The Angels ignored the huge red flag in Vernon Wells’ home-road splits when they took on $81 million of $86 million he was still owed by the Blue Jays in a January trade. It seems pretty safe to say they regret it now.
Still, without additional information, writing off Wells’ 2010 splits as a fluke probably was the right call. Wells hit .321/.363/.628 at Rogers Centre last year, compared to .227/.301/.407 on the road. It was just a one-year thing for him, though.
Wells’ home/road splits by OPS:
2006: 1.038 home, .762 road
2007: .700 home, .712 road
2008: .849 home, .830 road
2009: .633 home, .779 road
2010: .991 home, .708 road
Wells also had the huge home/road split in 2006, but from 2007-09, he was actually better on the road than he was at Rogers Centre. While Wells was grossly overpaid regardless, one year of bad splits wasn’t enough to signal that a collapse was imminent.
So, presented on it’s own, 2010 looks like just another fluke. But what if Wells’ strong season was almost entirely the result of him often knowing what pitches were coming in his home games? His 2011 performance suggests it may have been the case. Wells has hit just .210/.243/.379 this season, making him a big liability even before his huge $23 million salary gets taken into account.
And the Angels are on the hook another $63 million through 2014. If this is the real Wells and if he can’t bounce back at age 33 next year, then that’s a ton of money the Angels have simply flushed down the drain.