Vernon Wells traded to Angels for Napoli and Rivera

Mike Napoli was a name I recently saw that the Rays were interested in. I thought, “hey that’s not too bad of an idea.” Not altogether useless behind the plate, as he is a -2 WAR defensively over 5 years, but not great either, throwing out 24% of baserunners over his career. However, he is known as a pretty decent hitter with some pop and ability to get on base. Offensively, he has a career OPS of .831. Over his career he has mashed lefties to a tune of .931 OPS. He averages a homerun every 16.8 AB’s! He also averages 2.2 WAR per season overall.

Napoli has reportedly been traded with Juan Rivera to the Blue Jays for Vernon Wells and cash.

WHAT!!! Where did this come from? Alex Anthopolous is quickly becoming the Silent Assassin as others have begun to call him.

Here is a guy who can play serviceable defense behind the plate and at first base. So the questions I ask are what do the rest of guys play? Is Lind still the full time 1B? Does Arencibia get less playing time now? Do they just get rid of Molina? Is Encarnacion basically screwed? Does Rivera play right or left with Snider playing the other? Does Davis get handed CF or does Patterson get a good crack? Does Gose or Mastroianni ACTUALLY have a shot of making the squad? Probably not.

Rivera isn’t too bad of an outfielder. When he is healthy. The last couple of years he has been pretty good with a combined WAR of 2.5 over that time. Considering that Wells has only been a 3.7 WAR in that time, to me it seems as though this trade is actually a win for the Jays.

I haven’t even accounted for the fact that Wells is under contract for $86M over the next four years. Combine Rivera and Napoli’s total contracts and they will likely save somewhere around $70M. At the time of writing, I haven’t heard how much money the Jays will be sending to the Angels. A few things come to mind from that: Making room to sign Bautista long term, signing Manny now, or making a big splash next year in free agency.  Even some combination of these is possible. Personally, I would rather not sign Bautista long term yet. I would like to see another hot start this year before considering it. Even then, if that were to happen, I think trading him at the deadline could net huge compensation. If Manny is close to signing with someone, it must be with the Jays. Is it feasible to think that the Silent Assassin could go after Pujols next offseason? Even the guys at Baseball Canadiana have thought of this idea. I am not sure, but there have been so many questions I have asked, and I don’t know if I can really justify all of them.

Update: No money is being exchanged. Which means Anthopolous is an absolute genius. Best move he has made yet. Wouldn’t be surprised if he had some more up his sleeve leading up to Spring training. Pitchers and catchers report in 25 days.
Update 2: Rommie Lewis has been designated for assignment to make room on 40-man roster.
Update 3: Yes I realize this is a little late, but my idea of signing Manny was shot down because he signed with Tampa for $2M.

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About blandy12

Baseball has been my love since I was three years old. Now I finally have the courage to write about this passion. Share your comments please.
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6 Responses to Vernon Wells traded to Angels for Napoli and Rivera

  1. I (Baseball Canadiana) actually think there’s no chance the Jays go after Pujols, even after the trade.

    I love the Wells deal though…out-freakin-standing

  2. Cam Jam says:

    Well Rob since you wanted me to post my 2 cents, here it goes,

    Gose is not playing in the bigs this year, Molina? who knows what he is going to do…
    The only thing I think AA has to decide is whether to drop Edwin or Patterson… In my opinion Edwin is the odd man out, another righthander? we don’t really need him too much, that being said, Edwin is out, Jose is at 3b… then leaving us with Patterson or Rivera splitting time… then we throw Eric Chavez into the mix…

    It will be a bloodbath at Spring Training, best players will stay, the others will get sacked, It will be last minute where Jose will play.

  3. Ian says:

    One has to think this is only the beginning. There’s a glut of 1B/C/DH’s on the roster, so I would imagine the Silent Assassin is working on orchestrating something else. Rivera has some upside, but could be one of the casualties of another trade. I’m assuming this means Jose Molina will be relegated to bench duty for the most part.

  4. blandy12 says:

    I was thinking Rivera will just be a piece to get someone else. Possibly a 3B. It really is too bad they didn’t throw Brandon Wood in the deal just for fun. I have always loved this guy since he hit 40+ bombs in the minors in 2005. I think if he was actually given a chance to play every day he could be really good. That could solve a lot of problems for us. I am guessing EE12 and Molina are basically screwed on this one as it stands now.

    As stated before, AA7 has clearly performed inception. Incredible.

  5. T-Bag says:

    This move is certainly interesting. It creates numerous possibilities for what kind of a team the Jays will put on the field defensively. Without Wells you must ask, who will play CF? The likely candidate to take over full-time is Davis; however with the addition of another 1st baseman/catcher as well as another OF who knows what will really happen?!

    Although its been said Edwin is going to play 1B, this move kind of gives me the impression he will likely see more time at 3rd than originally anticipated. At this point, the only other option would have to be Bautista, but it is also known he would much prefer to play RF…and quite honestly taking that cannon out of RF seems like it would be a mistake. It will be interesting to see who ends up where in this lineup. Who will ultimately be the starting first baseman? Lind? …Napoli?…Encarnation?

    Now if you ask me, Patterson is essentially a non-factor in this whole scenario unless he comes into spring and impresses the hell out of the coaching staff. Even then I don’t necessarily see him making this ball club, and if he does I don’t see him sticking around long. Think about the potential OF’s the team has: Rivera (can play all 3 OF positions), Davis (mainly CF and LF), Snider (both corner OF positions), Bautista (RF), and you could even throw Lind in there as a LF as well. That doesn’t even include Patterson.

    Really when you think about it the only part of this team that is set in stone is the middle infield. Everyone knows it’s going to be Hill and Escobar. The rest we will just have to wait and see how it plays out. Well done Mr. Anthopolous, and THANK YOU Tony Reagins!!

    • blandy12 says:

      You can also guarantee that Snider is in one of the corner OF spots. Patterson is still, at very best, the 4th OF. I don’t think he makes the club. It’s funny that before the trade happened, I was actually thinking about things to write, and I was about to put out my prediction for the Jays starting lineup. Now I have no clue. I am going to work on it, and see what I can come up with. Along with a projected rotation, which can also be tricky, even though they really only seem to have one spot open.

      Even Hill isn’t a LOCK at 2B. Who knows, maybe the Jays love Lawrie at 2B and decide to shift Hill to 3B last minute, even if Lawrie has been working out at 3B this winter. The only true lock is Escobar. Not saying that I think Lawrie makes it, but hell, it’s still an option.

      All I know is that AA7 is making things so interesting, and is giving me so much hope for the future of the franchise.

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