Yankees close to acquiring Vernon Wells from Angels

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The Yankees’ front office sure is getting desperate.

According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, there are serious trade talks taking place between the Angels and Yankees concerning outfielder Vernon Wells. Passan says the deal could be completed by the end of the day Sunday if Wells signs off on it.

Wells has a full no-trade clause, but the Yankees can offer him much more playing time than he would get this year in Anaheim behind Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton and Peter Bourjos. Then again, Wells has stated that he plans to retire from baseball after the 2014 season so maybe he doesn’t care about reestablishing himself as a viable starting outfielder.

Wells batted just .230/.279/.403 with 11 homers and 29 RBI in 262 plate appearances last season for the Halos. The 34-year-old is owed a $21 million salary in 2013 and another $21 million in 2014.

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UPDATE, 3:54 PM ET: ESPN’s Buster Olney heard from a source that Wells is “excited about the possibility” of playing for the Yankees and that there’s a “strong chance” a swap gets done. The Angels will have to eat a large majority of the money still owed to Wells, so working everything out could take some time.

UPDATE, 4:12 PM ET: CBS Sports’ Scott Miller reports that the Yanks are looking over Wells’ medicals.

UPDATE, 4:30 PM ET:  According to Passan, Wells has informed the Angels that he will accept the deal. Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times adds that Wells’ things are being removed from the Angels’ spring training complex. It sounds like there are only a few more minor details to be worked out.

Yankees trade Sonny Gray to the Reds

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The deal was much talked about all weekend and now the deal is done: The Cincinnati Reds gave acquired starter Sonny Gray and lefty Reiver Sanmartin from the Yankees in exchange for second base prospect Shed Long and a 2019 competitive balance pick.

The key to making the deal happen: Gray agreeing to a a three-year, $30.5 million contract extension. The Reds will likewise hold a $12 million club option for 2023. The deal had been struck and a window granted through close of business today to get Gray to agree to the extension and, obviously, he has.

The Reds will get a pitcher coming off of a bad season in which he posted a disappointing 4.90 ERA in 23 starts and seven relief appearances. He was hammered particularly hard in Yankee Stadium but pitched better on the road. Great American Ballpark is not a great pitcher’s park itself but any change of scenery would be nice for Gray, who had become much unwanted and unloved in New York. In Cincinnati he has the assurance of a spot in the rotation and, even better for him, he will be reunited with his college pitching coach, Derek Johnson, who joined new manager David Bell’s Reds staff earlier this offseason. If he bounces back even a little bit, the Reds will have a useful starter at a below market price for four years. If he doesn’t, well, they haven’t exactly gone bankrupt taking the chance.

The Reds will also get Reiver Sanmartin, 22, who started in the Rangers system before being traded to the Yankees. He’s a soft-tosser who figures to be a reliever if he makes the big leagues. He played at four different levels last season, with one game at Double-A and the rest below that, posting a composite 2.80 ERA in 10 starts and 13 overall appearances while striking out 7.8 batters per nine.

The Yankees will get Shed Long, who is ranked as the Reds’ seventh best prospect. The 23-year old second baseman hit .261/.353/.412 at Double-A in 2018 and has hit very close to that overall line for his entire six-year minor league career. He strikes out a bit and may not stick at second base long term, shifting to a corner outfield slot perhaps, but he’s a legitimate prospect.

The Reds get another starter with some upside. The Yankees get rid of a problem and gain a prospect and a draft pick. Sonny Gray gets some job and financial security at a time when it is not at all clear what his future holds. Not a bad baseball trade.

UPDATE: Welp, the Yankees don’t have a prospect anymore. They just traded long to the Mariners for outfielder Josh Stowers. Stowers was a second-round pick in last year’s draft. He’s 21 and batted .260/.380/.410 with five homers and 20 steals over 58 games in Short-Season ball in 2018. He’s ranked by MLB.com as the Mariners’ No. 10 prospect, but now he’s New York bound.