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Friday, January 21, 2011

Angels Trade Mike Napoli, Juan Rivera To Toronto For Vernon Wells

So says Fox Sports. Wells is due $86M over the remaining four years of his deal; viewed as a challenge trade, this might work, since Napoli has been a 2-3 WAR player over most of his career, where Wells has been a lot streakier and variable (3.4 WAR last year). I don't generally like the Angels' trades in the Tony Reagins era (and neither Bill Stoneman's before him), and one reason to really dislike this one is it gets the team older in a hurry. It does make the team a bit older (Wells will be playing out his age 32 season this year, where Napoli enters his age 29 season), though I think I like Wells' ability to stay on the field in the main.

Napoli will age a lot faster, being a catcher. Too, I'm not really happy with his sudden decline in walk rate; despite taking the largest number of plate appearances in his career, he managed only two more walks (42) despite having almost 20% more plate appearances in 2010. Taken with the additional salary, I would actually call this a fairly even trade, because Toronto will have all year to negotiate an extension with the receiver, in his last year of arbitration eligibility.

Update: An ESPN report by Mark Saxon claims "The Angels' desire to move him accelerated when Napoli asked for $6.1 million in an arbitration filing last week." Also, the Halos have been trying to move Juan Rivera and the $5.25M remaining on his contract.

Update 2: The Times reports that the trade will also send Juan Rivera and the remaining $5.25M on his deal to Toronto.

Update 3: Sam Miller of the Register reminds us that the Angels refused even to take up a waiver claim at the trade deadline last year, but now they give up something of value in exchange? Very odd. It will be interesting to see Reagins defend this deal.

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