Mike Napoli

UPDATE: Angels acquire Vernon Wells from Jays for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera

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UPDATE: Jon Heyman of SI.com confirms it. The Angels are picking up the entire $86 million tab left on Vernon Wells’ contract. Mind sufficiently blown.

9:08 PM: The deal is done. The Angels have acquired Vernon Wells from the Blue Jays for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera. According to Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com, cash is not mentioned in the release from either club. If the Jays aren’t paying some of Wells’ salary, this is a heist of the highest measure.

7:14 PM: Rosenthal’s latest update has the Blue Jays sending Vernon Wells and cash considerations to the Angels for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera. No word yet on the exact amount of salary the Blue Jays will absorb.

6:42 PM: Juan Rivera might also be in the deal, according to Rosenthal.

Vernon Wells was in Anaheim for a physical today and is waiving his no-trade clause. Of course, he is owed the ridiculous sum of $86 million over the next four seasons. We haven’t heard anything about the Blue Jays picking up any salary here, which if true, would officially make Alex Anthopoulos a miracle worker. Still waiting for the final details, of course.

6:26 PM: If this trade didn’t surprise you already, this certainly will. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, Vernon Wells is headed to the Blue Jays in the Mike Napoli trade. In a word, woah. More when we get it.

5:38 PM: We weren’t expecting that! Rosenthal reports that the Angels have traded Mike Napoli to the Blue Jays. No word on the return.  Giving up one of the team’s better bats makes some sense if you can get some good young Rays talent. The Jays system isn’t quite as stocked.  Here’s hoping for Angels fans that they’re getting some value back.

Man. You just never know.

4:18 PMStan McNeal of the Sporting News reports that the Rays have expressed interest in Angels catcher Mike Napoli.

Interesting. Napoli is a good hitter who, while his OBP dropped precipitously last year in a career-high 140 games, still popped a lot of dingers.  McNeal says that the Rays would use him as a DH.  If so, those Manny Ramirez talks would probably end. As it is, Napoli made $3.6 million and is due a raise via arbitration, so he would probably end up costing around the same — or maybe a bit more — than Manny.  Except he’s not a head case and can play catcher.

As for the Angels, they have Jeff Mathis, Bobby Wilson and Hank Conger to prevent passed balls.  The Rays have a prospect-rich system, so if there’s a team to whom you’d want to trade a valuable player like Napoli, it’s Tampa Bay.

Shapiro, Murray defend Dellin Betances after arbitration feud

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Dellin Betances #68 of the New York Yankees and the American League pitches against the National League during the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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The dust hasn’t quite settled after right-hander Dellin Betances‘ arbitration hearing with the Yankees on Saturday. The case was decided in the team’s favor, awarding Betances with a $3 million salary for the 2017 season instead of the $5 million he initially requested. Yankees’ president Randy Levine held a press conference to voice his outrage over the figure presented by Betances and his agency, saying it had “no bearings in reality” since Betances does not have the elite closer status required for a salary bump of that magnitude.

Needless to say, the comments caused some consternation within Betances’ camp. The reliever publicly addressed the outburst, telling the press that he was prepared to put his differences with the team aside until he heard what Levine had to say. Via MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:

Players union executive Rick Shapiro and Betances’ agent, Jim Murray, also spoke out in the right-hander’s favor. Shapiro presented Betances’ case during the hearing on Saturday and called Levine’s comments “an absolute disgrace to the arbitration process and to all of Major League Baseball.” In a report from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Shapiro added: “The only thing that has been unprecedented in the last 36 hours is that a club official, after winning a case, called a news conference to effectively gloat about his victory – that’s unprecedented.”

Murray spoke exclusively to Rosenthal, accusing the president of effectively bullying the 28-year-old during the arbitration process and claiming that Levine had both mispronounced Betances’ name throughout the hearing and blamed the reliever for “declining ticket sales and their lack of playoff history.” Like Betances, Murray said that the agency was ready to accept the arbiter’s decision and move on before Levine’s decision to air his grievances to the media. “The only person overreaching in this entire situation is Randy,” Murray told Rosenthal. “He might as well be an astronaut because nobody on earth would agree with what he is saying. Even the others in the room would disagree with him.”

Royals will experiment with Alex Gordon in all three outfield spots this year

CLEVELAND, OH -  MAY 7: Alex Gordon #4 of the Kansas City Royals reacts to a fan while on first base during the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on May 7, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Royals’ manager Ned Yost is shaking things up in 2017, starting with left fielder Alex Gordon. Yost told MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan that “every scenario is open,” and expects to utilize Gordon in right and center field this spring while he figures out where to position Jorge Soler and Brandon Moss.

Gordon, 33, hasn’t manned right field since a three-game experiment with the Royals back in 2010 and has yet to play center field during any regular season to date. The focus, however, isn’t on Gordon’s capabilities. Among the three outfielders, he carries the best defensive profile and appears to be the most versatile of the bunch.

According to Flanagan, Soler and Moss are average on defense and will continue working closely with Royals’ coach Rusty Kuntz as the season approaches. One arrangement could see Gordon in center field, flanked by Soler in right field and Moss in left, though Yost foresees Soler taking some reps at DH if his defensive chops aren’t up to snuff.

While Moss is prepared to see starts at either outfield corner, Yost appears to be set on keeping Soler in right field, at least for the time being. The club is hoping for a bounce-back season from the 24-year-old outfielder, who was acquired from the Cubs in December after batting a lackluster .238/.333/.436 and sustaining a slew of minor injuries throughout the 2016 season.