Vernon Wells was a $21 million bench piece for the Los Angeles Angels last season and his future in Southern California was limited after just two years.
Wells was traded to the New York Yankees for prospects one week before Opening Day, because of the Angels’ constant logjam of outfielders. The 34-year-old appeared in only 77 games for Los Angeles last season in outfield relief and designated hitting roles.
New York has become notorious for reviving veteran careers nearing their end point. This year’s projects for the Bronx Bombers: Wells, Travis Hafner and Kevin Youkilis. Each were acquired to shoulder the burdens left by injured stars Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson.
Since being named the starting left fielder for the Yankees, Wells has nine hits, two home runs, four RBI and is averaging .360 in seven games. Wells had a .230 average last season for the Angels.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has been rather lucky with the performances by his elder acquisitions, seeing as he really just needed to fill holes in his lineup. Cashman had holes at first base, third base, left field and DH up until the last week of spring training.
The success of New York’s new replacements may not last all season long, but they don’t have to either. Once Teixeira and Granderson return from the designated list, all of the players’ appearances will be fewer and farther in between.
The Yankees have proved that one team’s junk is truly another team’s treasure this season.
John Engel is a Pac-12 basketball writer for Rant Sports and also works for ESPNLA 710 radio in Los Angeles. Follow John on Twitter: @engelsportsguy.