Wells, Jays near $126 million deal

It appears as though the Vernon Wells saga is nearing its end — and it’s a happy ending for both sides. A source with direct knowledge of the negotiations told me today that Wells and the Jays were indeed close to a seven-year deal worth $126 million — or an average of $18 million annually. The extension, which would take effect in 2008, also would include a full trade protection and an opt-out clause after the fourth season.

According to the source, Wells’ representatives approached the Jays with this deal about four months ago. The Jays balked, offering $14 million for only four to five years. Wells stuck by the asking price, even though his reps believed he could get more as a free agent after 2007. Eventually — this brings us to this past week — Toronto matched the original asking price put forward by Wells’ camp. Now, it appears that the sides are just waiting on approval from ownership plus the routine physical — perhaps some more detailed accounting work, too.

I think this is a good move for the Jays. There was talk that Toronto would consider trading Wells this offseason if he didn’t agree to an extension, but if the Jays are serious about making a run at the division, I think Wells has to be a part of the picture. Another positive is the fact that Wells is likely taking less money than he’d get next winter. That shows a commitment to the Jays on his part.

Maybe Wells wouldn’t get more next winter, though. There’s two ways to look at it. There are a number of top-tier center fielders who are eligible to become free agents next winter (Torii Hunter, Andruw Jones, Ichiro, etc;). A big class like that could either push prices up — i.e. one CF signs for X money and now another CF can ask for at least that much. OR a big class of center fielders could pull the price down — for example, CF #1 wants X amount of dollars, but teams say no and instead sign CF #2 for less. In the current market, though, where teams are spending at will, the first scenario seems more likely. That’s one reason why this is a good deal for Toronto. If Wells becomes a free agent, the Jays probably wouldn’t be able to afford him.

So now we wait for the official word. Toronto could hold a press conference to announce the deal as early as Monday, but now that Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi is back home in Worcester, Mass., maybe it won’t be until mid-week or later in the week. Maybe approval from ownership will take some time, too. We’ve seen how long it’s taken to get the payroll approved.

Even though Wells appears to be off the block now, Toronto is still exploring trades for a starter to replace Ted Lilly. Outfielders Reed Johnson and Alex Rios could potentially be moved, along with some pitching prospects. Time will tell.

Stay tuned for more…

43 Comments

This deal makes no sense from either a financial or baseball perspective. It has all the hall marks of P.Godfrey not JP. Say goodbye to Lind, McGowan, and any other prospects the Jays might have in their barren minor-league system. Also, say good bye to JP who was likely forced into this ridiculous deal. Say good bye to the future of the franchise. Say good bye to any hope of winning. Say goodbye to the average fan who cannot afford to go to the game. And finally, say goodbye to me!

Hmm… Rios? Johnson? Lind? I don’t like the idea of trading any of them.

As much as Johnson is my personal favorite of the three, I’d have to trade him if given the choice.

Let’s put it like this. What if all three Blue Jays played for the team in 2007, and all got injured? I know that is the worst case scenario but there it is. And we wanted to trade one of them. Who would have the most value in the deal?

Rios and Lind, because they are young, talented prospects.

You wouldn’t get much for Johnson.

What I’m saying is, trading Johnson is less of a risk now than next year, because he hasn’t got the same tools that awe other scouts and general managers.

Yes we got wells. This is a great deal in many ways so i don’t know what you are talking about burt. How can we say goodbye to hope of winning when we got one of the best defensive and offenseive center feilder in the game.

About the pitching situation. I don’t want to trade johnson or lind or rios, but one of them probably has to go. I would say rios, no doubt he is great but he has only had 1 good season. Also he hasn’t quite gotten back from his injury and we can’t trade johnson who is like the only eligible lead-off hitter we have got. Johnson is also great defensively. Lind is like rios but is left-handed and cheaper. Also with rios we could give up one of the pitching prospects and expect to get a mediocre outfeilder and a 3rd or 4th pitcher in return atleast.

THis would mean

Halladay

Burnett

Pitcher

Chacin

Marcum/Towers (i prefer marcum unless towers get’s back to his old form)

Sounds like a good deal with Wells. Everybody should be happy. (And now we hold our breath until the signature is on the contract.)

We need a pitcher and there are some expendable bats now. Nobody wants to see anyone go but if it was Rios (who JP refused to let go last year) or Johnson (who adds a lot to the team and is comparatively cheap) that would mean Lind would have to be ready. Is he? McGowan and the pitching prospects would probably be more attractive to a sub-.500 team and leave less questions unanswered at the Rogers Centre.

Goodbye burt. And I think your wrong.

Burt: Considering it was Godfrey who hired JP, there’s no way JP would be fired over Wells’ signing if it was Godfrey who wanted it. (Unless you think he would quit.)

Having Wells is awesome. Im stoked. Just a Question though: Since we have Thomas, and are not going to trade Wells now, can we trade another right handed power bat ? Could we trade someone like Glaus to a team like the Angels, who are dieing for a power bat cornerman and get some young Wicked pitcher from them ? ie. Santana ? I mean, at least we could keep Burt in Bluejayland by keeping his favourites. But honestly why not trade Glaus ?

Glaus had a no-trade clause in Arizona. He waived it to be traded to Toronto, but Toronto may now be subject to it.

Glaus got full no-trade when he got traded to Toronto. He might want to go back to the Angels, but do Angels want him back?

or…

instead of doing something stupid and trading glaus, we could have the best lineup in baseball and one of the best in baseball history.

trade johnson, rios, or lind for pitching. it would be better to keep johnson because he is stellar in the field and a good leadoff gouy. but they wont be needed in a few years anyway with snider looking so promising.

keep up the good work jordan

Hey, thanks for the info on Glaus. I just thought since the angels are so bent on trading for LaRoche anyways, who has almost exact states as Glaus, but only a first basemen. First base, the one position the angels have plenty of good young talent for, but not third. I just thought the Glaus question was interesting. I didn’t want to upset Glaus’s fan club. Just the idea that Aubrey Huff–Left handed; young; better on base average; good slugger and cheaper, woulda been an interesting option since he’s still on the market. I just don’t see teams giving decent pitching for our outfielders. With Wells resigned, next season is gonna be good.

I agree with Ukgo. I really like the idea of having one of the best lineups in baseball history. But, if the Jays can’t field better 4th and 5th pitchers then Towers and McGowan, i just don’t see how the Jays are going to stand up to the Yankees and BoSox’s amazing pitching rosters.

Riccardi still overpaid, when there was no competition. He wouldn’t spend it if it was his money. All season ticket holders should revolt since you will never see World Series till 2111
Don Turner

I don’t think that glaus should be traded and trust me i’m not in his fan-club. It has to be one of the outfeilders since we got good cheap outfeilders such as power hitter john-ford griffin .254/30hr/103rbi in 512 at-bats also 62bb 80runs and .335OBP
Lind-we all know what he can do

Travis Snider in 194 atbats .325 average/11hr/41rbi/.567Slug/.412OBP

SO in the future years we going to have plenty of outfeilders there are still tony miller, david smith and many others. So it would probably be best to trade away one of the young guys but they wouldn’t bring much in return but trading away rios would bring alot since he is still young. THen we bring in lind and next year or couple of years bye,,bye johnson and bring in powerhitter Griffin or Snider. If we are only going to bring one of them then trade the other. I think griffin would fetch a good pricce in the future.

Any ways we have one of the best line-ups now we need one of the best pitchers because without them there is no way we will get into the play-offs. We need atleast 1 medoioce pitcher. And i think they should be gotten through trading

I’m on board with trading Rios and whichever of Marcum, McGowan and Towers gets the trade done, to Dogers for Brad Penny and Andre Either.

im not in glaus’s fan club either. dont get me wrong. but how many times do you get to have a guy who hit 36 hr battting fifth?

riccardi in no way overpaid. wells probably would have gotten double that kind of money on the open market next year.

See i don’t know why the Dodgers would trade Either for a guy who has preety similar stats, and then trade their number two starter Penny, for the guys the jays won’t start. The Dodgers are looking for a power bat, and their only weak position player is Betemit on third.

I think this is a great move for the Jays. After years of watching young stars go elsewhere, the Jays send a bulletin to the fans saying we can have our superstars too. Vernon Wells can bring people to a ball park, and I’m thrilled he’s part of the equation for 8 years.
The Jays haven’t sworn themselves to a trade as of yet – free agent options are still available in such arms as Armas, Suppan, etc that can fill roles. The Jays have two aces at the top of the rotation already and just need 1-2 guys to fill out the rotation. Let’s not forget that Towers led the team in wins just two seasons ago, so hoping for a return to form isn’t totally out of question, and the organization will have a better idea of where he is than us.

If the Jays were to trade for pitching, I find it highly unlikely that they would trade Johnson – he is one of those guys they need to be on base for the power core, and is a fan favorite.

Toronto has two options right now, they can A)Trade some prospects for a quality pitcher that will fill our #3 spot.
B)Stick to their guns and try to see if they can fill the holes internaly. McGowan, Marcum, Towers could all fill the holes. Best case scenario both McGowan and Towers step up and take the 4/5 spots. Then we use Marcum as long releive/spot start. Worst case neither Towers or McGowan can handle the job. Then the Jays would have to find a trade before they fell too far behind. But with Halladay Burnett and their offence I think they could at least afford to try this. Option B is a little more risk/reward because they wouldnt have to trade any prospects and still could have their guys. Plus the Jays went alot of last year without a solid rotation and still managed to finish second. But option A is a guarentee and if they want to win this year then that is the probable route.

Now all we have to look at are pitchers. Trade does seem to be the best but from the free agent market these four i think are our best chance

Jeff Suppan-my best pick, he would be cheaper than mulder but can probably do the same thing. he had good 2004, 2005 years if he can go back to that he will make a great #3 starter.

Mark Mulder-injury problems but probably aside from zito the best pitcher out there. he has done a good job all years aside from last year. IF once again he can go to his potential then he might be a good pickup but he will be costly

Joel Pinerio- He had an excellent season in 2003 with seattle, if he can go back to that season then we have a great 3 starter. 2003= 16-11/3.78era and 211.2 innings pitched. But last 3 seasons he hasn’t done so good, he will be cheap too.

Mark Redman-I don’t really like him that much but he might come as a cheap 5th starter (not that we need any)

Basically all pitchers had a bad last year but have the potential to become good #3 starters. The only thing is can they go back to their good seasons and will they come cheap.

THe answer is probably not that’s why we should make a trade but if we can’t get a good trade, sign one of them it a risk but might be rewarding

The issue with trading for pitching for the Jays is that any trade from the roster is going to create a hole in the lineup. The top three outfielders seem to people’s favorite bait, but Matt Stairs, as much as he will foll his role well, was not brought in as a starter. Same goes for John MacDonald in the infield. Adam Lind’s bat may be ready to take a spot on the Major League roster, but the Jays are (smartly) protecting him and letting him develop before he is on the big team and I don’t think he would be someone they are willing to part with. The young arms (Mcgowan, Marcum)may get shopped around, but I don’t think the Jays want to do anything that will just aggravate future pitching problems. By the time these facts are taken into account, it becomes apparent that what the jays would (seemingly) be willing to offer won’t get any pitching better than that which they already have. With the lineup shaping up as it is, the Jays don’t need any stellar pitchers to fill in the holes. This is a lineup that will make pitchers successful (Look at Chacin’s record/ERA). Guys like Suppan would do well with the run support.

Right now I don’t think it makes sense to trade a proven commodity to get a 4rd or 5th starter. Johnson is a good leadoff hitter and Rios is just scratching the surface of his potential. I hope the Jays go out there and grab another pitcher like Suppan in freeagency but if they don’t the only way they will truly compete for a spot in the post season is to add pitching through trade. McGowan and Marcum have alot of potential but are not quite ready. I would suspect one of them will be dealt prior to spring training in order to get that 3rd starter. The other will probably fill in in the 5th spot. I

Hey, just saw that Oakland is dangling Dan Haren as trade bait. Just wondering what people think of trading Rios for Haren ? Guy pitched two years of 200+ inning with over 150K’s in each year. Not bad. Thoughts ?

I really like what Alex Rios showed last season. I think he will be one of the best players in the future. We should try to sign Redman or Suppan and not trade Rios for the future of the blue jays.

Sorry to tell you people but Redman and Suppan are not the greatest of options. I very much would like to see everyone we have stay a Jay, but sometimes its just not possible. Redman is definatly not an option, this guy had a 5.71 ERA and hitters were batting .307 against him last year, please dont tell me we cant find someone who can do better than that. Suppan could be an option, but there must not be interest from him, because if there was a chance to sign a quality pitcher in free agency I think that would be Riccardi’s first option. Suppan isnt anything spectacular either, he has a career 4.60 ERA and hitters have a .278 average against him.(in the NL not the AL East) I really think Marcum could do just as Well as either of them. Why not get a ligitmate #3 guy? Saying Riccardi can deal one outfeilder and maybe a pitching prospect for a good quality pitcher. If he deals Lind, we have Johnson,Wells,Rios
If he deals Johnson, its

Lind,Wells,Rios

if he deals Rios its

Lind,Wells,Johnson

All those options seem pretty good to me. All those guys are .300 hitters, not many teams can say they have that much offence from their outfeild.

Well well Wells, a great player to say the least, but in my opinion will cost us a trip to the big show this year (2007). The way I see it though, if JP keeps the team as is, and goes with what we have, just think what they can accomplish in 2008 with Hill, Rios, Markum, League, Lind & Downs with another year under their belts.
Seeing how Wells’ contract is structured, it may be possible we can land another potential 20 game winner next winter, and that will be all we will need (barring injuries of course)to give NY a real shot as top dog in the AL. As for this year, in my opinion, slugging our way into 3rd position (as Boston did last year) is about all we can expect the way our pitching is right now. Unfortunarely we dont know what the Jays are thinking, but building towards a great team in 2008 looks to be very promising.

Pros and cons of trading these 4 players:

1)Dustin McGowan

Pros: McGowan has disappointed as a prospect with the Blue Jays and many fans are tiring of seeing him under-perform year after year. He carries great value on the trading market. We have many young pitchers in our system and we don’t need McGowan.

Cons: McGowan is an outstanding prospect, and is almost ready to have the season that we have been promised for so long (if it will ever come). Roy Halladay and Chris Carpenter both got off to slow starts to their careers with the Blue Jays and developed into great pitchers.

Overall: Keep him because I think that he has the chance to be the best of all our young pitchers.

2) Alex Rios

Pros: Trading Rios would likely net us a top-line young pitcher. Pitching is hard to come by, and Rios may be the current asking price for a Dan Haren type (in other words, Lind might not fetch Haren in a trade). Besides, Rios really cooled down after a hot start. Rios is not a bone-fide slugger for certain.

Cons: Rios is a 5-tool player, and has scary potential. Prospects like Rios come once in a blue moon.

Overall: Keep him. Rios is one of the faces of the future (and he is on the Blue Jays’ 2007 commercial).

3) Reed Johnson

Pros: Last year was somewhat of a fluke for Johnson who came out of the gate hitting near .400. Although he is a hustler and a hard-worker, he does not have the potential of Rios or Lind. Last year, he benefited from having Catalanotto share time with him in left field. He has no longer Catalanotto, and will have to face righties. He is not irreplaceable.

Cons: Johnson is likable, and a fan-favourite. He is a hard-worker and a hustler. He is also the Jays’ lead-off man.

Overall: Trade him while his value is high. He is exactly the player Ken Williams and Billy Beane like for their teams.

Adam Lind

Pros: Lind is just a prospect, not a proven player. He might turn out to be a flop. He is poor defensively, and could still fetch something in a trade.

Cons: He does not have as much value in a trade as the others, and he looks like he will become a true slugger. Very few people have seasons in the Minor Leagues like Linds’.

Overall: Keep him because he will improve his defense and will become a good hitter.

I think the Jays should decide if they want to win this year or not. If they want to look to 08, then they should really keep Rios/Marcum/Lind, they just have so much potential. Trading these guys for anything less then a Garland/Vasquez or a Haren is really a huge waste of time. I think we could benefit by trading Johnson to get some prospects from the Met’s like Heilman, but other then that lets wait till 08; Rios deserves more respect than what espn is reporting as the trade offers him.

respond to Dave,
i believe we dont need to trade for anymore prospects. We have plenty of prospect, we need proven players. I heard rumors about Penny, maybe Rios + someone for Brad Penny?

And about Redman, you gotta consider the fact he played for KC last year. They were the worst team in every stats. Redman wouldnt have the same amount of confidence or motivation to prove anything on that team. Well i believe he would make a good 4th or 5th starter, and hes alot better then Towers. And yes he did have 5.71 ERA last year. But if he was in toronto, he would had the 2nd best ERA(in which who qualifies), only behind Roy Halladay.

Hey good point about Redman and about prospects.
Is Penny worth it ? I admit i haven’t seen him pitch, and his stats last year sound good,but, he’s got potentially three years with a larger salary, questions about health and the translation of skills to the AL to wonder about. I like J.P’s comments about not wanting to get stuck with mediocre guys for high priced years. I just think/wish for a trade that would bring a Garland/Vasquez/Haren, and even sign a Redman –now that youve pointed out his strengths, and with our hitters, WOW.

i havent seen penny much since he has been in LA. but what I saw from him in the all star game, it would be a bargain to trade rios + prospect to get him. i dont really know how he was cumulatively in LA last year, but he was good enough to start the all star game. the way he was blowing heat past great hitters like derek jeter was amazing. we would be lucky to get him, and I hope we do.

Backman: Johnson hit .316 against righties. Catalanotto only hit .306.

Penny, yes Redman no!!
Do we want the #1 starter of the allstar game or the 5th starter scraps off the worst team in the league. Serioulsy people, take a look at Redmans stats, even if you havnt seen him pitch they will tell you he is not going to make us better. As for the point of him having the 2nd best ERA on our team behind Halladay I really dont know how many innings it takes to qualify, i certainly dont care, because that has no bearing on if he is a good pitcher or not. ERA of 5.71 is not good enough for this team if we want to get better.

Lilly’s SO/BB ratio was better than Redman’s, but Redman’s BB/IP, HR/IP, and IP/GS ratios were better. Maybe Redman’s ERA would have been lower on a team that was better defensively than the Royals.

In response to Torgen,

Johnson had an outstanding year in 2006. However, if it’s a matter of keeping Johnson or Rios, Johnson’s year is still not good enough to warrant us keeping him over Rios.

backmann, i agree with you. Johnson had a great year, and hes one of my favourite players, but rios is the future. Rios will eventually find his power stroke and jack 25-30, maybe not in 07, but he will still have enough pop. i say gibby should put rios in between johnson and wells at the top, this way we have 3 fairly good runners in front of glaus and thomas, but we also have a good chunk of power. also, rios hits for a high enough avg that he will be on base plenty of the time for wells thomas glaus and overbay to knock him in many times. Great blog Jordan, keep it up!

Great to see Wells here for the long haul!Great guy with great production and the team leader.Jays can’t expect to contend in the east without him.I was happy to see the jays losing on Meche and Lilly.Way to much money for .500 pitchers.I think trading Rios or Lind for a #4 or #5 starter is not the way to go as far as Iam concerned.Alex Rios only worth a back of the rotation pitcher? I think not.Jansen and Marcum with a year under their belt could be the answer.Even Towers,although I think the pen is the place for him until he gets confidence back.For insurance and depth,why not try to sign Redman or even Ramon Ortiz. Ortiz is interesting because like Lilly and Meche, Ortiz is also a .500 pitcher with a great attitude.(unlike Lilly)He Could also be signed for alot less than 10million/4yrs.I believe he was 11-15/around 5.00era/190 innings last year with the Nationals,however those numbers could have been similar to Lilly’s with the Jays offence and defence behind him.

Here are a few things to think about.

1) No matter what else the Jays do this off-season, it is extremely unlikely that they will finish ahead of Boston or New York. I hate to say it, but this is the reality.

2)JP’s philosophy on putting a contender together is analogous to a one-night stand versus a marriage. JP is not trying to build a competitive team year in and year out, much like Atlanta, NY, Detroit etc. Rather, he is trying to get his team to the post-season at all costs. If this means mortgaging the future, so be it. Ever hear of a guy named Chris Carpenter? Ever hear of a guy named Michael Young? These people were either given away or traded away for what amounts to nothing. Why? JP is more interested in trying to build his reputation as an unproven general manager by getting to the post-season. He will trade all of our precious few young prospects to achieve his ambition. Yet, look at “DUMBrowski” with the Tigers. He has already achieved what JP has not by building around talented, young players. Detroit will be competitive for a long time, and will have less of a payroll that Toronto. Meanwhile, Toronto will be stuck in 3rd place with little, of any hope for the future.

3)Consider Oakland. Here is a team that annually finishes ahead of the blue jays, and that, with less payroll. How do they do it? Their general manager stock piles young talent. He would have taken a guy like Wells, and turned him into a stud pitching prospect and a stud out-fielder. Yes, he may have had to wait a year for them to mature at the major league level, but chances are, they would likely be in the race for the rookie of the year, like so many of Oakland’s talented young players.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I feel that the Jays philosophy for building a winner is all to similar to that of the Leafs. Both organizations refuse to build around young talent, either because they cannot draft it or because when they draft it, they are too willing to trade it away for a tier III veteran who “may” make them a little bit better in the near future.

I agree that building a winner from young talent is the way to go.Signing Vernon to a long term deal was a step in that direction.Trading away Rios,Johnson,Lind,McGowan for short term help would be like taking a step back.This club already has a good nucleus of young talent lets keep it.I still say it’s time for some of the young pitchers to step up or they may as well be gone.#4 @ #5 starting positions have been open since last spring and no one really has jumped up and taken advantage of this.This spring may be Ryan Houston’s time to shine.It would still be nice to see another veteran arm in the rotation but not at the expense of the future.This team can compete with the Yankees and Red Sox.There are holes on those clubs as well.There are also alot of big egos and aging pitchers who are at the end of their careers.As for the Tigers, they realized that they needed more of a veteran presence in the clubhouse to complement the young talent.(added Sheffield).

Oh by the way, the Jays play in a lot tougher division than Oakland.The A’s have done an excellent job and have a good club.However don’t look for them to get past the ALCS anytime soon.

While you make a decent point tk you have to take into account where Toronto’s prospects are at in terms of development. We have alot of players ready to take on a full time job within the next season or two. Shaun MArcum, Dustin McGowan, Casey Janssen, Ty Taubenheim, Adam Lind, Josh Banks, Sergio Santos etc, ect. are all going to be pushing for playing time in the near future. There is no possible way the Jays can keep all of these players. Why not trade one or two of them for a player that can push you over the top? If Riccardi moves one or two starters and one outfielder there are still a handfull of guys in the system that can step in if needed. I think right now trying to get a #3 starter is much more important than sitting on a couple of prospect who might be good. Due to the signing of Thomas and Stairs I think it is only reasonable to assume that riccardi and the Jays want to win now. Its finally nice to see the Jays trying to win instead of trying not to lose. Lets get another topline starter in here so we can finally push our way backinto the playoff picture.

In my opinion, the Jays should leave their roster the way it is now. We may not have a complete line of starters to get things going for us, but we have one of the best lineups is baseball….FINALLY. With our pitching situation that way it is, I like the look of Halladay/Burnett/Chacin, and then giving the opportunities to Towers/McGowan/Marcum. I think Towers and Marcum especially have a good shot at becoming quality starters. Towers may have struggled a bit last year, but I think he will rise to the occasion if given the chance again in 2007. Marcum is coming off from a good rookie year and I think he has great potential. Plus, the lineup we have is only going to benefit pitchers that have this to back them up. The bullpen looks fair and we obviously have one of the best closers in Ryan.
Why mess up what could turn out great. I say take some chances and give the Blue Jays that we have now a chance to show why they were brought here in the first place.

Do people think it’s a problem going into next season with only three quality starters, and only one of them pitched more then 200 innings last year, and all three got hurt (Haliday not as seriously, but shows it can happen). It’s just that if we are going with such a young bullpen, isn’t that taking a big risk ?

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