Vernon Wells

Unbelievable: Angels take on Vernon Wells from Jays

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Such is the world of baseball news: spend a half hour typing up a blog and see it turned into garbage within 10 seconds of it being posted.

Because less than hour after reporting that Mike Napoli was being dealt to the Blue Jays, Ken Rosenthal decided to mention that, oh yeah, Vernon Wells just happens to be in the trade, too.

It’s not Rosenthal’s fault, but what a case of burying the lead.

Wells, long viewed as one of baseball’s most unmovable players, is owed a whopping $86 million over the next four years. Make him a free agent right now and he wouldn’t get half that.

Wells, 32, did have a bounce-back season in 2010, hitting .273/.331/.515 with 31 homers in his best campaign since 2006. He had gone three straight years without hitting more than 20 homers, driving in more than 80 runs or slugging .500.

But Wells needs to do more than hit 30 homers to be an All-Star caliber player. That’s because his defense in center field ranges somewhere from bad to worse these days. The Angels, having just moved Torii Hunter out of center for Peter Bourjos, twould certainly be crazy to put Wells there now.

So what do they do? Returning Hunter to center and putting Wells in left would probably make the most sense. Though if they wanted to stick with Bourjos’ terrific glove in center, they could just go ahead and make Bobby Abreu a full-time DH and trade Juan Rivera.

In the earlier blog, I wrote that the Angels were going backwards by trading Napoli. They might still be going that way here. I truly believe this is the wrong move for the team, as it would have been for practically any team. Wells isn’t a center fielder, and he doesn’t project as a stellar hitter going forward. The Blue Jays are surely picking up a portion of his outrageous contract, but even if they’re getting him for $10 million per year, I don’t think it’s worth it for the Angels.

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.