Over past three seasons, Wells failed to produce a OPS+ over 90.
The New York Yankees trimmed down their competition for the outfield next season by designating Vernon Wells for assignment. A year after signing with New York, Wells won’t be playing for the Yankees again after he was let go from the 40-man roster. The move shouldn’t come as a surprise given their newly acquired replacement outfielders.
Wells had a productive season last year for the Yankees, who were struggling with outfield options the last few years due to injuries. Curtis Granderson missed a lot of time the last few years in New York, and he was able to stay in town by signing with the cross town Mets. They also lost Nick Swisher to the Indians a year ago and did not resign Raul Ibanez last season, despite Ibanez’s left-handed power in a hitter’s ballpark.
New York had a pleasant surprise in Wells this past season, as he hit 11 home runs with 50 RBI and had a .233 batting average – nothing spectacular but almost over achieving for a player on the back end of his career. With the departure of Granderson and Robinson Cano, the Yankees were able to upgrade the outfield, leaving Wells without so much as a role as a DH.
The remaining outfielders on the Yankees roster include Ichiro, Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, and Alfonso Soriano. Five players can’t play three outfield positions. Ellsbury and Beltran were just signed, and Soriano had a great resurgence the last part of 2013. This would leave Ichiro and Gardner as the odd men out, although there could be some rearranging with the DH to upgrade the defense with either player.
Ichiro could be the next man to go, as Gardner is younger and has greater potential left. Gardner would also garner more in return in a trade however. The fact that none of these outfielders are quality utility men means that at least one more is more than likely on the way out.
Vernon Wells has the ability to sign with another ball club given his production, but it would be for a short term and low pay. His power isn’t what it used to be, and he could be on the brink of retirement. Wells should get a shot in spring training with another club, but he will have to impress someone enough to give him a roster spot over a younger player.
Yankees tickets are available for this season already so don’t hesitate the grab some for the 2014 season!