They say if you love someone, set them free. If thy come back, they're yours. If that is true, I guess it means Vernon Wells is ours, in a toxic relationship sort of way.
Yes, that fateful date is upon us. The pariah that was Vernon Wells returns to Anaheim this weekend for the first time since he was banished to the Bronx. I'm sure you are all whet with anticipation of this event. I know I am. I had to put a tarp down underneath my desk and everything.
I still recall fondly the day the news that the Wells trade broke. Vernon himself described it as a dream come true as he apparently been secretly harboring a desire to don the pinstripes since he was just a wee lad. Well, the feeling is mutual for me. It was a dream come true to see Wells no longer adorned in Halo red and instead bringing down the Evil Empire from the inside. Let that be a lesson to you, kids. Dreams can become a reality if you want them badly enough.
Still, I can't help but remember that some actually tried to rain on the parade back then. The Angels gave Wells away for some monetary savings and two nothing prospects. Don't they worry that they might need a fourth outfielder? Won't somebody please think of the bench?!
Yes, there were those that actually thought the deal might blow up in the Angels' face. How that was even possible, I don't know seeing how the trade they made to initially acquire Wells years ago already exploded and left a smoldering hole where their face should be. There really isn't a face left to blow up. However, Wells did make us all a little nervous the first month of the season when he posted a shockingly great .911 OPS in April. The dream was starting to like a nightmare and became a full fledged night terror when the Halos lost Peter Bourjos to injury and had nothing but scraps on their bench to replace him with. How could this be?
Oh, it couldn't be. Nevermind. Everyone move along and return to your homes. Nothing to see here.
As it turns out, Vernon Wells is still very much Vernon Wells. His production, predictably, fell off a cliff in May and his numbers have now actually fallen to a level slightly worse than they were in his last year with the Angels. Wells enters the series with a slash line of .229/.274/.386, all of which are a tick below his 2012 numbers. This despite playing home games in a much more hitter friendly ballpark.
It also turns out that the Angels haven't missed having him on the bench either. J.B. Shuck stepped in when Bourjos went down and currently boasts (and it is a boast by his standards) a slash line of .277/.326/.346. For those a little more sabermetrically inclined, Wells has a .287 wOBA and 76 wRC+ while Shuck is sitting at .299 wOBA and 90 wRC+. So, Shuck isn't exactly tearing it up, but compared to Wells, he is a dynamic offensive force even though he can't even hit a ball out to the warning track.
So, sorry, Vernon. You haven't been missed. But you will be welcomed back with open arms. Or maybe it is more one arm extended and one arm hiding a knife behind our backs. Maybe it is just me, but I can't wait for Wells to step up to the dish at the Big A so we can all revel in a bit of good old fashioned schadenfreude. This fan base has been getting kicked in the teeth all season and we need something to lift our spirits. Nothing can make the Halo fan base feel better than seeing Wells and thinking, "Well, at least we don't have that guy anymore."
It isn't much, it is probably even a little sad, but it is all we have right now. So, welcome back, Vernon! We can't wait to boo you again.