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William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies Interested in Vernon Wells?

Released by the New York Yankees, Vernon Wells now drawing interest from Philly?

Not sure how this has developed, but it has. The Phillies have interest in Vernon Wells. Take a minute and re-read that.

According to a report from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Philadelphia Phillies seemingly have a liking to the 35-year-old former Yankee outfielder. Cafardo notes that an American League exec said that signing Wells is “a no-brainer if you need a righthanded bat”. Wells is still capable in hitting lefties as noted by his .269 against LHP last season.

No, Wells is not the defender he once was as he took home three Gold Gloves as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. He’s relegated to the corners these days.

But would Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. pull off such a deal? I mean, the Los Angeles Angels are on the hook for a lot of dough here. That could lead to more teams checking out Wells and his interest among other teams. Kind of surprised that the Phillies were the only team Cafardo mentioned.

There is some resistance on the Phillies front; however, and I’m not talking about RAJ necessarily.

Corey Seidman of CSNPhilly questions if this move would be “Delmon Young, Part II”. And Seidman notes the reasons, most notably, Wells’ lack of getting on base among other things.

From 2011-13, Wells hit .226 with a .267 on-base percentage and .387 slugging percentage. He walked just 66 times in 1,249 plate appearances, which shakes out to once every 19 trips to the dish. Among 226 qualified players, Wells’ .267 OBP over that three-year span ranked 224th. Only Yuniesky Betancourt, who was the Phils’ final spring training cut last year, and J.P. Arencibia had lower marks.

That’s a walk rate of 5.3%. The OPS+ over those same three seasons is 81, with the highest being 90 in 2012.

If you’re looking for a plus side, his strikeout rate during the same three-year period is only 15.5% (194 SO in those 1,249 PA).

For all we know, this is the type of low risk-high reward signing that a few teams would be willing to make. If Wells could perform the way he did during the first month of last season (.300/.366/.544 with 6 HR and 13 RBI in 101 PA), bringing Wells into the fold might not be that bad a deal.

Of course, any team would look for him to replicate such numbers over the course of a full season and that might be the rub. If you platoon him against lefties, you might get your money’s worth.


Tags: MLB MLB Free Agents Philadelphia Phillies Vernon Wells

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