The New York Yankees have released outfielder Vernon Wells, according to the official transactions page on MLB.com. Wells was designated for assignment by the Yankees last week in order to make room for LHP Matt Thornton on the 40-man roster.
The Yankees roster was simply too crowed for Wells, with there being six outfielders on the roster after the signings of Carlos Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury, and looking to move at least one of them before the seasons begins, Wells, along with Ichiro, figured to be the odd man out.
Wells got off to a good start last season for the Bombers, hitting .300 in the month of April with 6 home runs and 13 RBI. But his production dropped badly over the rest of the season, hitting just 5 more home runs and finishing with a .233 average in 430 at-bats.
The Yankees still owe Wells $2.4 million in 2014 while the Los Angeles Angels owe him $18.6 million. That is the final year on the 7-year, $126 million contract he signed with the Toronto Blue Jays back in 2008. Any team that signs him will likely only have to pay a pro-rated salary, with the Angels and Yankees picking up the bulk of the tab.
Any work he’ll be lucky to find as a free-agent now would likely be a bench-role, part-time job. There are some teams that could a use another bat on the bench, and Wells might be the answer that someone is looking for.
Even with Wells now out of the picture, we can still speculate that the Yankees will still be trying to move Ichiro, who is owed $6.5 million in 2014. His market might not be great, but finding a place to move him shouldn’t take too long.