Vernon: ‘I want to play for the Angels’

Vernon WellsIf it wasn’t already obvious (it should’ve been), then the Phillies’ recent signing of Delmon Young seemingly sealed it: Vernon Wells and his bloated contract will be with the Angels in 2013. At least the early part of it.

The Phillies were one of few teams linked to Wells this offseason, and the fact they were only willing to guarantee Young $750,000 (with bonuses that can ramp it up to $3.5 million) is perhaps an indication of how dry the market for Wells is at this point.

The Angels expect to absorb a vast majority of the $42 million owed to Wells over the next two years in any trade, but they won’t give him away. They still feel he can contribute — as a right-handed power hitter and the first outfielder off the bench; perhaps even as insurance if Peter Bourjos gets off to a rough start — and they’d want to replace him via free agency if he departed anyway.

So, for the first time in his career, Wells will show up to Spring Training as a clear reserve, behind Bourjos, Mike TroutJosh Hamilton and DH Mark Trumbo in the outfield pecking order.

On Monday, 17 days before position players take their physicals in Tempe, Ariz., Wells joined “Angels Talk” hosts Victor Rojas and Terry Smith AM 830 KLAA. Asked about his diminished role, he took the high road — he always does — and didn’t really seem too bothered by it.

Here’s a partial transcript:

On being hurt the last couple years …

“I think that’s just part of the process. I don’t think it matters where you are in your career. You’re going to have some frustrating times, and unfortunately the last couple years have been frustrating, not only for myself, but for a lot of outsiders also. I think that’s what the offseasons are for, to kind of get a chance to regroup and refocus, and I think the thing for me moving forward is I have to be comfortable. I have to just relax and go play the game like I did when I was a kid. I don’t think I’ve done that as much as I’ve needed to.”

On the preparation going into a season when he’ll probably come off the bench …

“I think every athlete prefers just to be in the best shape they can and for whatever’s thrown at him in Spring Training. I don’t know exactly what the role is going to be. I think it’s been documented what it could be. But for me, as a competitor, you have to go in and be ready to fight. I think that’s what everyone wants to do and everybody’s going to do, because in order for this team to achieve what it needs to, everyone has to be thinking that way.”

On whether the trade rumors have bothered him …

“No, not at all. I put myself in that position, so I can’t get mad about it. I think that’s pretty obvious. You live and you learn. I’ve enjoyed my last two years, even though it’s been frustrating at times, but everything you go through you learn from it, and sometimes it takes a month, sometimes it takes a year, and sometimes it takes two years to kind of get everything straightened out. But I like the opportunity I’m going to get, and I’m going to run with whatever they tell me to do.”

On whether he’d prefer to go to a team with a more prominent role …

“I want to play, and I want to play for the Angels. But I have to earn that. That’s an easy question to answer. I want to be an Angel and I want to play. If I don’t get the opportunity to play, then obviously I need to continue to work harder because I still want to wear the uniform. I want to be able to really show what I can do, and I haven’t been able to do that the last couple of years. There’s still a lot to show some Angel fans. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to do that, and if I don’t get it, then so be it.”

Alden 

13 Comments

good attitude maybe starting the season as reserve is what he needs to turn the corner and really contribute.

Vernon is being paid to much to be a reserve, and a bad one at that!!!!!

Vernon is in a unique position. His contract has put enormous fan pressure on him to produce and for whatever reason he has actually posted two very substandard seasons.
I do believe he can still play and feel that should he prove it, he could still find himself as a starter, but for this to happen he must avoid prolonged slumps.

I don’t believe anyone ever expected him to play to the value of the contract but if Vernon can produce a batting average of 270 and take a few walks, his natural power numbers will take care of themselves. He is capable of being a productive player, a 270 plus hitter with 25 to 30 home run power and a plus glove in the field. Why this hasn’t happened is a mystery that plagues his time with the team and frustrates the fans.

Whether it be sports,business or anything else…your only as good as your last performance.
IF Vernon “produces” he WILL play…and play REGULARLY…IF not…he’ll sit/rot on the pine.
There were some other teams (phillies,etc) where he would have played regularly even if
he was a miminmal producer…the Angels situation is different..

Vernon should be as good as anyone coming off the bench.
If he doesn’t bring decent value in trade, then keep him.
This team should be good enough as it is.

As much as Vernon has been a disappointment so far to the fans and the organization, I still admire his attitude. Although he may not produce at the level he once did, he may be a valuable option off the bench and could possibly earn more and more starts with a good first showing. And let’s face it, does the pocket book of Arte really affect the fans? No. If the Angels can afford to keep him, what do we care that he’s a $20 million/year bench player? I agree that it’s way too much but oh well, the Angels can boast that their offense is so good they have to bench $20 million! Or something like that… Go Halos!

Wow. He’s so cool about his situation. I would be if I have $42M coming my way – nothing to worry about. Don’t expect any miracles. He does not walk enough and he strikes out too much – which means he makes poor contact. When he does make contact, he leads the majors in popups. Remember the great shape he was in LAST offseason? It did not help. He’s not even a good defender anymore. The only place he can go to resurrect his career is Colorado, where popups somehow become homeruns. At best, he is becomes a decent $23M platoon player for the Angels. Woohoo! Just imagine, if Vernon’s contract had never been unloaded on the Angels, the Blue Jays would never have been able to take on all of those Marlins contracts. What a franchise-changing trade that was for the Jays.

This is what so many fans forget. How much he is paid is not his fault. If some GM wants to overpay him he’s not gonna say, “Hey, I’m not worth that much!” He came here with a big salary and he had played well before he got here. He hasn’t lived up to his previous years but that doesn’t mean that he can’t have a good year in 2013. He’s still a very good outfielder who can bang the ball.

I’m a big Halo fan and here’s my take on it:
1. Anyone of you (us) are gonna take a pay raise at work if its offered, so its really neither here nor there that he is making what he is making.
2. Is it a bad contract for the Halos? Of course. However as Angel fans, we must realize that booing him or demanding Arte dump him isn’t going to = production from Wells. Players don’t admit it, but of course they pay attention to the media, and of course it has a heavy impact mentally. He cant focus on being productive on the field if he is always worried about nay-Sayers and people booing him.

I say; stop making him feel like a black sheep out there and lets stand behind him and make him come back player of the year. How many people are gonna complain about his contract if he does?…

The money that Artie uses to pay these contracts comes from the fans who buy tickets, beer, food, and merchandise. So saying it is “Artie’s money” isn’t totally accurate. When it boils down to it, the money to pay the contracts comes from us as fans so we have the right to complain if their performance is sub par. I do agree that we all take it a little bit too far at times, but it’s going to happen when we have to spend upwards of $400 to take our families to a baseball game and have, at best, mediocre seats. Especially when we are contributing such a high percentage of that money to a bench player who has not proven that he can produce here. We are paying a cadillac price for a toyota, plain and simple.

Just remember this!!! it is Arties money. why should we care if he plays or sits the pine. Not a bad bench warmer!!! Lets hope he contributes to the team in any way and wins himself a world series ring.

I’m just as much an Angels fan as anyone here. However, I’m a realist. I’m sure he struggles with his contract – that is his albatross, but he is the Angels albatross. He is struggling just to be average. Maybe if we take everyone off the bases every time he comes up, he’ll do better. Has .300 AVG with bases empty, but has .118 AVG with runners in scoring position. Does this means pitchers bare down on him a little more or that he cannot handle pressure? I’m pulling for him, but the reality is that IT is simply not there. He’s Gary Matthews Jr version 2.0

What a class act. I think this will turn out to be a big year for Vernon.

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