The New York Yankees have released Vernon Wells with one year remaining on his $126 million contract and his next stop could be with the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Rays still need a right-handed designated hitter and while Wells is no longer an All-Star caliber player, he is exactly the type of veteran player the Rays covet.
One thing that makes Wells especially attractive for the Rays is that he will still be paid $21 million in 2014 and is just 35 years old. Wells won’t be looking for a large, multi-year deal right now, but he could sign a cheap one-year deal hoping to put together a strong performance and re-enter the free agent market next winter for one final payday.
Wells hit just .233 with a .282 OBP (.279 wOBA) and 11 home runs in 130 games for the Yankees, but he did have some hot streaks early in the season. In addition, while he is no longer a plus-defender in the outfield, he is still good enough with the glove that he can fit in occasionally adding flexibility to Joe Maddon’s bench.
Certainly other teams will be interested in Wells if the price is cheap. But other teams may not be able to guarantee at bats on a regular basis and the Rays may have finally found the DH they’ve been waiting for.