What was Angels’ GM Reagins thinking?

Toronto Blue Jays Vernon Wells backs off a pitch during an American League MLB baseball game in Toronto in this September 6, 2010 file photo. The Blue Jays have traded the three times All-Star outfielder to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for catcher Mike Napoli and outfielder Juan Rivera, the MLB teams said on Friday. Wells has spent his entire 14-year career with the Blue Jays who made him the fifth selection overall in the 1997 draft. REUTERS/Fred Thornhill/Files (CANADA – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

In a stunning move, the Angels traded Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera to the Blue Jays in exchange for outfielder Vernon Wells, who is due a whopping $86 million over the next four seasons. The deal frees the Jays of one of the worst contracts in baseball.

For Toronto, this trade gives the Jays financial flexibility for years to come. What’s shocking is that the Halos got almost no cash in return. There have been reports that Toronto will send L.A. $5 million, but that’s nothing when you consider what Wells will receive over the next four years. This was basically a get-out-of-jail free card for Jays’ GM Alex Anthopoulos.

I guess the hope is that Wells, Torrii Hunter and Peter Bourjos will give the Jays a solid outfield to go with their strong starting pitching. But not only is that asking a lot, even if Wells puts up good offensive numbers over these next couple of years, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which he lives up to his contract (nevertheless outperforms it). Chances are he will decline and then what? The Halos are still left holding the bill.

As Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports wrote, most teams are trying to get younger, cheaper and better. The Angels just got older, more expensive and possibly even worse. It’s almost like GM Tony Reagins hit the panic button as soon as Carl Crawford signed with the Red Sox and Adrian Beltre agreed to terms with the Rangers. I can see him sitting in his office saying, “We’ve got to do something! We’ve got to do something!!”

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