What does the Vernon Wells trade mean for Jose Bautista?
That’s what many Blue Jays fans are wondering right now.
We’ve heard conflicting reports about whether the Blue Jays are picking up any of the $86 million remaining on Vernon Wells’ contract. Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com hears that they will, Shi Davidi of the Canadian Press hears that they won’t. Angels general manager Tony Reagins can’t possibly be that clueless, let’s just go with the assumption that they will.
As for the players the Blue Jays are getting in return, Juan Rivera is owed $5.25 million in 2011 and Mike Napoli just requested $6.1 million in arbitration from the Angels this week. That’s a total of $11.35 million. Neither player is cheap in the short-term, but dealing Wells should still give the Blue Jays quite a bit of payroll flexibility moving forward.
Anytime you can deal an albatross contract like the one Wells has, you have to do it, but one of the potential side benefits is that the Blue Jays will have some extra cash if they are interested in working out a multi-year contract with the arbitration-eligible Jose Bautista. The surprise home run king filed for $10.5 million and was offered $7.6 million from the Blue Jays when arbitration figures were exchanged on Tuesday.
As mentioned earlier this week, the Blue Jays have a policy under general manager Alex Anthopoulos that they do not negotiate one-year deals once the arbitration deadline has passed. Anthopoulos certainly deserves praise here, but we probably can’t judge this trade in full context until the Bautista situation is settled.