ESPN’s Buster Olney is reporting that the New York Yankees have designated outfielder Vernon Wells for assignment. While the move is not shocking, Wells himself was hoping to return to the Bronx for another season. The team needed to clear space on their 40-man roster with the additions of free agents Brian Roberts and Matt Thornton, but neither signing has been announced by the team.
Wells was acquired last year from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and the move initially paid off for the Yankees. Through the first portion of the season, Wells hit 10 home runs in his first 38 games. He struggled mightily from that point forward, finishing the season with a slash line of .233/.282/.349 in just under 460 plate appearances. The Yankees had a log jam of outfielders on the big league roster, with the signings of Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran. The move takes the roster total down to five, as Ichiro Suzuki, Brett Gardner, and Alfonso Soriano make up the remaining pieces.
The Yankees were scheduled to pick up $13.9 of the remaining $42 million left on Wells’ contract, with portions of the contract being paid by the Angels, along with the Toronto Blue Jays, Wells’ original team.