Matt Eddy of Baseball America reports that the Cubs have signed outfielder Casper Wells to a minor league contract. He’ll presumably receive an invite to spring training.
Wells made more news this year for bouncing around from team-to-team and making relief appearances in blowout games than anything else. The 29-year-old batted .155/.211/.169 with one double and one RBI over 76 plate appearances between the Athletics, White Sox, and Phillies. He didn’t play after August 25 due to vision issues and was removed from Philadelphia’s 40-man roster after the season.
Wells is a strong defender and owns a .778 OPS against left-handers during his career, so he could be a useful platoon player if utilized correctly. There should be opportunity in the Cubs’ outfield next year.
Casper Wells has played for approximately 100 teams this season, getting passed around on waivers like some sort of outfielder version of an all-time quarterback, and now that he finally had a chance to stick in one place for the Phillies he’s headed to the disabled list.
Wells, who went 0-for-7 with four strikeouts at the plate Saturday and also took the loss as a pitcher when he allowed five runs in an emergency situation, has been shut down with what the Phillies are calling “vision problems.”
Wells has shown the ability to be a solid part-time player in the past, but this season he’s hit .128 in 52 games while spending time in five different organizations, striking out in 31 of 101 plate appearances.
Roger Bernadina was very supportive of his pitching staff today, making a pair of impressive catches to help keep the Diamondback offense at bay. The athleticism is made all the more impressive considering that this afternoon’s game started just 11 hours after last night’s knock-down, drag-out, 18-inning affair ended.
The first great grab occurred In the third inning. The Phillies were leading 4-2, but the Diamondbacks were trying to mount a two-out rally with a runner on first base. Matt Davidson smoked a Roy Halladay fastball to straightaway center. Bernadina turned his back and tracked the ball just to the side of the 401 foot marker before leaping and snagging the ball before it could touch down beyond the fence.
The second grab came in the seventh. The Phillies had strengthened their lead to 9-2 and the Diamondbacks were running out of time. With the bases empty and one out, Tuffy Gosewich hit a Cesar Jimenez change-up to shallow left-center. Left fielder Darin Ruf, not exactly the most fleet of foot, had no shot at it and it looked as if it was going to be a lucky hit for the catcher. Bernadina laid out and snagged the ball inches above the grass, recording the second out.
On offense, Bernadina finished the day with a hit and two runs batted in.
Bernadina was released by the Nationals on August 19. On the 21st, the Phillies announced they had signed the outfielder to a Major League contract. Though he hasn’t hit much, he has filled the team’s pressing need for a capable center fielder. Since Ben Revere went on the disabled list with a broken ankle, the Phillies have mostly relied on John Mayberry in center, but have also tried Michael Martinez and Casper Wells without much success.
When the Dodgers entered Philadelphia to open up a three-game set against the Phillies, the two teams were on wildly divergent paths. The Phillies had lost 19 of 24 games since the All-Star break while the Dodgers had won 23 of 26. In the first two games of the Phillies, they did exactly as they should — they dominated the Phillies with two consecutive shut-outs, 4-0 behind Zack Greinke and 5-0 behind Clayton Kershaw.
The Dodgers staked starter Ricky Nolasco to an early 2-0 lead in the series finale this afternoon, but a solo home run by Darin Ruf and an RBI ground out by Cody Asche left the game tied going into the seventh. Both bullpens held serve going into the bottom of the ninth, when the Dodgers called on Brandon League to bring them to extra innings.
Paco Rodriguez struck out Asche to lead off the inning before giving way to Brandon League. Casper Wells hit what appeared to be a routine ground out to Ramirez at shortstop, but Ramirez’s throw was short and first baseman Jerry Hairston couldn’t corral it. Catcher Carlos Ruiz punched a single to right field to push Wells to third base. Controversially, manager Don Mattingly opted to intentionally walk Jimmy Rollins to load the bases. Rather than let Michael Martinez hit, new Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg pinch-hit with Michael Young, who did not start due to an aching Achilles. On the fifth pitch of the at-bat, Young hit what appeared to be a dead double play ball, but Ramirez bobbled it as he preemptively positioned himself to make the throw to second, allowing Wells to score the winning run. For those of you counting at home, that was ninth-inning error number two Ramirez.
It is certainly not the way the Dodgers wanted to be leaving Philadelphia, but the good news is that they will have a great opportunity to continue expanding their lead in the NL West as they open a four-game set against the Marlins in Miami.
Casper Wells gets around. This season alone he has been part of the Mariners, Blue Jays, A’s and White Sox organizations. Now he has been claimed by the Phillies.
He’s had 76 plate appearances in the bigs this season with a line of .155/.211/.169. His best performance of the year came as a pitcher, though. Maybe the Phillies are going to try him out in the pen.
Either way, it’d be nice to see him stick with a team for more than five minutes.