The last time I saw Vernon Wells was Saturday morning on the field, which was empty except for the patch in shallow right where he played catch with his son. Wells had his two boys, Jayce, 10, and Christian, 7, in the Angels spring training clubhouse at Tempe Diablo Stadium earlier that morning. He was laughing with them, tugging on the bills of their ballcaps and watching the younger one try to sit balanced atop a mountain of his cleats in his locker. He also was speaking optimistically about the upcoming season. His offseason training, his retooled swing and new approach at the plate were yielding the desired results that he hoped would follow him — finally after two disappointing seasons — to Anaheim. That was Saturday, the day before what now appears to be Wells' last day as an embattled Angel. On Sunday, Wells, 34, drove away from the ballpark, his bags packed and talks confirmed of a developing deal that would send him to the injury-plagued New York Yankees for his 15th major-league season. He told reporters that he already had said his goodbyes to players. Wells won't need to say goodbye to Angels fans or Anaheim. Wells never really arrived. Not the way he wanted. Certainly not in terms of the performance that was expected for a player who claimed a $51 million chunk of the Angels' payroll for the past two seasons. That turned out to be hazard pay since he had to put up with the deafening boos and the cruel hecklers calling him "Paycheck." And the jeering was from the home crowd, some of which celebrated his departure across social media and Internet article comment fields on Sunday night with posts of "good riddance" and "Wells = Waste." It got ugly and personal at times for Wells, whom we should remember not for the money pit that he was but for the class act that he is and has been. Truth is, if you got to meet Wells, talk to him and know him even a little, you'd realize that nobody was more disappointed in his past two seasons than Wells himself.
Well-respected Wells makes graceful exit
Orange County Register | Mar 25