Boneheaded Sportswriter Award - January, 2011
AP Account of the Vernon Wells Trade
by Asher B. Chancey, BaseballEvolution.com
January 21, 2010
the full article at SI.com
"The Los Angeles Angels acquired
All-Star center fielder Vernon Wells
from Toronto on Friday night, giving
them the big bat they wanted to add this
The Blue Jays shipped their high-priced
fixture to the Angels for catcher Mike
Napoli and outfielder Juan Rivera in one
of baseball's biggest trades this
No it did not, in fact, give them "the
big bat they wanted to add this winter."
That would have been Carl Crawford. Or
Adrian Beltre. Or Jayson Werth.
"Neither general manager, Tony Reagins
of the Angels nor Alex Anthopoulos of
the Blue Jays, would specifically say
whether any money was included in the
trade to offset Wells' salary. Instead,
both GMs danced around the question,
simply saying it was announced as a
Right, because Angels fans have been on
the cliff since the Gary Matthews deal,
and the Angels can't possibly admit to
having taken another huge deal for a guy
who over-achieved for one year.
"The financial implications were
certainly a large component,"
Anthopoulos said. "There's no question
going forward this will give us
Speaking later off the record,
Anthopoulos was overheard saying,
Wowzers, I never thought
anybody would be so foolish as to
take that contract off our hands. And
they gave us two quality players to
boot. We would have just given
them Wells and his contract for free.
"He made his major league debut with
Toronto in 1999 and quickly became one
of baseball's most promising players."
Dear Angels fans: Congratulations on
acquiring a guy who was one of
baseball's most promising players.
Ten years ago.
"He is a tremendous person and the type
of player that will impact our club
immediately, both on offense and
He is a tremendous person is now
officially the she's got a great
personality of professional sports.
"Nagged by injuries, Wells dipped in
2009 before a bounce-back season."
A sneaky non-sequitor. Wells dip in
2009 had nothing to do with
injuries, and his injuries had
nothing to do with his dip. In
2007, he played 149 games and hit 16
home runs with a .245 average. In
2008, he played 108 games but hit
.300 with 20 home runs. Then, in
2009, he 158 games but hit .270 with
a .711 OPS. So, a better sentence
would have been "Nagged by
inconsistency, Wells has dipped
repeatedly throughout his career.
In an unrelated note, he was
injured for part of 2008."
"A three-time Gold Glove winner,
he's looking forward to playing
on real grass."
Yes, because if there is
anything real grass does, it is
increase the range of
outfielders used to playing on
"Whether he stays in center
remains to be seen. The Angels
moved perennial Gold Glove
winner Torii Hunter to right
last season to make room for
speedy Peter Bourjos."
This will be the real tragedy,
and the real "this is no longer
a well run organization" symbol:
if Vernon Wells displaces Peter Bourjos. Bourjos didn't hit for
crap in his callup last season,
but he appears to be a
transcendent defensive player,
and if the Angels are going to
go with an aging Wells over a
player in Bourjos who makes
centerfield very small, Wells
will in fact have had an impact
on the Angels defensively.
"Whichever way they line up,
Angels manager Mike Scioscia
said he could have the best
defensive outfield since the St.
Louis Cardinals in the 1980s."
Come on, Mike Scioscia. We all
think you're a genius. Don't
ruin it. This defensive
outfield wouldn't be better than
the 2005 Chicago White Sox - or
even the Crawford-Upton-Whomever
defensive outfield of the recent
Tampa Bay Rays for that matter -
and wouldn't approach the
Cardinals of the 1980's.
"The trade also could give
Toronto room to offer a
long-term contract to major
league home run champion Jose
Bautista. He's also in
arbitration and asked for $10.5
million, with the Blue Jays
offering $7.6 million."
Translation: The Blue Jays
are hopeful that this move will
give them the flexibility to
continue in their franchise
philosophy of rewarding
over-achieving players for their
one year of outstanding
performance with a
before that player has a chance
to prove their one year was a
fluke, because that worked so
well with Wells and Alexis Rios.
Questions? Concerns? Comments? Asher lives in Philadelphia, PA, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.