Angels fans were promised a "big splash" by General Manager Tony Reagins and, dammit, he delivered. By now, thousands of words have been written about the Angels decision to send Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera to Toronto for Vernon Wells and his bloated $80+ million contract. The trade, as you should know, has been universally crushed from the Angels point of view except for the frighteningly optimistic James of True Grich.
As the resident Angels fan, I feel obligated to post something about the trade even though I don't think I have much to add. I'd love to be optimistic and I do like Wells but I'm afraid advanced metrics and the Internet have ruined by ability to be a "die hard" fan anymore. It's almost sad in a way.
The starved for offense Angels traded for a center fielder who hit 31 home runs, 44 doubles and a .273/.331/.515 line in 2010. Twelve-year-old me would have been ecstatic about this trade. Instead, I immediately began trying to figure out how much of Wells' contract Toronto would have to eat for the deal to make sense. If they ate $30M + the $10M or so saved from Rivera and Napoli, then Wells would just have to be a 2.5 WAR player each of the four years of the remaining contract. That is providing Wells will move to a corner outfield spot and not cost the Angels runs by playing center. That was my rough estimate anyway.
Of course, the Blue Jays only sent $5 million back to Anaheim and the trade looks like a financial disaster for the Angels. But as a fan, I kept digging through Fangraphs and scouring Twitter to find a silver lining. Much like quicksand though, the harder I tried, the worse it got. I could ramble on about his splits or declining defense or what $75 million could have bought but it's all rather depressing.
It's hard to imagine this is the same Tony Reagins who orchestrated the heist of Dan Haren last season. But what's done is done now. No amount of analysis or whining will reverse this deal. Unless you have a time machine, do you have a time machine? No? Well, then, all Angels fans can do is continue to support the team and root for Wells to prove the pundits wrong or at least less wrong. That hasn't exactly worked with that Gary Matthews Jr signing but at least the Angels are only paying him $10 million for one more season.
The Mike Trout era can't get here fast enough.