Mike Scioscia benches slumping Vernon Wells

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Angels manager Mike Scioscia has benched the struggling Vernon Wells for tonight’s game against the Indians, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.

Wells, who was acquired from the Blue Jays for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera in January, is batting just .091 (4-for-44) over his first 10 games this season and currently is mired in a 1-for-26 slump.

“It’s a mental day off,” Scioscia said of Wells. “Every hitter has rough spots. A lot of guys have some four-for-40s in their history, but when you’re with a new team, there’s a lot of attention on it. The reality is he’s trying to find his timing, and it’s creating some mis-hits. But he’ll find it. I have no doubt about it.”

Sure, Wells isn’t going to hit .091 forever, but that’s not really the point here. The 32-year-old outfielder has been wildly inconsistent for a few years now and has little chance of being worth the $81 million that the Angels will shell out over the next four seasons. A hot start could have helped his cause, but much like in Toronto, Wells is going to be a constant target of fan scrutiny.

Report: Phillies moving in on a deal with Tommy Hunter

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Update (8:40 PM ET): Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Hunter’s contract with the Phillies is for two years.

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There’s been a bit of confusion at the Winter Meetings. First, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that the Phillies were close to signing free agent reliever Addison Reed. That report was then disputed by Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer then reported that not only do the Phillies not have a deal with Reed, they’re actually moving in on a deal with free agent pitcher Tommy Hunter. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic backed up Gelb’s report, as did Todd Zolecki of MLB.com.

Hunter, 31, spent the past season with the Rays, posting a 2.61 ERA with a 64/14 K/BB ratio across 58 2/3 innings. The right-hander, a veteran of 10 seasons in the majors, should be a good addition to the Phillies’ bullpen, which also recently added Pat Neshek. Neshek and Hunter will likely work the innings just ahead of closer Hector Neris.

As for Reed, well, who knows.