According to a story from MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez, Angels outfielder Vernon Wells plans to retire at the expiration of his current contract after the 2014 season. Wells is owed $42-million over the next two years, after which, he says he’ll walk away from the game at the age of 35 in order to be with his family back in Southlake, Texas.
The highly compensated reserve outfielder says that he still loves the game, but wants to be around while his two boys—ages seven and ten—still need him. He also plans to transition into team ownership with former teammate and good friend Torii Hunter—now with the Tigers.
Wells has been the center of an ire-storm since joining the Angels ahead of the 2011 season after he was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays—with almost all of the remaining balance of his massive contract—for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera. Despite being one of the highest paid players in the game, Wells has been underwhelming for the past several years. He was so bad in 2012 while battling injuries (he finished the year with a dismal .230/.279/.403 slash line) that he won’t even start this season for the Angels who have Josh Hamilton, Mike Trout and Peter Bourjos ahead of him on the depth chart.
Having been a fan of the Blue Jays for years, I’ve always been torn about my feelings for Wells. He was a very good player for most of his time with Toronto and although his seven-year, $126-million contract extension turned out to be a terrible decision from a team-building standpoint, Wells has always carried himself with professionalism and a strong work ethic. He’s a very likeable player and regardless of his contract, it will be sad to see him go at the end of the 2014 season.
Wells has been in the Majors for 11-plus seasons and has a career slash line of .273/.321/.467 with 259 home runs and a career 26.7 Wins Above Replacement according to FanGraphs.