Vernon Wells designated for assignment, owed $21 million

Al Messerschmidt

If an effort to pare down their 40-man roster, New York will likely part ways with Wells.

The Yankees have designated Vernon Wells for assignment, as EPSN's Buster Olney reports.

Wells, 35, hit .233/.282/.349 in 458 plate appearances for the Yankees last year. The Angels traded Wells to New York last March after a rash of injuries thinned New York's outfield. To ease the pain of his $21 million salary, the Angels sent $9.5 million along with Wells for the 2013 season. For 2014, the Angels will pay $18.6 million of Wells salary -- this was originally done in order to help with New York's plan to stay under the $189 million luxury tax -- but now that the Yankees have designated him for assignment, it's unclear if anyone else would be willing to pay the rest: the Yankees might be on the hook for $2.4 million if for no other reason than to open up a roster spot. With Plan $189 million behind them, though, that's pocket change for the Steinbrenners.

The team's 40-man roster is now down to 39, but they have yet to officially add free agent signings Matt Thornton and Brian Roberts. New York remains focused on making a serious push for Masahiro Tanaka, who would command another spot on the roster -- this won't be the last move they make to clear space.

An upheld A-Rod suspension could aid the Yankees in their efforts to whittle down, but if he files for another appeal, he could end up in the team's Opening Day lineup, so Wells might soon be joined by other secondary players in the unemployment line soon.

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