Vernon Wells is expected to rejoin the Angels by the end of July, but the question is what the team’s plans are for him.
The 33-year-old was batting just .244/.282/.422 with six homers and 12 RBI over 38 games before going down with a thumb injury in late May that required surgery. He was playing regularly before getting hurt, but since then, Mark Trumbo has settled into an outfield role and the 20-year-old Mike Trout has blossomed into a star. With Torii Hunter also needing everyday at-bats, Kendrys Morales providing nice production in the designated hitter slot and defensive whiz Peter Bourjos around to back up, that seemingly leaves Wells without a role.
As much as the Halos would probably hate to have a guy making $21 million sitting on the bench, it’s simply the best thing for the team. The Angels were 18-24 and in last place in the AL West when Wells was hurt, and since then they’ve gone 30-14 and vaulted into the lead for one of the Wild Card spots.
Trading Wells’ contract is virtually impossible even if the Angels would be willing to eat most of it. Besides, the veteran outfielder has a no-trade clause that he’s reportedly not keen on waiving. The team’s higher-ups understandably don’t want to commit on a particular strategy with Wells until they have to.
"That remains to be seen," GM Jerry Dipoto said in the Los Angeles Times. "We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. If you plan too far ahead on how you intend to use players you could lock yourself into something that might not be in the best interest of anybody."
Added manager Mike Scioscia: "We're going to take it one step at a time with Vernon. Depth of the club is going to be important. When the time is right, we'll see what our decisions are going to be."
There was plenty of draft news to go around Monday involving first-round holdouts. No. 6 overall pick Albert Almora inked a $3.9 million deal with the Cubs, but No. 8 pick Mark Appel and No. 4 pick Kevin Gausman reportedly are seriously contemplating returning to college next season.
Appel returning to school rather than signing with the Pirates wouldn’t be too surprising. The consensus No. 1 talent in the draft, he fell to the Pirates at No. 8 after reportedly turning down a pre-draft offer from the Astros (who held the No. 1 pick) of $6 million. The Pirates can only offer him $3.8 million without losing a pick next year, and he likely assumes he can get more than that after returning to Stanford for his senior season and re-entering the draft next year.
Gausman not signing would be much more of a surprise, as most pundits fully expected him to begin his professional career. He still very well may, as Orioles scouting director Gary Rajsich told the Baltimore Sun that the team and Gausman are "talking and it is progressing. We are making progress." A report from the New Orleans Times-Picayune, however, stated that the righty was strongly considering returning to school.
We’ll know by Friday at 5 ET, which is the deadline for picks to sign. Other first-rounders that have yet to put their name on the dotted line include Andrew Heaney (9, MIA), Lucas Giolito (16, WAS), Richie Shaffer (25, TB) and Ty Hensley (30, NYY).
Prince the King of Derby Again
Prince Fielder won the 2009 Home Run Derby in St. Louis, and now he’s taken home the same crown from the other side of the state.
Fielder topped Jose Bautista in the final round Monday in Kansas City, tying a finals record with 12 bombs. He started off with just five longballs in the first round but then made up for it in a big way with 11 dingers in the second round before easily besting Bautista in the finals.
The story of the night was Robinson Cano being booed relentlessly by the Kansas City crowd for not including Billy Butler among the AL participants. Clearly affected, the 2011 champ failed to go deep a single time in the first round.
National League Quick Hits: A report from CBSSports.com says the Reds, Indians and Pirates are all interested in trading for the Padres’ Carlos Quentin. The 29-year-old is slated for free agency after the season and is likely to be dealt sometime later this month … CBSSports.com reports that the Giants are expected to target Michael Bourn when he hits free agency this winter. They also want to retain their own impending free agent, Melky Cabrera … Ben Sheets allowed two earned runs over 5 2/3 innings in his second start for Double-A Mississippi Monday. His next outing will likely come on Sunday with the Braves … Andrelton Simmons was placed on the disabled list Monday with a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal in his right hand. He’ll be in a cast for a month before being re-evaluated … Wilton Lopez was activated from the disabled list Monday after missing a month with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow. He’s not a bad roster stash given that Brett Myers could be traded.
American League Quick Hits: Nick Markakis was activated from the disabled list Monday after being out of commission for the last month following surgery to remove a broken hamate bone removed from his right hand … Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik has shot down any speculation that he could trade Felix Hernandez, saying the right-hander “ain’t going anywhere.” Hernandez is in the third year of a five-year, $78 million contract … A pair of left-handers found out Monday that they need Tommy John surgery. The Blue Jays’ Luis Perez and the Twins’ Matt Maloney will be sidelined until around midseason next year. … Lorenzo Cain was activated from the DL Monday after sitting out nearly three months with groin issues. He should regain his job as the everyday center fielder but could be eased back into things … A report from CBSSports.com says Mariners pitching prospect Danny Hultzen isn’t close to a promotion and could spend all season in the minors.