Should the Jays Attempt to Trade Wells for Matthews?

I was recently asked by a friend whether it would make sense for the Jays to try trading Vernon Wells and 86.5 million that is owed to him over the next 5 years to the Angels in return for CF Gary Matthews, who is owed just 23 million over the next 2 years.

Before I get into it, I want to add that VW has a full no-trade clause, which means he'd have to accept the trade. In this case, I would say that Vernon may not be opposed to moving his family out of the cold and into the sun, and that he'd be more than happy to leave the AL East for the AL West. So, let's say he says yes.

Vernon Wells output in 2009: 630 AB, 164 hits, 37 doubles, 15 HRs, 17 SBs, .260 average, .311 OBP
Gary Matthews output  in 2009: 360 AB, 79 hits, 19 doubles, 4 HRs, 4 SBs, .250 average, .336 OBP
Gary Matthews output pro rated: 630 AB, 139 hits, 34 doubles, 7 HR, 7 SB, .250 average, .336 OBP

In order to compare apples to apples, I pro rated Gary's performance to match VW's ABs. This resulted in my opinion on the trade doing a 180. If I can save my team 63.5 million in obligations and wind up with very similar output.....why wouldn't I do it? With Gary's OBP beating VW's most years, he fits a lot more nicely as a 2-hole hitter, and Hill can slide into the 3-hole, Lind in the cleanup role. Add to that the fact that Gary's perfromance was much better when he played full time, and I start to wonder why the Jays are not pushing the Angels to complete this deal (who knows, maybe they are). Matthews can't be worse defensively than Wells was last year, and we get a ton more money to play with in 2012 and beyond.

Maybe the Angels would balk at taking the Wells contract on....ok, there's no doubt in my mind they'll balk. But if they lose out on retaining John Lackey and the Jays can make this the sidebar to a Doc trade, it is possible the Angels would agree to it. For the Angels, Wells would fit in nicely in RF and provide them with a very decent OF of Wells, Hunter, Rivera which would relieve some of the pain felt by the impending loss of Guerrero. The money saved from not resigning Guerrero could be used to pay Wells.

Sure, Wells is the better player, and his surgery could put him back in form for 2010 and beyond, but there's no doubt in anyone's mind that the Jays can't afford him EVEN if he does perform as was expected when he signed his contract. After evaluating my friend's question, I must say, call Mr.Moreno's team Alex, and see what you can cook up!


  1. Vote for Tom Cheek!


  2. I agree with the exception of the Angels already have a RF named Bobby Abreu.

  3. I figured Abreu would be a lesser player defensively, and would be a better fit as splitting time with Rivera at DH. He can take LF over Rivera I imagine, my point was mostly that Wells would slot in where Guerrero left off. (not in the lineup)

  4. In my mind, one bad contract does not erase another.

    That's why I can't get behind talk of the Jays & Cubs swapping Wells for Soriano, or even the Rays & Cubs wanting to swap Burrell and Bradley.

  5. Correct. But I believe that a change in scenery can help both the club and the player, in some cases. Bradley's a lost cause wherever he goes and I really don't see why TB would want him in their clubhouse with what they already have.

    Not sure how often bad contract swaps work out, but one "revival" example is Andrew Jones. Who would of thought he's be semi-productive in Texas?