After being activated from the DL, Vernon Wells has had to come to terms with being primarily a bench player. Part of that is because Mike Trout is setting the world on fire and part of it is because Wells could be replaced by a cardboard cutout of Mike Trout. This is the second year that Wells has been below replacement level for the Angels after Tony Reagins shocked the baseball community by letting the Blue Jays off the hook.
See, Wells would have been DFA’d the second Jerry Dipoto got his name on the GM’s office door but he inherited a player owed nearly $75 million over the next three years. That is a lot of money to swallow for someone else’s mind-blowing blunder. But maybe, just maybe, Wells would have some kind of resurgence to decent. He did not. And that kept Trout in the minors for three weeks, probably costing the Angels a win by Wins Above Replacement’s eyes.
Wells was hitting .244/.282/.422 from the start of the season until May 20 when he tore a thumb ligament. All the thumb surgery and rehab couldn’t put Vernon Wells back together again. He’s hitting .107/.161/.214 in the 31 chances he’s had since returning on July 28. Small sample size? Sure. Life on the bench is difficult for many full time players and that’s what Wells is now after only getting eight starts in the 21 games the Angels have played since his return. But he’s taking it in stride…
“Good, actually,” Wells said on Friday. “The only thing I’m focused on is us winning games. I’m at the point now where I’m not really concerned with when I’m not in the lineup. I’m more concerned at what the outcome of each game is. When I’m on the bench, it’s trying to help out as much as you can. If you see something, communicating with guys when they’re playing, trying to do what you can to help the team win. The adjustment, at first, was difficult. But now, I’m enjoying it as much as I can.”
Vernon Wells seems like a nice guy but he’s not a good baseball player anymore. But, I mean, does anyone have a better job? I’d love to get paid $25 million to sit around and watch baseball. With the stipulation that I didn’t have to put on pants and they got cushioned benches.