Saturday, December 16, 2006

Vernon Wells Cost Much Greater Than $128 Million

The good news for the Blue Jays is that Vernon Wells is inked though 2013, but the bad news is that his services come at a great deal more cost than his $128 million contract. With Wells off the block, speculation of a megadeal in which pitching might be acquired have screeched to a halt.

After Roy Halliday and A.J. Burnett, Toronto's rotation has been reduced to Gustavo Chacin, Gustavo Chacin and Gustavo Chacin, with the club having precious little to trade in exchange for addditional help. As if Chacin wasn't troublesome enough with his 5.05 ERA, the Jays must now cobble a rotation from the likes of Josh Towers or bullpen fodder Shaun Marcum, and perhaps high maintenance, low-cost free agents such as Mark Redman, Jamey Wright or Joel Piniero. Having shelled out history's seventh largest contract to Wells, no money is left to pay for a Jeff Suppan type, let alone a Barry Zito.

The Blue Jays have an interesting prospect in first baseman Chip Cannon, who tore up the Arizona Fall League. With no place to play, Cannon is ticketed for Syracuse and thus is expendable. But it's questionable whether any teams would offer much value for an untested commodity. Pity that Ted Lilly and Gil Meche slipped through the Blue Jays fingers.