New York Yankees to trade for Vernon Wells, another $20 million-plus man

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

If the World Series were decided by how many players on a given team made more than $20 million dollars, the New York Yankees would be feeling mighty good about their chances right now.

The Yankees have agreed to bring slugger Vernon Wells cross country from the Los Angeles Angels — as first reported by Yahoo! Sports' own Jeff Passan. The 34-year-old outfielder will swap his halo for pinstripes, after reportedly waving his no-trade clause. The deal is pending commissioner approval.

Wells is set to earn a combined $42 million over the final two years of his contract, but the Angels are sending a suitcase of cash along with him, and Yankees reportedly will pay him a total of $13 million over 2013 and '14. Whatever the Yankees are sending back to the Angels in prospect form probably will be negligible.

Another monetary note: Because the World Baseball Classic is indebted to pay the salary of any player injured while he was suited up for the WBC, the Yankees are off the hook for between $7-8 million of Mark Texeira's contract, Buster Olney of ESPN reports. So, in a way, the Yankees aren't taking on more payroll — for this season, anyway — with Wells.

It's still worth noting that Wells' monstrous contract — signed when he was with the Toronto Blue Jays and worth a total of $126 million — now gives the Yankees four of the top 11 paid players in baseball this year, all of whom make more than $20 million.

Regardless of cost, the move gives another bat to the beat-up Yankees who will start the season without Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and most likely, captain Derek Jeter. On the Angels side, it removes the final impediment for 25-year-old Peter Bourjos to join Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton as everyday outfielders. Bourjos was going to get most of the playing time anyway, but Wells' costly and underachieving shadow is gone.

But no matter how much the Angels are pitching in, trading for someone else's reserve who makes $21 million is the most Yankees-move the Yankees could make.

Below are the players who will make the most in 2013. Current, disabled and pending-pinstripe Yankees highlighted.

Alex Rodriguez, $29M
• Johan Santana, $25.5M
• Cliff Lee, $25M
Mark Teixeira, $23.25M
C.C. Sabathia, $23M
• Prince Fielder, $23M
• Joe Mauer, $23M
• Tim Lincecum, $22.25M
• Adrian Gonzalez, $21.86M
• Miguel Cabrera, $21M
Vernon Wells, $21M

Here's the (multi) million dollar question: Will Vernon Wells lead the Yankees to a World Series? Let's all laugh real quick. Done? OK, no, he won't.

But with with all those $20-million contracts, the Yanks might be able to get to the Showcase Showdown on "The Price is Right."

Are you ready for opening day?
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