cash at Wells to get him to stay in town for the next seven years. Total tally: $126 million.
It is a crazy huge deal, and the third time in two offseasons that I've wondered where the Blue Jays really see themselves going (BJ Ryan, AJ Burnett).
Now don't get me wrong. BJ Ryan is a real good closer, and Vernon Wells is a real good center fielder, and if you were going to take a bet on an unreliable arm, AJ Burnett is the type of guy you roll the dice on. Also, Toronto has the money to do this, and they've decided this is their course of action.
$126 million for Vernon Wells is a lot of money. That said, Wells is still quite young, having just turned 28, and the deal will carry him through what should be his prime.
Wells is an interesting case, because he's a good center fielder with a somewhat spotty track record as a hitter. He's had five full seasons in the majors, two of them ('03 and '06) really good, and three of them ('02, '04 and '05) right around league average.
You have to consider position relativity, of course, and center field is a money position. Beltran is making gobs of cash, and Gary Matthews Jr. is pulling down $10 million a season for the next five. Juan Pierre got a pretty damn big deal.
With Wells getting this deal, I expect Andruw Jones is going to be opening his own bank after next season.
In other news, Brendan Donnelly was traded to the Red Sox for Phil Seibel, and Boston also added J.C. Romero to their bullpen. Elsewhere in the AL East, Tampa Bay signed Akinori Iwamura to a three-year, $7.7 million deal.
The worst news for us is that with Toronto's continued dedication to spending the money necessary to build a winner in the AL East, the future looks pretty well set on fourth place for us, at least until Angelos decides to deliver on these remarks about needing to spend x amount of money to contend. I think a lot of things about Angelos, but one of them is not that he's stupid. By saying these things, he has to realize that we will then expect the team to seriously put up on the free agent market.
That, or he seriously has decided to officially join the boo-hoo club that says they have no money while they just pocket it or give it away on dumb signings that improve nothing and only address the need to lose 90 instead of 105, because then they can spend November saying there were signs of life and that everything is the fault of the Yankees, Red Sox, or even the Toronto Blue Jays.
Argh, this fiscal irresponsibility. Refusal to adapt to a market is the equivalent of a concession speech. I don't fault the three teams in our division, and I never will.