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Vernon Wells Leaves AL East, Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon Return

The New York Yankees did not make any moves on Friday. The moves made by a couple of Yankee rivals, though, should have gotten the attention of Yankee fans. Yankee-killer Vernon Wells is out of the American League East, while Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez are back in.

The Wells deal is a sort of good news, bad news one for the Yankees. He is out of the AL East, but the Toronto Blue Jays shipped him off to the Anaheim Angels, a long-time nemesis of the Yankees, for catcher Mike Napoli and former Yankee outfielder Juan Rivera.

Wells, 32, had his best season since 2006 last season. He hit 31 home runs and had a .515 slugging percentage. Somewhat surprisingly, at least to me, the folks at SB Nation’s Angels website, Halos Heaven, are beside themselves with anger over this deal.

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have just agreed to take on the majority of Vernon Wells’ seven-year, $126 million deal, signed in 2006, in exchange for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera.

This trade doesn’t even deserve the dignity of a formal analysis. The Angels voluntarily vacated about three or four wins next season while simultaneously boosting their payroll by nearly $10 million. Sure he had weaknesses, but Mike Napoli was the second-best offensive player on the 2010 Angels, and light-years better than Jeff Mathis. And even though Wells outperformed Juan Rivera last year, the two of them have been virtually identical hitters over the last four seasons.

Seems like the folks at SB Nation’s Blue Jays site, Bluebird Banter are not happy, either. They are calling the deal “another win later move.”

As for Ramirez and Damon they are now members of the Tampa Bay Rays. These are most definitely bold, win now signings for the Rays. Neither Ramirez, 38, nor Damon, 37, are long-term solutions in Tampa Bay. They will, undoubtedly, though help the Rays make up for the losses of Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena to free agency. Damon will play left field and Ramirez will DH.

Over at DRays Bay, SB Nation Rays website, they are ecstatic about the moves.

I’m still in shock. This feels like something out of a dream. This is probably the Rays’ biggest splash on the free agent market, and they managed to pull in two above-average players for less than Derrek Lee is making with the Orioles. This is the definition of a coup.

Seems like life just got a little more interesting in the AL East. Your thoughts, Yankee fans?