USATSI_7406372_154511044_lowresThe 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.

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9 Comments

  1. Dean says:

    Agreed.

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  2. Greg says:

    Wait a minute. Why do we need to put a deal together for Wells for 2014? If he's being paid by the Yanks and he's released, that means the team that picks him up pays the MLB minimum and the Yanks pay the $21M minus the minimum, right?

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  3. SB says:

    I wish he batted from the other side. That would be a nice fit.

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  4. Dave L says:

    I think we can find someone with more upside than Wells. His skills have diminished. At this stage in his career as a RHB he doesn't pass the Sean Rodriguez test.

    Someone will certainly throw more money at him than we will even if we did want him anyway.

    Our record on resurecting mid 30's batsmen in decline is pretty atrocious. He's exactly the type of veteran player we have been burned by picking up actually. I think we learned our lesson.

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    • Rob says:

      I would agree with you if we had to pay him $9m a la Pat Burrell. But if nobody else is interested, I think he would be worth the risk if he took the minimum and was satisfied with his Yankees salary.

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      • Dave L says:

        Yes but when you say league minimum that assumes no other team will have an interest, basically. I don't think that will be the case.

        Somebody is going to sign him for more than that. My point was that I would like a player with at least the skill set of SRod, who in my mind can be a excellent last man on the bench on a championship team, to offer the Rays in 2014 and I don't think Vernon brings that at age 35 with his numbers declining.

        So I was still hopeful we could sign a player to hit lefties to be ahead of him not behind him on the bench as Wells would be. He can still field and hits RHP better than Sean I guess. At least he's not a pure DH. So there are worse guys we could settle for.

        I'm still holding out for a player who could give us a plus WAR in 2014

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  5. mep645 says:

    Is the Sean Rodriguez test like the Mendoza line?

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