After Rangers catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli collected two more hits to raise his average to .312, it brought me back to what turned out to be a relatively lopsided three-way trade.
The original purpose of the deal was for Toronto to get rid of Vernon Wells‘ contract, sending him to the Angels for Napoli and Juan Rivera, who was later designated for assignment and shipped to the Dodgers. With J.P. Arencibia seen as their future at catcher, the Blue Jays sent Napoli to the Rangers for Frank Francisco, who turned out to be the Jays’ closer for a decent stretch this season.
I thought it would be a good idea to revisit the players in this trade, which was really two separate deals, with a nifty comparison graphic.
PA Slash Line HR RBI R WAR Mike Napoli, Rangers 392 .312/.411/.613 26 67 67 5.0 Vernon Wells, Angels 478 .218/.251/.399 21 56 56 -0.3 Juan Rivera, TOR/LAD 473 .260/.321/.381 9 62 40 0.7
Innings Record/ERA/SV WHIP K/9 WAR Frank Francisco, Blue Jays 47.2 1-4, 3.78, 15 1.36 9.44 0.7
Despite Wells having $86 million left on his contract at the time of the trade and Anaheim being left to start a light-hitting, defensive-minded catcher in Jeff Mathis, the Angels decided it would be best to acquire Wells and deal the power-hitting Napoli, coming off a 26-home run season, to the Blue Jays. Having led baseball in team home runs the season before, it was understandable that Toronto would trade Napoli to Texas for some relief help.
But the clear, obvious winners in the trade were the Rangers. Napoli has given them yet another power-hitting addition to their scary-potent offense, while Wells has proven that he will be a past-his-prime toxic contract for the Angels for years to come. Who would have thought that trading Napoli to Toronto would have drastically changed the landscape of the AL West race?