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Vernon Wells says he'd be happy in left field for Angels

January 21, 2011 |  8:21 pm

Vernon Wells, a three-time Gold Glove winner in center field, said he would be happy to play left field with the Angels so that 23-year-old Peter Bourjos can remain in center.

"He's one of those special kids that can make an impact with his glove," Wells said on a conference call Friday night. "I would love to play beside him."

The Angels acquired Wells from the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday for catcher Mike Napoli and outfielder Juan Rivera. The Angels assumed all of the four years and $86 million remaining on Wells' contract.

"We look at Vernon's commitment as a four-year commitment that was tolerable for us," Angels General Manager Tony Reagins said.

The Angels had shied away from longer and more expensive commitments to Carl Crawford and Adrian Beltre in free agency. Reagins noted that Wells' contract would expire at age 35.

"That's attractive to us," Reagins said.

The Blue Jays saved about $75 million with the trade, factoring in the salaries of Napoli and Rivera, neither of whom is signed beyond 2011.

"The biggest component, it goes without saying, is financial," Toronto General Manager Alex Anthopoulos said.

Anthopoulos said the Angels first asked about Wells at the general managers' meetings in November, with talks intenstifying over the past two weeks. Wells agreed to waive his no-trade clause, something he said he would have done for "probably two teams." He declined to identify the other team.

"It's an honor to be part of the Angels family and to know, going into the season, you expect to win," Wells said. "I haven't had that for a while."

Wells, 32, has played his entire career in Toronto. He has played 1,393 games  without a postseason appearance, a streak exceeded only by Adam Dunn among active players.

The Angels now have committed $53 million next season to three center fielders, with the possibility none of the three will play center field for them. The Angels will pay $23 million to Wells, $18 million to Torii Hunter, who figures to play right field, and $12 million to Gary Matthews Jr., whom they dumped last winter.

-- Bill Shaikin