The Mockingbird

Ambivalent News

with 14 comments

The Good News: Recently injury-plagued (don’t say prone) franchise player Vernon Wells will not be rushing back into this season, due to insurance issues from all the time he spent on the DL last year.

The Bad News: The last time he played in the WBC, he shrugged off his reputation as a slow starter and hit .396 with 9 home runs in April (along with the rest of the Jays offense, pretty much the last time any Jay has hit above their career norms for an extended period of time).

The Maybe it’s a Wash Anyway News: Maybe Vernon wasn’t made for fast starts, because after putting up monster numbers through July in 2006, he hit a wall in August (the figurative kind: the literal, 2007-destroying one was back on May 31st) with no power, followed by an atrocious .217 BAVG and .633 OPS in September.

The I’m Getting Dizzy and Need to Fall Down News: On the other hand, it’s possible Wells’ weak finish in 2006 wasn’t related to his WBC boost because he always sputters the last two months, even worse than his “slow starts” (career OPS in April: 90, September: 87, October 90). But of course that doesn’t make the headlines because having a batting average of .200 in May is a full-out career crisis, but if your batting average falls from .310 to .275 at the end of the year, at least it’s “still respectable”…


Written by halejon

February 20, 2009 at 5:31 pm

Posted in Seriousness

14 Responses

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  1. Just wanted to say your work is always enjoyed, hope you write a lot this season.

    wendel alomar jr.

    February 20, 2009 at 7:26 pm

  2. Vernon “The $126 Million Dollar Man” Wells should actually start OK this year. Apparently, for the FIRST time – the moron – has worked all off-season with a “personal trainer.” How can a guy sign a $126 million dollar contract and two years into admit that he really hasn’t paid much attention to getting in shape! IT BOGGLES the freakin’ mind!

    At least – finally – belatedly he starting to take care of himself…the moron!


    February 21, 2009 at 12:00 am

  3. Alomar: that seemingly innocent comment may just have tipped me in favour of bothering to go all out for another season. Who knew?

    Mylegacy: I hear yah, but there’s so much we don’t know about how these elite athletes prepare – hiring a new personal trainer can’t be a bad sign, but I highly doubt that the main reason Wells’ career path has been underwhelming is that he has been laying around and eating Cheetos over the offseason…


    February 21, 2009 at 5:07 am

  4. I dunno,

    Not sure how V-dub trying to earn his money, which someone else gave him, by paying a trainer amounts to this much bluster. Who’s actually worth 126 million dollars? The blue-collar outrage about this stuff is more annoying than the fact Vernon can’t seem to lay off the high fastball. Get him a little protection in the lineup and he’ll be an effective player.

    He’s the least of our problems.

    K Connolly

    February 21, 2009 at 5:15 am

  5. I’m not sure about that blue collar comment – I think the issue is more that Wells is paid like a superstar despite serious questions about his ability to put up typical superstar numbers. It’s more a question of comparative value to the rest of the league, regardless of who gave him the money, or whether elite members of society should make elite salaries. But I can (and have) rather seriously argue that the high fastball and protection are the least of Vernon’s problems…


    February 21, 2009 at 7:18 am

  6. I hate that contract to Wells. Did from day one (like so many of us).

    My big beef, in addition to the fact that he’s being paid to put up superstar numbers offensively, which is a questionable proposition on its own, he’s also being paid to put up these superstar numbers as a centerfielder. Which he shouldn’t be anymore, at least not with Rios inhouse.

    Would you rather have a Lind – Rios – Snider OF, with one of Manny/Abreu/Dunn/Burrell at DH and some money left over (unless you got Manny), or an OF of Snider-Wells-Rios with Lind at DH, and no money to spare?

    And this is for like the next 5 years… *sigh*


    February 22, 2009 at 9:17 am

  7. Well all of his good years came with Delgado hitting behind him in the lineup. Overbay or Rolen (at least at this stage of their careers) will never be mistaken for Willie McCovey, which is pretty much what we had in Delgado.

    I don’t like the contract either, mostly because our payroll isn’t where it needs to be anymore, but people are reacting as if Wells is already making 22 million. His salary last year was about 9 million if you include the signing bonus, (8+ million the year before) and he isn’t scheduled to make the huge money until 2011. ($10 million this year, 12.5 million next, as near as I can find the information). So even though he hasn’t played like a superstar (I’d argue injuries have had at least something to do with that) he hasn’t been paid like one either.

    So let’s bitch about it then.

    K Connolly

    February 23, 2009 at 2:15 am

  8. […] bad news: VW is a notoriously slow starter and this injury means he’ll probably get off to an even slower start whenever he comes […]

  9. # $25.5M signing bonus (paid in 3 $8.5M installments, March 1 2008-10)
    # 08:$0.5M, 09:$1.5M, 10:$12.5M, 11:$23M, 12:$21M, 13:$21M, 14:$21M

    So more like 10 mil last year and up to 21 this year. I kinda prefer to look at the average over the contract instead of the steal it looks like early balanced by the of course he’s not going to be worth 21 mil in 2014, though.


    February 23, 2009 at 5:25 pm

  10. Depending on how quickly the recovery from the recession goes (and now the uncertainty with the injury), I bet he could easily be worth 21M in 2014, inflation of salaries and all that.


    February 25, 2009 at 9:57 am

  11. 21 mil for a 35-year old CF with a career OPS of .812? Really? Can you think of another one? Unless his D comes back and he really was a late bloomer hidden by injuries, I don’t see it, and I’d bet the farm on being able to find a replacement or two for 21 million even if the economy goes through the roof.


    February 25, 2009 at 6:21 pm

  12. I like Wells (obviously), when healthy, but that last point is on the money (so to speak). Even if he does have some good years ahead of him (and I hope he does) by 2014 he won’t be worth that to us, because he’ll take up too much of the payroll, whether or not 21 million is the going rate for such players at that time. Maybe the plan all along was to ship him to the Yankees or someone other big market before you had to pay the full contract.

    Like a lot of plans, it might not work out. I still like it better than the Carl Pavano plan, or the Barry Zito plan, or the Mike Hampton plan when those contracts were signed. You can get burned on a position player’s contract like anything else (see Andruw Jones), but it usually doesn’t hurt as much, because you always get a percentage back from your investment. You’re not losing the full 21 million, you’re getting some value back as long as they’re an everyday player.

    Those massive multi-year deals may now be over and good riddance. How many of them have really worked out for the club? And do we even know yet. I’d be surprised if it was one in five in the long run. What will A-rod be worth in 2018? What’s Jeter really worth, now? Even $10 million?

    K Connolly

    February 25, 2009 at 10:20 pm

  13. Fangraphs had Jeter as worth $16.6M in 2008, against a salary of $21.6M.


    February 26, 2009 at 8:50 pm

  14. I just don’t get that…if he was worth 16.6 last year, what the heck was he worth 2 years ago?!


    February 27, 2009 at 4:49 am

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