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.

Astros sign Carlos Beltran to one-year, $16 million deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 9: Carlos Beltran #36 of the Texas Rangers hits an RBI against the Toronto Blue Jays in the first inning during game three of the American League Division Series at Rogers Centre on October 9, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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The Astros have reportedly agreed to terms with free agent DH/outfielder Carlos Beltran for a one-year, $16 million contract, per ESPN’s Buster Olney. The deal includes a complete no-trade clause, according to a report from Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Beltran elected to return to the Astros after fielding offers from the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Red Sox. He appeared in Houston during the second half of 2004, batting .258/.368/.559 with 23 home runs in 399 PA and making his first postseason run to the tune of a .435 average and eight homers as the Astros battled their way through to a seven-game loss in the Championship Series. Beltran also played with Houston manager A.J. Hinch and bench coach Alex Cora in separate stints with the Royals and Mets, which the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan cited as possible influences in the Astros’ decision to pursue the free agent.

In 2016, Beltran split the season between the Yankees and Rangers after getting dealt at the deadline for a package of right-handed pitching prospects. He was stationed in right field for the majority of his time in New York, but was almost exclusively utilized as a designated hitter over 52 games in Texas. Between the two clubs, he batted an impressive .295/.337/.513 with 29 homers and earned his ninth career All-Star designation to boot.

The veteran slugger is expected to fill a similar role on the Astros, who need a full-time DH but could use some additional support in the outfield corner. Olney envisions a lineup with Beltran in the five-spot, per an earlier report:

Rays and Braves reportedly interested in Welington Castillo

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 27: Welington Castillo #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks hits an RBI double in the third inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on September 27, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
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Catcher Welington Castillo was non-tendered by the Diamondbacks on Friday, making him one of 35 additional players to enter the free agent pool. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported that Castillo was drawing interest from the Rays, among a bevy of major league clubs, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s David O’Brien added that the Braves have “some interest” as well.

The Rays’ trifecta of catchers — Curt Casali, Luke Maile, and Bobby Wilson — did little to inspire confidence behind the plate in 2016, and with top free agent Wilson Ramos sidelined after suffering a torn ACL in September, it makes sense that they’d explore more affordable options. Castillo profiled well at the plate during his first full season with the Diamondbacks, slashing .264/.322/.423 with 14 home runs in 457 PA. Behind the dish, he placed third among all qualified major league catchers with seven DRS (Defensive Runs Saved), though his league-leading 10 passed balls weren’t anything to write home about.

Unlike the Rays, the Braves have a serviceable catching platoon in Tyler Flowers and Anthony Recker. Beyond that, their catching depth is fairly shallow despite the recent addition of former Mariners’ outfield prospect Alex Jackson. Jackson, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Mark Bradley, has not played behind the plate since high school, though GM John Coppolella is reportedly interested in trying him there again. A.J. Pierzynski is also rumored to be seeking a deal elsewhere in free agency, which could open the door for a multi-year deal with Castillo.