Ever since the Yankees signed Carlos Beltran, they have had a logjam in their 2014 outfield. Currently, Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Alfonso Soriano, Ichiro Suzuki, and Vernon Wells all held 40-man roster spots. (So have Zoilo Almonte, Ramon Flores, and Slade Heathcott, but they obviously have options.) According to a certain very specific source, it looks like the Yankees may have solved the problem:
Well... uh... it seems like Wells is gone!
The Yankees have designated Vernon Wells for assignment, as they create roster spots on their 40-man.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) January 10, 2014
Okay yeah he's gone. This was the most likely result of the logjam, as Wells was the worst performer out of all the options and cutting him did not cost the Yankees anything in 2014 since the Angels were paying his salary already. Although they owe him $2.4 million, they take no luxury tax hit for Wells. Wells is a shadow of the All-Star who graced the Blue Jays' outfield years ago and his bat was worse than ever in 2013; he hit a mere .233/.282/.349 with 11 homers, a 72 OPS+, and -0.2 rWAR for the Yankees after they dealt for him in a desperation trade at the end of Spring Training. He got off to a hot start by hitting .300/.366/.544 in April with six homers, but he quickly faded and hit just .216/.258/.296 with five homers the rest of the way. He homered just once after May 15th, and that was a Yankee Stadium special.
As nice a guy as he seems, Wells just isn't a helpful player at all anymore and the Yankees needed 40-man roster space. (With this release, the Yankees will reportedly make the Matt Thornton deal official.) Wells might be at the end of his career at this point, but who knows? Maybe some team will pick him up and he'll have another brief resurgence. Regardless, he's not the Yankees' problem anymore.