Step back three years. Vernon Wells is playing center field for the Toronto Blue Jays, swatting 31 home runs and earning his third trip to the All Star game. The following year, Wells is traded to the Los Angeles Angels, and his career takes a nose dive. Injuries limit his productivity, and he only plays 208 games over the next two years. During that time, Wells’ highest batting average is a measly .230, and his career looks to be nosediving.
Now look at him.
Among the New York Yankees’ numerous offseason acquisitions, Wells has been the best. His 10 home runs are good for sixth best in the American League, and he’s been just about their only consistent bat from the right side. In addition, Wells brings three Gold Glove awards to the mix and rounds out the outfield defense in left.
The Yankees have him signed through next year as well, and at least for now he’s playing up to that huge seven-year, $126 million contract he signed back in ’08. Luckily, the Yankees are only paying $11 million of the $21 million he’s owed, and next year they’ll only have to pay $2 million.
If Wells continues to produce, I see no reason why they won’t try to sign him for a cheap one or two year deal. After all, Wells will only be 36 years old when his contract expires, and right now, it seems he’s gotten his career back on track. For his sake and for the Yankees, I hope it stays that way.