The Been Stew has a way of getting to the bottom of things. The recent Vernon Wells-Mike Napoli/Juan Rivera trade is no different. Wells, who experienced a slight resurgence last season, is still owed $86 million over the next 4 years. Coming from a Cubs fan who knows a thing or two about bad contracts (here and here), this trade is a head scratcher.
Why would the Anaheim Angels want this much money tied up in one player? Perhaps Angels’ GM Tony Reagins was feeling some outside pressure after striking out (nailed it) on other big free agents like Carl Crawford and Adrian Beltre. The Angels were obviously still looking for a bat and they apparently felt Wells was that bat.
But how did this trade really come to fruition? Was Reagins so desperate to make some noise that they somehow acquired the “Man With The Untradeable Contract“? Was he trying to upgrade the defense of an aging outfield? Is he a huge fan of The Road Warrior and Commando?
None of these hypotheses are correct. The real impetus for the swap is that Reagins had forgotten to switch over his Far Side Office Calendar since 2007. According to Reagins’s assistant, here’s how it all went down:
- Reagins waltzes into office at 10:23AM. Attempts Cryptoquip but gives up shortly thereafter.
- Notices calendar stating the date is Jan. 19th, 2007.
- Pulls up baseballreference.com to see Vernon Wells’s 2006 stats. Disregards stats accumulated for years 2007-10 as projected statistics.
- Tries to call up J.P. Ricciardi, gets Alex Anthopoulos instead.
- Makes deal.
- Asks Anthropoulos if he wants to catch I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry at the Cinemark.
When reached for comment concerning the trade, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos had this to say:
You know, to be honest, I hung up on (Reagins) the first time he called. I thought he was just being a dick. Kind of like a “new GM” hazing thing. Like if I called Sabean wanting to trade for Zito or something. But he called me right back still asking about the availability of Vernon Wells. Reagins actually proposed (Mike) Napoli and (Juan) Rivera. I’m glad he did too because I was ready to give him Wells for two large pizzas and a Jamocha Shake.”
Reagins, seemingly still unaware of the current calendar year, seems surprisingly upbeat about the trade:
“With the addition of Vernon Wells, we now have an impact outfield. Bobby Abreu is coming off another 100 RBI season and Torii Hunter just had his first 30+ HR season. I guarantee it won’t be Torii’s last. Three speed/power guys still in their prime with no signs of declining skills? Look out AL West. Also, have you guys read that new Harry Potter book “The Deathly Hallows”? Man, you gotta get out there and buy it. Best one of the series so far.”
Here’s hoping that Reagins has one of these to help pay for that contract.