- Saturday, January 22, 2011 11:20 AM
- Written By: Andrew Simon
To switch musical gears and quote The Beatles, money can't buy you love.
But a lot of it can buy you a mediocre, past-his-prime outfielder with four years left on his albatross contract.
Unlike an attempt to purchase "love," however, swapping a lot of currency for the services of a vastly overpaid player is not illegal. Angels fans probably wish it were, though.
On Friday, the Halos traded two useful pieces -- Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli -- to the Blue Jays for Vernon Wells and the $86 million left on his contract. For Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos, it was a brilliant move to get out from the under the mistakes of his predecessor. For Angels GM Tony Reagins, it was a deal that reeked of desperation after his team failed to sign free agents like Carl Crawford and Adrian Beltre.
Whatever the Angels' reasoning for the trade, it was an example of the downside of having a big budget. We've seen this in the past with the Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs and other major market clubs that spent money because they could and with the discretion of a drunk.
The Yankees eventually figured out how to make it rain in a somewhat more sensible fashion and are the better for it. The Red Sox have become a power because they are as shrewd as they are rich.
A fool and his money are soon parted, but that's assuming said fool has money in the first place. If the Angels had the payroll of AL West rival Oakland, they wouldn't have acquired Wells because they couldn't have.
Minimal resources don't always engender creativity and brilliance -- just ask Pirates fans. But they can have that effect. We saw it with the A's when Billy Beane took over and we've been seeing it the past few years with the Rays. In fact, the same day the Angels saddled themselves with Wells, the Rays adroitly picked up Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon on one-year deals worth a combined $7.25 million.
Given the choice, I think any fans would prefer their team have as much money to spend as possible, and that's sensible. But fans also should hope their team's front office takes some other Beatles lyrics to heart.
Help, I need somebody,
Help, not just anybody ...
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