January 21, 2011

The Los Angeles Angels, frustrated by their failure to land Carl Crawford or Adrian Beltre, are close to completing a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays for Vernon Wells, according to sources.

Catcher Mike Napoli is expected to be going to Toronto in the deal. FoxSports.com, which first reported the trade, suggested outfielder Juan Rivera would also be shipped to Toronto.

Wells signed a seven-year, $126 million extension prior to the 2007 season and has been roundly criticized for not living up to the contract. Wells, however, bounced back with a decent season last year, batting .273 with 31 home runs and 88 RBIs. There is $86 million and four years remaining on the deal. Wells has a no-trade clause but reportedly will waive it to join the Angels.

The Angels are believed to have offered Beltre a five-year, $75 million deal. It is thought they suggested about $108 million and six years to Crawford and may have increased the offer into the $120 million range before he went to the Boston Red Sox for $142 million over seven years. Beltre signed a six-year, $96 million deal with the Texas Rangers.

The Angels have desperately sought offense to go with their fine pitching staff this winter.

Wells was shopped to other teams earlier this offseason, and they all wanted Toronto to pick up part o his contract. It isn't known how much the Blue Jays are paying in this deal, but the Napoli and Rivera contracts would offset it to some extent.

Napoli is seeking $6.1 million in arbitration, while the Angels submitted a figure of $5.3 million. Rivera will make $5.25 million this season, the final year of a three-year contract. Both players have been on the trading block this winter.

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