Jason, disagree. If you look at Wells' contract as $70 million over 4 years, it MOST DEFINITELY is more tolerable … more tolerable, that is, than the ACTUAL contract, which is more like $89 million over 4 years.
It's possible that the Angels got cash back from the Jays, though that's been denied elsewhere. It's possible that Moreno was deducting the cash he owed the guys he traded to get Wells (Rivera, Napoli), which is fine for Rivera since Wells is essentially replacing Rivera, but Napoli is a valuable player and Moreno is going to have to pay someone else to be his backup catcher.
I see what you did there, Larry. More tolerable from the original.
Not better than using that money to sign Crawford, though. I refuse to concede that one.
Wow. Moreno is being intellectually dishonest not only with himself, but everyone else. He has taken a "take it or leave it" attitude when it comes to free agent contract negotiations, and it's burned the Angels as a result. Any time the media criticizes him or the Angels organization, he goes out, does interviews, and spews his ridiculously flawed logic to the world.
As for Larry's comment, he's right 4/$70M is much more palatable than the full $86M. $11M comes from the combined salaries of Napoli and Rivera, and the remaining $5M was kicked in by the Blue Jays (as reported by Jon Heyman the day of the trade, and later confirmed a few days later by Morosi, I think). Still, the trade was an abomination of mass proportions. It baffles me that the Blue Jays only agreed to kick in $5M. Do you really think the Jays would've balked if the Angels requested they kick in as much as $20-25M? (That's a rhetorical question.) I don't. They probably would've said, "Well, ok. If that's what you really want, then I guess we'll oblige"–and then they would've done a happy dance throughout the office. The Jays were desperate to get out from under that contract, and they were probably shocked to find a sucker willing to do it.
As for the Wells/Crawford debate, Moreno is out of his mind. Would you rather spend $17.5M (using Moreno's adjusted numbers) per season for a 2-win player, or $20M per on a 4-5 win player? Then throw in that the two win player is 32 and the 4-5 win player is 29. To anyone using logic (read: not Arte Moreno in this case), it's a no brainer. You said it very well Jason when you said, "Just because the term is shorter does not make the deal better or mitigate the mistake." Very true. Plus, Crawford and Wells will be nearly the same age at the end of both of their deals. Based on the WAR performance trends, and the skill sets of both players, Crawford projects to be a better player than Wells at 35/36.