The Los Angeles Angels were in desperate need of a change in culture when they finally fired GM Tony Reagins two seasons ago. And for the most part, the culture has indeed changed. Old faces have departed and new ones have arrived. Through a tumult of change, though, one looming reminder of Reagins’s stumbles toward the end of his stint with the Angels.
Yes, as the Angels have improved elsewhere in their roster, the one constant through it all was outfielder Vernon Wells — clogging the bases, stranding runners, and inducing groans aplenty with his sluggish defense.
But now, at long last, new GM Jerry Dipoto has sent Vernon Wells to the New York Yankees in return for minor leaguers Exicardo Cayones (OF) and Kramer Sneed (LHP). The Yankees will pay $13.9 million of the remaining $42 million in Vernon Wells’ remaining salary.
The implications of Vernon Wells’ departure are numerous and significant for the Halos. The most immediately obvious result is the absence of Wells’ poor showing at the plate. In his two seasons with the Halos, Wells batted .218 and .230 with a decent amount of power, but he was pretty much a guaranteed rally killer.
Vernon Wells’ departure will also clear up left field for speedster Peter Bourjos. Bourjos’ defense is a massive improvement over his predecessor’s, and those quick feet of his will prove invaluable on the basepaths.
More than anything, though, the Angels will benefit financially from the Vernon Wells trade. According to Mike Giovanna of the Los Angeles Times, the Angels have freed up enough cap space to trade for a high-profile player without having to pay the luxury tax.
All in all, the move is positively a step in the right direction for the Halos, who have spent a good chunk of the last few seasons wallowing in mediocrity. The Angels have gained two young players and freed up enough space to make a season-changing move by the trade deadline. Most of all, the Angels have undone most of the damage left in Reagins’ wake. With the Reagins era well behind them, the Halos now have the chance to build a new culture and create something special.