What they’re saying about the Vernon Wells trade

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If you woke up this morning confused and disoriented, you aren’t alone. Angels general manager Tony Reagins has felt that way all winter long.

The Angels and Blue Jays announced a blockbuster trade last night that sends Vernon Wells to Los Angeles for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera. It’s an absolutely stunning deal that frees the Blue Jays of one of the most obscene contracts in the game.

Let’s take a quick spin around the interwebs to assess the fallout of this mega-deal, starting with the two general managers:

* Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos (as quoted by MLB.com): “The biggest component, I think it goes without saying, was the financial implications. Beyond 2011, the financial flexibility it gives our organization in 2012 and beyond, with where we’re going and as we build this organization, made a lot of sense for us.”

*Angels general manager Tony Reagins (as quoted by MLB.com): “We look at Vernon’s commitment as a four-year commitment that was tolerable for us.”

* Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles: “The most stunning aspect of Friday’s trade was that the Angels got no cash back from Toronto to help pay for what was considered one of the worst contracts in the sport. In the Kazmir trade in August 2009, the Angels got nothing back from Tampa Bay. They’ll owe the left-hander $25.5 million over the next two seasons and he’s coming off a season in which he had a 5.94 ERA.”

* Dustin Parkes of Getting Blanked: “Alex Anthopoulos is probably very busy right now writing thank you cards to Carl Crawford for signing with the Boston Red Sox and Adrian Beltre for signing with the Texas Rangers and Angels fans for putting so much pressure on Tony Reagins to make a move this offseason.”

* David Golebiewski of FanGraphs: “Even if you think Wells will perform considerably better through his age 32-35 seasons that he did in his late twenties and early thirties, and that inflation will be more than five percent per year, it’s near impossible to envision a scenario in which he’s worth his contract. It’s like the Angels paid for a mansion on the beach and got a one-bedroom ranch house in the Rust Belt instead.”

* Lyle Spencer of MLB.com: “Here’s what I like about the Angels’ big deal with Toronto: everything.”

* Cliff Corcoran of SI.com: “If the Angels use Wells and Torii Hunter in the outfield corners with Bobby Abreu as their designated hitter and rookie Peter Bourjos in center, they’ll have an outstanding defensive outfield to play behind a solid starting rotation, but a problematic lineup that will depend heavily on Morales’ successful return and those three former All-Stars whose best days are behind them.”

* Mark Whicker of the Orange County Register:” It is a heavy price and a contract that the Angels won’t be able to move easily when Wells declines. But it makes them more legitimate contenders in the A.L. West than they were Thursday.”

* Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star: “The decision to dump Wells points towards a long-term deal for Bautista, now that Wells’ Delgado-like albatross of a deal is gone from the scene.”

* Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com: “Most teams try to get younger, cheaper and better. The Angels got older, more expensive and possibly worse.”

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

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There’s just something about playing in your home ballpark. The Astros decimated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Friday, riding seven scoreless innings from Justin Verlander and a pair of big runs from Jose Altuve to win 7-1 and force a Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

Through the first four innings, however, the teams looked equally matched. Luis Severino no-hit the Astros through 3 2/3 innings, losing his bid on Carlos Correa‘s line drive single in the fourth. The Astros returned in the fifth to do some real damage, drawing two walks and plating the first run of the night with Brian McCann‘s ground-rule double off of the right field wall. Things didn’t get any easier for Severino. Jose Altuve lined a two-RBI base hit into left field, upping Houston’s advantage to three runs.

Verlander, meanwhile, muted the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of five-hit, eight-strikeout ball. While he didn’t come close to matching his complete game effort in Game 2, he was still plenty dominant against a struggling New York lineup. No player reached past first base until the sixth inning, when a pair of base hits from Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees their first runner in scoring position. That didn’t last long, though, as Gary Sanchez grounded out on a 3-0 slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Houston’s ace got into another spot of trouble. He walked Greg Bird on six pitches to start the inning, then plunked Starlin Castro on the wrist. Aaron Hicks struck out, in part thanks to a questionable call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but it was Todd Frazier who presented the biggest threat after returning an 0-1 fastball for a 403-foot fly out to left field. Luckily for Verlander, George Springer was there to bail him out with a leaping catch at the wall.

The Yankees kept things exciting in the eighth, too. Aaron Judge ripped his third postseason home run off of Brad Peacock, taking a 425-footer out to the train in left field to spoil the Astros’ shutout. That was the only real break the Yankees got, however, as Altuve, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis returned in the bottom of the inning to tack on another four runs, including Altuve’s solo shot off of David Robertson:

Ken Giles handled the ninth, expending 23 pitches and giving up a base hit and a walk before retiring Frazier and Headley to end the game. Thanks to Houston’s winning efforts, the two teams will compete in their first seven-game Championship Series since 2004 — and this time, at least one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win.

Game 7 of the ALCS is set for Saturday at 8:00 PM ET. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA).