Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE
Every once in a while someone throws out a trade idea so wacky, so completely out there, that you have to stop and think about it for a second. Has this person perhaps stumbled upon something? Is their some logical core to this insanity that we could not see simply because we could not imagine taking that first step into madness?
This time, though, further consideration didn't put the thought in any better light.
Now, let's ignore the fact that Vernon Wells is owed $42 million over the next two years while the Red Sox are on the hook for "just" $30 million to Lackey. Let's also ignore the fact that John Lackey could come with a nearly free year built in thanks to a clause in his contract regarding surgery on his elbow.
This is Vernon Wells we're talking about.
Remember how bad Carl Crawford was last year? That .304 wOBA while playing curiously mediocre defense in left field?
That's what Vernon Wells was in 2007.
Yes, Wells has had brief rebounds in the intervening time. He was actually quite decent in 2008 and 2010, but bad again in 2009, and over the past two years? Simply tragic. A broken baseball player, Wells has an OPS+ of 83, and has largely lost his ability to field. He now rides the pine for the Angels, and while it was Mike Trout who ostensibly left him benched, the fact is that Darnell McDonald likely could have done the same if the Angels picked him up.
As for fitting better in Fenway, keep in mind that Wells is this bad in spite of his ability to hit home runs. The problem is he almost never puts the bat on the ball in convincing fashion.
"But," you say, "John Lackey is basically the pitching version of that." Yes, and no. It's hard to remember now, after his historically bad 2011, but in 2010 John Lackey was pretty...average. And if you chalk up 2011 to Lackey's injury, then it's not impossible he ends up average again.
There's almost no chance John Lackey ends up being worth his salary in 2013 or 2014. We'd be lucky if he was even worth half, frankly. But for as frustrating as he was in 2010, and as awful as he was in 2011, if he's healthy headed into 2013, with our expectations as low as they are, he might actually surprise.
Neither player should really be looked at as anything more than depth (though it's hard to see the Red Sox taking that approach, somehow...), and while they say you can never have too much pitching depth, you can probably fill up pretty quickly on outfield depth that can't play the field.
So sorry, Mike DiGiovanna. This one is actually just crazy.