TEMPE, Ariz. — The Angels finalized their trade of Vernon Wells to the New York Yankees on Tuesday after the veteran outfielder passed a physical and the commissioner’s office approved the cash being exchanged in the deal.
The Angels will pay $28.1 million of the remaining $42 million on Wells’ contract, which runs through 2014, meaning the Yankees will pick up $13.9 million of the deal. The Yankees sent Class-A pitcher Kramer Sneed and Class-A outfielder Exicardo Cayones to the Angels.
Wells, a huge disappointment during his two years in Anaheim, when he he hit a combined .222 with 36 home runs and 95 runs batted in while being paid $21 million a year, agreed Sunday morning to waive his no-trade clause, and by Sunday afternoon, his Tempe Diablo Stadium locker was empty and he had said his goodbyes.
The teams had 72 hours to complete the transaction, so Wells flew to his Texas home Sunday night before traveling to Tampa, Fla., where the Yankees train, Monday afternoon. Wells underwent a physical Tuesday morning and he is expected to be in uniform for the Yankees’ exhibition game Tuesday night.
Savings from the trade will reduce the Angels’ opening-day payroll from $160 million to $148.5 million, and their payroll for luxury-tax purposes, which is based on the average annual value of contracts and includes salaries and benefits, including awards and incentives, for the 40-man roster, to about $172 million.
That will leave the Angels some wiggle room under the $178-million luxury-tax threshold to add a high-salaried player before the July 31 trade deadline without incurring a penalty. The Angels closed 2012 with a $176.7-million luxury-tax payroll, according to the Associated Press.
The Yankees and Angels actually discussed a trade for Wells over the winter but could not consummate a deal. But with Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson and Derek Jeter opening the season on the disabled list, New York was desperate to add offense.
Wells had a solid spring with the Angels, hitting .361 (13 for 36) with four homers and 11 RBIs, but with the Angels committed to a starting outfield of Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton and Peter Bourjos with Mark Trumbo at designated hitter, Wells would have been a reserve and was expendable.
And though the Angels will pay most of Wells’ contract for the next two years, they were ecstatic that the Yankees were willing to absorb the chunk they did — most team executives thought the most a team would assume of the contract was $5 million a year; the Yankees will pay an average of $6.95 million a year.
The trade also removes any temptation Manager Mike Scioscia might have to turn to Wells if Bourjos, a speedy center fielder General Manager Jerry Dipoto wants to give every chance to succeed, gets off to a slow start.
Wells’ departure would seem to ease some pressure on Bourjos, who can now open the season without looking over his shoulder in case he struggles.
Cayones, a 21 year old from Venezuela, hit .228 with a .374 OBP and .291 slugging percentage for low-A Staten Island last season. Sneed, 24, is a left-hander who went 0-7 with a 5.37 ERA in 31 games, four starts, for high-A Tampa last season.