Vernon Wells delivered Hall of Fame frankness about his career's highs and lows
When Vernon Wells was at his peak with the mid-2000s Blue Jays, there were very few players in baseball who could match his all-around skill set. This was a former No. 5 overall MLB Draft pick who had the power to take even the legendary Mariano Rivera deep ...
... just as easily as he could rob homers from Alex Rodriguez.
His later decline with the Angels and Yankees does not diminish the thrill of watching an All-Star talent on display in Toronto for the better part of a decade.
While some players might quietly hang their heads in shame about the lackluster manner in which their careers ended, Wells does not. He's active on Twitter and is always quick with a quip about the less glamorous parts of his superb career. That willingness to be honest with himself and with fans makes him worthy of a Hall of Fame spot. Be honest, you're thinking it too.
As Wells recently reminded us, he was as impressed as anyone that then-Angels GM Jerry Dipoto was able to send him and his bulky contract to the Yankees in March 2013:
Although, mine was real. Jerry was honest and straight forward with me and apparently Houdini...- Vernon Wells (@VernonWells10) December 4, 2018
Wells' Yankees tenure was particularly strange. Yankees fans have notoriously high expectations, and they did not hesitate to voice their displeasure to the slumping Wells. He heard them, loud and clear:
This brings me back... https://t.co/IX6bHWVxxm- Vernon Wells (@VernonWells10) October 9, 2018
At least Wells could laugh about it in hindsight.
Toward the end of his career, he also had to face an up-and-coming young lefty who was already dominating the Majors: Clayton Kershaw. When reminded of him, Wells could only shudder in recollection:
You call it iconic...I called it.."Please don't punch me out!" https://t.co/OW106vvRww- Vernon Wells (@VernonWells10) June 24, 2018
That's Hall of Fame level candor, but Wells shouldn't beat himself up too much! He fared better than most against Kershaw, taking him deep twice.
To be fair to Kershaw, he did strike Wells out four times in seven plate appearances that year. Maybe those whiffs were on this baseball fan's mind when he tweeted at Wells about his supposed strikeout tendencies.
Wells clapped back with a delightful self-deprecating response:
False! Ground out to SS...maybe but strikeout...wrong. 😬 https://t.co/qkJ1Vln2Aw- Vernon Wells (@VernonWells10) October 14, 2016
To Wells' credit, the numbers back him up here! His 13.3 career strikeout percentage ranks plenty below even the league-average rate of 17.5 percent during his MLB tenure from 1999-2013.
Wells' Twitter commentary isn't solely limited to reflecting on his career, though. He also has some thoughts on today's game, most notably when he ran a poll about alternatives to player suspensions.
In lieu of suspensions, MLB should implement in game punishments. You choose..- Vernon Wells (@VernonWells10) August 25, 2017
"Dodge(base)ball" won out. Imagine how that would go.
Until MLB hires Wells as a consultant, he'll have to settle for continuing to roast his own career via Twitter ... while also not-so-subtly promoting himself as a mystery candidate for managerial openings.
That must of been that Philadelphia number I missed today. Need to set up my voicemail https://t.co/BlYuhIsdrr- Vernon Wells (@VernonWells10) October 26, 2017
Never change, Vern. Never change.