Sometimes “Free” Isn’t Good Enough

The Yankees DFA’ed Vernon Wells today. This was a smart move (it would have been smarter in July of 2013) that seems to have put some people into a tizzy. After all, Vernon didn’t cost the Yankees anything against the luxury tax in 2014, so anyone who replaces him will count towards the $189-million.

To be brief: so what? There was nothing Wells could contribute to the 2014 Yankees. His final 2013 numbers of .233/.282/.349 were bad enough, but those are inflated by his incredibly hot start. Through May, he hit 10 home runs. For the rest of the he had a TOTAL of 10 extra-base hits. His speed was mostly gone and his glove was no longer good. The Yankees can take a flier on any number of fringe players and feel confident that he will be at least as productive as Wells was.

Right now, the five outfielders who will break camp with the Yankees are ¬†Soriano, Ellsbury, Gardner, Beltran and Ichiro. The ironic thing is that the Yankees could really use a righty-swinging outfielder to complement that group. I suspect they are desperately trying to trade Ichiro for any sort of salary relief they can get. If they can’t they might have to go the DFA route with him as well.