An Angels club that has been criticized all winter for its inactivity got busy in a big way Friday, acquiring All-Star outfielder Vernon Wells from the Toronto Blue Jays for catcher Mike Napoli and outfielder Juan Rivera.
The trade was officially announced by the Angels early Friday evening, and Wells, who waived his no-trade clause so the deal could be consummated, General Manager Tony Reagins and Manager Mike Scioscia will adress the media in a conference call at 7:30 p.m.
Wells, 32, had a bounce-back 2010 for Toronto, hitting .273 with 31 home runs, 44 doubles and 88 runs batted in after averaging 17 homers and 74 RBIs for three subpar and injury-marred seasons from 2007-2009.
But he comes at a steep price; Wells is entering the fourth year of a heavily back-loaded, seven-year, $126-million contract that paid him $40 million for the first three years and pays him $86 million over the next four seasons, $23 million in 2011 and $21 million in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
A hefty chunk of Wells’ 2011 salary will be offset by the salaries heading to Toronto; Rivera will make $5.25 million next season and Napoli, who exchanged arbitration figures with the Angels on Tuesday, will make at least $5.3 million.
There was an Internet report Friday afternoon that the Angels would receive cash from the Blue Jays in the deal, but there is no mention of cash being exchanged in the releases issued by both teams on the trade.
The Blue Jays made the deal in an effort to dump Wells’ contract in order to free up money to sign slugger Jose Bautista to a multi-year deal.
But the addition of Wells, a three-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove Award winner, will likely push the Angels’ payroll next season to the $145-million range.
Wells, who will be the highest-paid player in Angels history, is primarily a center fielder who can also play right, a skill set that matches that of Torii Hunter, who moved from center field to right last August to accommodate the promotion of rookie Peter Bourjos.