The worst trade in Angels history is now just an unfortunate footnote as the Los Angeles Angels agree to send outfielder Vernon Wells to the New York Yankees.
Wells was acquired in what was a panic maneuver by former Angels GM Tony Reagins. The Halos had "lost out" on the Carl Crawford sweepstakes, Reagins shipped Juan Rivera and extra first baseman/sometime catcher Mike Napoli to the Toronto Blue Jays; assuming virtually all of Wells' salary.
The biggest blunder was not keeping Mike Napoli over the last two seasons of his service time. The actual acquisition of Vernon Wells nor his contract hurt the Angels. Arte Moreno did not put a spending limit on the team after acquiring Wells. The Angels handed out big money contracts to Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson and Josh Hamilton over the next two seasons.
Wells was not an impact player on the field for the Angels posting a below average .667 OPS & -0.3 WAR with 36 home runs in 208 games.
In the clubhouse Wells was a well liked and respected member of the team. Many veteran players choose to pout and express their anger to the local beat writers or on social media when their playing time is reduced. Wells handled the loss of an everyday job like a professional, leading the young players in the clubhouse by example. Angel fans unfairly put too much of the blame over the last two seasons on Wells. A fresh start and more playing time was an obvious factor in Wells waiving his non-trade clause without some sort of bonus payment.
With the trade to the Yankees the Angels are rumored to be paying approximately $29 MM of the remaining $42 MM. With All-Stars Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter all out to being the 2013 season the move is not surprising. Wells gave the Angels what they needed by having a strong Cactus League spring batting .361 4 HR 11 RBI.
Kole Calhoun appears to be the immediate benefactor of the move. The left-handed hitting 25 year old spent the majority of 2012 with the Salt Lake City Bees. Batting .887 OPS with 14 homers in 105 games.