Vernon Wells is close to returning from a torn thumb ligament that has sidelined him since mid-May, but with Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo, and Torii Hunter entrenched as the Angels’ starting outfield and Kendry Morales playing every day at designated hitter … well, do they even want him back?
Wells had a miserable 2011 and was only slightly better this season before the injury, hitting .244 with a .282 on-base percentage and .422 slugging percentage in 38 games. He still has 20-homer, but the combination of a low batting average and terrible plate discipline makes Wells an out-machine.
He might fit decently in a platoon role spotted mostly versus left-handed pitching, but Trout, Trumbo, and Hunter are all right-handed hitters. Morales is a switch-hitter who’s struggled against lefties, so a Morales-Wells platoon at DH could work.
Wells needs to go on a minor-league rehab assignment before coming off the disabled list, so the Angels likely have a week or so to figure out a plan for their unwanted outfielder with about $50 million remaining on his contract.
The White Sox have reportedly picked up first baseman Yonder Alonso from the Indians, according to Stadium. The return for Alonso is expected to be nothing more flashy than a “fringe prospect,” though the minutiae of the deal is still pending a formal announcement from both teams.
Alonso, 31, inked a two-year deal with the Indians during the 2017 offseason. His first campaign with the club yielded a modest .250/.317/.421 batting line, 23 home runs, .738 OPS and 0.7 fWAR in 574 PA. The real boon for the White Sox may not be a passable veteran bat, however, but something more intangible — like Alonso’s clout with his brother-in-law and highly-coveted free agent slugger, Manny Machado.
While Alonso’s 2018 output represented a significant decline from the career-best numbers he posted in 2017, he’s still a solid contributor at the plate and, more importantly, slated to remain under team control for the next two years with just $8 million owed in 2019 and a $9 million option in 2020. As MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince notes, the $17 million the Indians just erased from their payroll should give them enough room to accommodate the contracts for right-handers Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber — a bonus regardless of what they happen to get in the trade.