July 16, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Seattle Mariners left fielder Casper Wells (33) connects for a three run home run in the first inning of the game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Wells was in spring camp with the Seattle Mariners — who had acquired him from the Tigers as part of the Doug Fister trade — but the M’s didn’t have room for him on the roster after Jason Bay was brought in to take an outfield spot. Seattle designated him for assignment at the end of camp. The Mariners appeared to be trying hard to trade him, but he was ultimately placed on waivers and claimed by the Toronto Blue Jays.
Toronto was awarded the claim on April 10 — during their series with the Tigers, much to the chagrin of some Tigers fans that wanted to see Casper return to Detroit — but was designated for assignment again five days later to make room for another infielder spot after Jose Reyes went down with an injury. Wells didn’t appear in a game with Toronto.
Oakland traded cash to Toronto for the rights for Wells before the Blue Jays had to put him on waivers. Wells appeared in three games with Oakland, going 0-5 with one strikeout, but was removed from the roster to make room for Yoenis Cespedes, who is returning from injury. The A’s have ten days to trade him or waive him.
I don’t know that the Tigers should trade much of anything of value for Wells, but they should definitely put in a waiver claim for him if the process goes that far. I thought Wells would have been a good candidate to fill the right-handed hitting platoon outfielder role this offseason, but Matt Tuiasosopo has filled that position nicely so far this year. So the Tigers no longer need a right-handed hitting outfielder, but Wells would represent an upgrade if he was added to the team to replace Don Kelly.
If we get past the whole lefty/righty thing, it’s easy to see that Wells would be a better fit for the Tigers. Even though Wells bats right handed, he has still hit better versus right-handed pitching (.673 career OPS) than the left-handed Don Kelly has (.644 career OPS). The only reason the platoon advantage question should come up here is because Wells can actually take advantage of it (.827 career OPS versus LHP).
Kelly’s only real advantage over Wells would be his ability to play the infield (specifically third base), but Ramon Santiago and Matt Tuiasosopo could also both handle duties there in a pinch if they were needed. Really, there’s no reason whatsoever for Don Kelly to be on the team.
Casper Wells wouldn’t make any sort of massive impact here, but he would upgrade the roster, if only by the removal of Kelly as one of Jim Leyland‘s options.