Revisiting the Napoli-Wells three-way trade

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?

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Jim G.
11 years ago

The power from Napoli is no surprise, but the high average is shocking. Is this the real Napoli, or will he come back to earth next year? The rest of the characters are as expected.

11 years ago

If they would have kept Napoli and Rivera instead of trading for Wells, that would presumably be 6 wins added. (Presumably 5 less wins for Texas as well)