The Vernon Wells trade went down last Friday night, and already it seems like ages ago. But just Wednesday, Wells was introduced at an Angel Stadium press conference, and team owner Arte Moreno came right out to defend the acquisition that has drawn so much criticism:
"It's our money," owner Arte Moreno said.
"If you look at the deal as somewhere around $70 million, you're looking at a $17-plus million deal, on a four-year average," Moreno said, before referencing the [Carl] Crawford contract. "That's a lot more tolerable than $142 million."
Wells is due $86 million over the next four years of his contract. The Blue Jays, it turns out, are indeed sending $5 million to the Angels to cover some of the cost. Subtracting the salaries due to Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera gets you to the $70 million figure that Moreno mentions. It seems he was far more in favor of giving that money to Wells over four years than giving $142 million to Carl Crawford over seven. Despite the fact that Crawford is the far superior player to Wells, it appears Moreno is no fan of the contract commitment.
Which isn't to suggest that this is black and white - the Angels weren't in a position of having to either sign Crawford or trade for Wells - but when it comes to defending the latter, one has to be a little creative.
Beyond Moreno's words, Wells expressed his excitement about playing in southern California. He acknowledged that the Angels are taking a big gamble by bringing his contract on board, but added:
"This is paradise," he said. "This is one of the best places to play in baseball."
It remains unclear how the Angels' outfield will shake out. Wells and teammate Torii Hunter are willing to flank youngster Peter Bourjos in center field, and showered Bourjos with high praise, but the team is still considering further additions that could push Bourjos to the bench or the minors. Wells, certainly, will do whatever the team wants him to do.