Vernon Wells Contract & Is it worth it?

Vernon Wells to sign for 7 Years, $126 Million


Vernon Wells Contract


Well, looks like Vernon is going to sign a seven year extension worth $126 million dollars. Is he worth this kinda cash? We break down a number of areas, such as RBI’s, Runs, OPS, and Current Market Value to get the answer.



Runs Scored

Only once has Wells scored more than 100 runs, despite being on base a number of times. Some may attribute this to a poor surrounding cast, but in 2006 Vernon scored only 91 times.



Vernon has knocked in 100 or more runs in three of the last five seasons, but only once in the past three years. This certainly isn’t poor, but for $126 million?



Vernon has never finished in the AL’s top 10 in OPS. His career mark is .828. Over the past three seasons, he has posted the following OPS: .809, .783, .899. Flatly, Vernon has never shown himself to be in the top tier of batters in the American League. His past records also show a lack of consistency. Which is the real Vernon, the player that had an .899 OPS in 2006 (16th in the AL) or the player that averaged a . 796 OPS over 2004 & 2005?



Historically, Vernon has struck out twice as many times as he has walked. In fact, 2006 showcased his career high in walks, with 54. Why is this important? Vernon’s contract runs until he is 35, and a loss in bat speed can be anticipated in the latter stages of this contract. He’s never shown any real plate discipline, so one would conclude that when the bat speed starts to dip, the strikeout total will start to rise.



Vernon has a collection of Gold Gloves, and his Zone Rating is amongst the best in baseball. But is this really worth paying for? For example, when Juan Pierre signed his large contract this off-season, I heard nary a statement defending his salary based upon his high zone rating (which incidentally is higher than Vernon’s).


Market Value 

Many will defend this deal by stating that this is a fair to even good market value deal for the Toronto Blue Jays. But under that logic, scooping up a Ted Lilly, or Gil Meche at $8 million a season over four+ years is considered a good deal. Just because the rest of the market is blowing its brains out on long term, high cost contracts to a multitude of players this season doesn’t make it right. As my parents taught me, I think I’ll watch everyone else jump off a bridge.


This leaves us with: 

Vernon is a very good player, there is no doubt of that. But is he really worth $126 million over 7 years? And to a small market team? No, no he’s not.  Not even close.


Grady Sizemore (a better player statistically than Vernon Wells) was signed to a pre-arbitration contract of 7 years for at $31.45 million, for a savings of roughly $95 million over the course of both centerfielder’s contracts.

This is just another example supporting pre-arbitration contracts. If you haven’t checked out my articles on pre-arb contracts, just click the links below.

Grady Sizemore vs Alfonso Sorianon, Free Agent vs Pre-Arbitration Contracts
National League Pre-Arbitration Contract

More from Matthias Koster
Best/Worst Jays WHAV: Rasmus & Escobar
Two Toronto Blue Jays full-time players and their WHAV.   “Inside Edge...
Read More
6 replies on “Vernon Wells Contract & Is it worth it?”
  1. says: Early

    I beleive Wells on the open market would get something similar. I agree with Cal, Vernon is a Blue Jay, this is why he is getting this kind of money. Wells, like Halladay has come up through the system and is not a trade in or a sign in like some other stars on the Jays. I disagree that the Jays are a small market team and I am interested to see what makes a market small or large.

  2. says: Callum

    The extension calls for a $25.5 million signing bonus, payable in three $8.5 million installments each March 1 in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

    He will receive a salary of only $500,000 in 2008 and $1.5 million in 2009, but his salary jumps to $12.5 million in 2010 and $23 million in 2011. Wells receives $21 million in each of the final three seasons.

    More dirty JP accounting. I feel for the GM who fills JP’s shoes when he jets out of town with all of these back loaded contracts on aging players. Kman, since you are the Jays payroll expert, what are the commitments to Jays players in say, 2010/2011?

  3. says: Kman

    I’ll throw something together later this weekend, turing the big five into the big six. That backload is incredible. Statistically, Vernon has averaged 84 Runs , 28 HR, 90 RBI & an OPS of .830 over the past three seasons.

    Good luck to whoever has to trade that backloaded contract down the line. If it’s JP, I can hear something like “We can’t compete with $20+ million owed to one player. I tryed to talk Godfrey out of it. Otherwise, I’d win the WS every year. Blah Blah Blah”

    Once again, for all the talk of the Jays & the great attendence jump, they still ranked in the bottom half (18th) in overall attendence in 2006. And they were 23rd in % of seats filled (56.3) Is resigning Vernon going to cause a spike in attendence? Or would a free agent like Soriano do more for the bottom line (and the offense)?

Comments are closed.