Say what you will about the Los Angeles Angels‘ lack of success over the last few seasons, but it wasn’t for a lack of funds coming from team owner Arty Moreno.
Whether it’s Albert Pujols or Josh Hamilton, the team has been no stranger to high-cost moves aimed to get the team back to the postseason as the AL West kings and give them a shot at the World Series.
Sometimes, though, the moves don’t quite work out, as was the case with outfielder Vernon Wells, whose massive, previously thought to be untradeable contract (which still has $42 million remaining) was something that the Angels took on from the Toronto Blue Jays to give them that potential star outfielder they coveted.
Instead, the team ended up getting a pair of sub-.700 OPS seasons from the veteran, and now have themselves a very expensive fourth outfielder.
But, perhaps there’s a chance for them to do something about that mistake yet, thanks to a fellow free-spending MLB brethren in the AL East:
Sources: Yankees in talks with Angels for outfielder Vernon Wells. Lots of money would go back to New York. Deal could be done today.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 24, 2013
Hold on, weren’t the New York Yankees all about trying to reduce the payroll to avoid the luxury tax threshold?
I suppose being hit with a full-on train of injuries will change that outlook a bit, as the team is looking to deal with the mess occurring this spring which could see the Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira miss significant time, with Derek Jeter and Phil Hughes slated to join them on the DL to start the season.
It won’t be all roses and champagne for the Angels though, even if this deal gets done.
Sure, the team is likely to be better off without the total financial commitment to Wells through 2014, but as Jeff Passan tweeted, Los Angeles is still likely going to be on the hook for a significant amount of it, which is to say they’ll be writing seven (perhaps eight) figure cheques to have Wells play for someone else.
Still, all things considering, this albatross contract swap between two of the highest payrolls in baseball could end up being a win-win … in a rather backwards kind of way.