Vernon Wells remains on the free agent market, attracting minimal interest from teams despite the fact that he’d only cost a pro-rated portion of the Major League minimum this upcoming season. The veteran outfielder sits in limbo but ultimately could benefit financially from not playing this upcoming season. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal explains further that Wells’ “incentive” can be tied directly to the fact that he makes his offseason home in Arlington, Texas.
Texas – like Florida and Washington – is one of a small group of states that do not require a state income tax. By not playing in 2014 Wells could potentially save himself just over $1 Million in taxes.
Wells is slated to earn $21 Million this coming season, the final season of a seven year contract extension he’d signed with the Toronto Blue Jays back in 2006. He’d been traded twice since signing that deal and thanks to some creative wording the bulk of that amount will be paid out by the Los Angeles Angels, who are on the hook for $18.6 Million. The New York Yankees, who released Wells mid-January, will pay the remaining $2.4 Million.
Should a team sign him to play for 2014 it won’t cost them much, but teams still have not been lining up with interest in the 35 year old who’s production has been on the decline. In 458 plate appearances this past season he hit just .233/.282/.349. Even before New York’s spending this offseason (Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran) there were questions about whether Wells fit into the team’s plans moving forward.
Wells is a career .270/.319/.459 hitter over 15 seasons in the Major Leagues, with 270 home runs. The first 12 of those seasons came with the Blue Jays, with whom Wells was selected to three All Star Games and won three Gold Glove Awards.