Report: Once Deal Is Official, Vernon Wells Will Become Yankees’ Starting Left Fielder
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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Nothing is official yet, but it appears that left fielder Vernon Wells is headed to the Bronx.
The Yankees neared an agreement with the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday to acquire the 34-year-old outfielder. According to CBSSports.com/WFAN baseball insider Jon Heyman, the three-time All-Star still needs to pass a physical and the trade must be approved by MLB commissioner Bud Selig.
The Yankees’ outfield took a major hit this spring with the injury to Curtis Granderson. With Granderson expected to be out until May, Brett Gardner will be New York’s staring center fielder on Opening Day.
As of now, newly-signed Brennan Boesch — who batted just .240 with 12 home runs and 54 RBIs for the Tigers last season — is slated to be the starting left fielder.
But if and when Wells becomes a member of the Bronx Bombers, he’ll immediately take over as the everyday left fielder, a source told ESPN.
“He will be the everyday left fielder,” the source informed the network.
Wells, a right-handed hitter, will also likely spell Travis Hafner as designated hitter on occasion. When Granderson does return, it’s likely that Wells will be relegated to the bench.
Wells is owed $42 million over the next two seasons. The Yankees agreed to take on about $13 million of that total, according to Heyman.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports first reported the potential trade.
Third baseman Kevin Youkilis — who will be relied upon heavily for offensive production with Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter sidelined in addition to Granderson — thinks that bringing in Wells would be a tremendous addition.
“Veteran leadership, good guy, he’s got power,” Youkilis said when describing Wells’ attributes. “He can play the outfield real well. I’ve always respected Vernon as a player. It would be great. I never complain about getting guys on teams. If he would come here I bet you he would do a good job of helping us try to win.’’
Once an extremely feared hitter, Wells has struggled ever since joining the Angels in 2011. In his debut season in Los Angeles he batted just .218 with 25 homers and 66 RBIs, posting a dismal .248 on-base percentage.
In just 77 games played in 2012, the 14th-year player hit .230 with 11 home runs, 29 RBIs and a .279 OBP.
Should he be given the starting job right away, or should he have to compete with Brennan Boesch, Juan Rivera, Ben Francisco and some of the younger players? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below…