Vernon Wells

Vernon Wells

43-Year-Old OutfielderOF
 Free Agent  
Free Agent
2022 Fantasy Outlook
There was no outlook written for Vernon Wells in 2022. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
$Released by the Yankees in January of 2014.
Vernon Wells: Phillies May Have Interest
OFFree Agent  
January 20, 2014
The Phillies have expressed some interest in Wells, the Boston Globe reports.
ANALYSIS
Wells, 35, was released by the Yankees last week. The Yankees and Angels are still paying Wells' salary in 2014, so he will be available for the MLB minimum by any team that signs him. He could be useful in a reserve role, making some starts against lefties.
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2003
Wells appeared rejuvenated in April, hitting .300 with six home runs, but it was all downhill from there, and he had just five more long balls in 334 at-bats from May 1 on. The 35-year-old Wells was barely passable against lefties, posting a .697 OPS in 192 at-bats, but he was terrible against right-handers, hitting just .207 with a .254 on-base percentage. Wells has one more season left on his albatross of a contract ($126 million), and if the Yankees can't dump him on someone else, he'll serve as a fourth or fifth outfielder for 2014.
The emergence of Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo resigned Wells to a platoon role last season and he did little to indicate that he's worthy of more than that. Before coming over to the Angels in a trade, he was a pretty good (albeit inconsistent) player with an awful contract. Now he looks like a scrub who is set to make $42 million over the next two seasons. Apparently the Angels want to move him, but they are unlikely to find a trade partner unless they are willing to part with top prospects or eat nearly all of Wells' salary. That means he'll probably be back in Los Angeles this year, serving as the team's fourth or fifth outfielder.
Wells hit 25 home runs in his first season in Anaheim, but he also had a career-worst .218 batting average and totaled just 66 RBI. Still, Wells may actually be somewhat of a bounce-back candidate in 2012. His average probably can't get any worse, so if he can maintain his power stroke, his counting numbers should increase with Albert Pujols in town. Wells is worth a late-round draft pick in most formats, and there are plenty of circles where he's undervalued because of his terrible contract.
Wells bounced back in a big way last season, hitting .273 with 31 homers and 88 RBI for Toronto. He's now entering the cringe-inducing portion of his contract as he's set to make $21-$23 million in each of the next four years. There's virtually no way he'll earn that, but the Jays would be thrilled with a repeat performance of his 2010 campaign. There wasn't a drastic change to his approach at the plate, so tread carefully if you're chasing his power spike as he hadn't topped 20 homers since 2006 prior to last year's outburst.
To borrow a phrase from Monty Python, "ALBATROSS!". That's exactly what Wells' contract has become to the Jays as he's owed over $100 million in a contract that runs until 2014. In all fairness, he may have failed to reach the lofty heights some were hoping for from a fantasy perspective, but he's far from a sinkhole. He did manage to swipe a career-high 17 bases to go along with 15 homers and 84 runs scored in 2009. He'll be back as the team's starting center fielder and those in AL-only formats can bid with confidence as his contract makes him virtually untradeable.
Wells battled hamstring and wrist injuries but still managed 20 homers and 78 RBI while playing in just 108 games. He had played in over 130 games in the previous six seasons, so hopefully this isn't an early sign of a player breaking down. Despite the likelihood of a reduced price on draft day, he just turned 30 in December and should have a few more productive seasons ahead of him.
Wells never got on track after signing a big contract the previous winter, and eventually went under the knife for a torn labrum that likely contributed to his season-long struggles. He had a solid April (.298/.368/.543, four homers, five steals) but it was downhill after that. If he's fully healthy for the start of the season, Wells is a solid bet to bounce back in some capacity in 2008.
Wells enjoyed his best season since 2003 last year, including a career-high 17 stolen bases. His home/road splits were massive -- 1.038 OPS and 24 homers at home vs. a .762 OPS and eight homers on the road -- so it's good he signed a five-year contract extension this offseason. His first half showed real growth, including a nice 35:46 K:BB in 325 at-bats, but he fell apart (19:44 in 286 at-bats) during the second half. He's shown wild fluctuations in the past, so be aware the possibility exists again. A pretty solid supporting cast should mask most of it, however.
Wells rebounded modestly after a subpar 2004, but it was mainly because he was healthy again. It still wasn't as good as his 2003, but at 27, anything's possible. It looks like he has a ceiling at 30 HR and a .270 average, but could produce more runs and RBI with a stronger supporting cast.
Wells' 2003 was such a jump over his 2002 numbers that it's wasn't entirely unexpected he came back down to earth last year. He's starting to get a grasp of the strike zone so there's some chance for a rebound, but he may never reach his 2003 level again. Bid expecting a healthier Wells as calf problems sidelined him nearly a full month.
Twenty four-year old centerfielders who pound out 87 extra base hits are a rare breed. He hit just 10 HRs and drove in 33 runs after the All-Star Break, but hit .344. Wells had three months (June, August and September) where he hit .343 or higher, which is tough to maintain given his somewhat low walk total. It's tough to maintain a 140-point spike in your OPS from the previous season, but he's at that age where it's reasonable to expect it and the jump came along with a decent spike in his walk rate. Expect his numbers month-to-month to be more consistent in 2004, but the overall totals should be similar to 2003 again.
We'd feel a lot better about his second half breakout (.286, 13 HRs, 58 RBI) if it was accompanied by a more patient approach at the plate, but it wasn't. He's at that age where you can expect a big jump in production, so we certainly won't dismiss the progress he made. He's due to hit in the middle of a good young lineup, which will help his overall numbers. Don't overpay based on his second half stats, but his end of the year numbers should be similar again and they aren't too shabby.
More Fantasy News
Vernon Wells: Released By Yankees
OFFree Agent  
January 16, 2014
Wells was released by the Yankees on Wednesday.
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Vernon Wells: Designated For Assignment
OFNew York Yankees  
January 10, 2014
Wells was designated for assignment by the Yankees on Friday, ESPN's Buster Olney reports.
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OFNew York Yankees  
September 19, 2013
Wells' single off righthander Steve Delabar gave the Yankees the lead in their victory over Toronto on Wednesday.
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OFNew York Yankees  
August 13, 2013
Wells went 2-for-2 with his 11th homer Tuesday against the Angels.
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OFNew York Yankees  
August 9, 2013
Wells is out of the Yankees lineup Friday against the Tigers, MLB.com reports.
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