12.15.06

Rosenthal : Wells Staying In Toronto

Posted in Baseball at 2:05 am by

Why do I have a funny feeling that when and if Allen Iverson’s new team is revealed, it’ll be Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal with the scoop?

In one of the bigger upsets of the off-season, the Blue Jays are on the verge of signing center fielder Vernon Wells to a seven-year, $126 million contract extension.

An agreement between the Jays and Wells is close, according to major-league sources. The deal is expected to include full no-trade protection and an opt-out clause.

“Close” is not “final,” as the Jays learned in their negotiations with free-agent catcher Rod Barajas, who backed out of a proposed two-year, $5.25 million contract.

However, the Jays engaged in lengthy negotiations with Wells’ representatives on Thursday, sources said, leaving the sides on the brink of an agreement.

The Wells contract would be the largest in Jays’ history, a testament to ownership’s commitment to remaining competitive in the powerful American League East.

The deal also would reflect positively on Wells, who could have commanded a much bigger payout “ perhaps as big as 10 years, $200 million “ as a free agent next winter.

Not to echo Buddy Bell too closely, but Blue Jays ownership has provided J.P. Ricciardi with some kind of bankroll the past two seasons. It only stands to reason that at some point, perhaps say, next fall, they’ll expect a return on the investment.  For all the talk there’s been of Tampa Bay wanting out of the AL East, how soon before Toronto petitions for a move to the National League?

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