Many Yankees fans have suggested that the Bombers take back Vernon Wells in a Roy Halladay trade in order to lower the cost of Halladay in terms of prospects. Although I have my doubts about Toronto accepting a non-premium package just to get salary relief, let us assume for a moment that they would accept a lesser package if Wells was included. While this sounds like a decent idea, Sky Kalkman over at BTB gives a bit of insight
into why taking on Wells might be an epic disaster:
That’s not a typo: Wells’ contract is on pace to cost Toronto $92M more than paying a player of his recent caliber the going free agent rate. If we compare that to Roy Halladay’s +$23M figure, it means the Jays would need to include four Roy Halladays along with Vernon Wells and receive nothing in return in order to make it a fair deal. J.P., got any more Halladays lying around?
Some will argue that Vernon Wells is better than this. Maybe he got a little lazy after after signing the big contract and breaking his wrist surely didn’t help his production. How much would he need to rebound in order to simply offset the value of one Roy Halladay? That is, how many WAR per season would he need to average throughout the rest of his contract to have his trade value be worth -$23M? Open Excel, change numbers, say voodoo spell, boom: 3.0 WAR. That would be quite a rebound. And remember, that’s just to make fair a trade in which the Jays send away Wells and Halladay in return for nothing.
What if Wells rebounded enough to justify the contract on his own, relative to what you’d be willing to pay him as a free agent? Well, that would take 3.9 WAR per season through 2014, a level of production Wells has hit twice and exceeded once. Even at that level of production, he would have zero trade value.
That is pretty damning. Wells is worse than Melky at the plate and fields as poorly as Johnny Damon. His awful defense would likely mean that the Yankees would have him replace Damon in left next year, a position where his suddenly anemic bat will be even more out of place. The marginal difference in value that the Yankees get from adding Roy Halladay to the rotation over Joba, Wang, or Pettitte may actually be entirely eradicated by the loss in value that the Yankees would experience with Wells in left field. If the Yankees want Roy Halladay, they are going to have to give up some premium young talent. Vernon Wells should not be an option.
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