Vernon Wells is now a Yankee as a result of a desperation trade by the Bronx Bombers. PHOTO: Keith Allison, Wikimedia Commons
Desperation across baseball maintained equilibrium today, as the New York Yankees cracked under their desperation, and Kyle Lohse got a deal from the Milwaukee Brewers that ends his desperation. Lohse escaped the weird contract purgatory he had been in, in which teams would lose a draft pick to sign him, do to some new CBA rules I can explain if you ask nicely in the comments, and the Yankees got nostalgic for their old ways and took on the last two years of one of baseball's worst contracts.
To be fair, Vernon Wells, who the Yankees acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, will only receive $13 million of the $42 million Wells is owed over the next two years, with the rest coming from the Angels. Also, while Wells is no longer especially good at baseball, at least for a professional, he does not even necessarily own the worst contract on the Yankees. Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira both provide more value on the field (when they are there, which neither are at the moment due to injury, a major factor in Yankee desperation), but they are still only mid-way through their mammoth contracts, unlike Wells, who is two years from the end of his. A-Rod is still owed $114 million through 2017, and he might never be better than average in that time. Teixeira gets $22.5 million each year through 2016, for a total of $90 million between now and then. So, Wells can kind of blend in with the crowd among the Yankees, but $13 million for two years of him is still a big overpay. He has a little bit of power, but he doesn't get on base, and he's been solidly below average for two seasons. Still, the Yankees are old, injured and in need of warm bodies, so Wells is now a Yankee.
On the other side of the desperation balance, the Brewers got better and Kyle Lohse got richer when the two sides agreed on a 3 year, $33 million deal. The Brewers will struggle to compete with the Cardinals and Reds this year, but this deal gives them a better shot. Lohse comes out well: getting something close to market value for his services for a team that has a shot at contention. He also avoids going into the year without a team, something that looked more and more likely until today. It has to be a huge sigh of relief for him, because what once looked like a promising offseason had become mired in baseball contract purgatory.