Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Silent Assassin Strikes As Vernon Wells Gets Traded


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Image courtesy of Daylife via Getty Images
Ladies and gentlemen, the Silent Assassin has struck.

Honestly, I was (and still am) completely and utterly shocked that the Blue Jays traded Vernon Wells. It still hasn't sunk in, and the aftermath of this trade probably won't settle for a few days ... and it might even take a few weeks.

This just proves that Alex Anthopoulos is truly the quintessential Silent Assassin of General Managers. As a side note, he's also been deemed Double A 7 or "AA7" for short, in honour of one of her majesty's finest secret service agents.

After this trade, I've also learned that if things are strangely quiet in Blue Jays Land, then AA is probably working on a massive deal. That and absolutely nobody on the roster is untradeable ... even players with $86 million dollars left on their contract.

Right off the bat, you have to think the Blue Jays are much better long term for wiping this contract off the books. They do have to absorb the new contracts of Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera, but escaping the Vernon Wells contract was nothing short of a Houdini act.

Alex Anthopoulos somehow orchestrated an escape from one of the worst contracts in baseball ... and all of it without a peep of it being leaked to the media beforehand. And now for the next four years, the Blue Jays have an extra $20 million or so per year to play with.

There are other working parts to this deal such as Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera, but surprisingly those details are secondary compared to the $86 million dollars of Vernon's salary the Jays just took off the books.

Regardless of how well Vernon Wells performs with the Angels, this is an automatic win for the Blue Jays. Vernon could put up four straight 30 home run/100 RBI plus seasons in Los Angeles, but having alleviated $86 million dollars from the payroll is so much more valuable.

Even if the Blue Jays received nothing in return like they did when they traded Alex Rios, there would still be a tremendous amount of upside because now the Jays have the financial flexibility to sign other players who can do the very same job for far less money.

I'm very curious as to why Vernon agreed to waive his no-trade clause in the first place, because it's not like Anaheim California is much closer to his home of Arlington Texas than Toronto is.

Some are speculating he waived his no-trade clause to get the opportunity to play with his buddy Torii Hunter. Maybe it's because Vernon thinks he has a better chance to win in Anaheim ... even though the Angels finished 10 games out of a playoff spit this year.

Vernon Wells took a lot of ribbing across the Blue Jays blogosphere (from myself included), and I can't speak for everyone else, but I can truly say it didn't stem from a hatred or disdain for him. It was simply because we expected a lot from Vernon and we knew he was a great player.

He was a class act with his charity and was very visible in the community, and even tagged along for the Blue Jays Winter Tour when he didn't have to. Vernon Wells was a great ambassador for the  organization and all things considered, I will miss Vernon and wish him nothing but the best with the Los Angeles Angels.

This trade just reiterates Alex Anthopoulos is so tight-lipped on transactions, that by the time you hear a whisper ... it's already too late.

11 comments:

  1. AA7 - Seconded. All in favour? Oh yeah...holy shit.

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  2. Anon, I'm still having trouble convincing myself this wasn't a dream. Maybe the Silent Assassin planted the idea inside our brains Inception-style.

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  3. Or maybe he planted it inside Moreno and Reagins' brains Inception style. After all, they came to him with it at the winter meetings.

    I woke up and I was really confused. I will miss Vernon. He was a great dude and a true ambassador to the team. He always gave everything he had, even when he had nothing substantial to give (2007-2009).

    Needless to say, this move is incredible. I love AA7, the Silent Assassin.

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  4. Rob, that sounds like the more likely scenario. He planted the seed at the Winter Meetings and it festered through the past few weeks until it finally came to a head yesterday.

    I'll always admire Vernon's commitment to the team. Last year's leaping catch to preserve Morrow's no hitter, and even that catch he make a few years back when he broke his wrist. He was a consummate professional and will be missed not just on the field, but off the field as well.

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  5. I don't think it'll sink in until the season starts. Until we finally see that Vernon Wells isn't the starting CF for the Toronto Blue Jays, something he's always been.

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  6. Nav, not until they call the starting roster on Opening Night and Vernon's name will be all but absent. Crazy man ... absolutely crazy.

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  7. Nothing against VW but I think this move makes the team better instantly. Wells' laid back attitude does not at all mesh with the likes of Ricky Romero 'fight until we win' mental approach that I think is becoming the 'new' Jays mantra. I think that's the attitude a winning team has to have and I'm not at all going to be surprised if RickRo becomes the leader of this team.

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  8. Mattt, I just don't think Vernon was that kind of player. I don't think that inhibited his game any way whatsoever, it's just not his kind of personality. He seems very laid back, but can turn on the intensity when he needs to.

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  9. I'm not so sure he's done! I have this feeling that Napoli won't play a game for us! Assume he doesn't, and he's used with some other players in a trade.. who out there could we trade for to play third?

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  10. I didn't intend that comment to frame VW's personal game contribution. I meant his leaving will have a positive effect on team chemistry just like when Halladay left the pitching improved. Having your team leader 'whatever' his way through a season I think negatively effects the young guys who badly want to win. I just wanted to better explain where I was coming from whether we agree or not...

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  11. Anon, a Mike Napoli trade is always a possibility, but I don't think the Blue Jays will trade him. In my opinion, he's far more valuable on the roster than he his in a trade right now.

    Mattt, apologies if I misconstrued your comment. What will be interesting to see is who will step in and take that leadership role. As you indicated earlier, it looks like Romero is the man to do it.

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