It's almost as though Vernon Wells and his old running partner Shannon Stewart traded hammies at some point in their abbreviated reunion last year. Just a few wind sprints into Spring Training 2009, and already Vernon pulls up lame with a leg injury that is supposed to keep him out for four weeks. This morning, Wells spoke to the Twitter Twins - Blair and Bastian - who report via tweet that four weeks is the "max" and a "worst case scenario".
We think we may have heard that song and hobbling dance from Wells before. (How sad is it that we can vividly picture the facial expressions that Wells made when he pulled up?)
When and if Vernon Wells is healthy, he's still the Jays best offensive player by a fair margin. Last year, he produced at a 30 homer and 100 RsBI pace when he was in the lineup, although he spent the better part of two months on the shelf with a variety of ailments.
In Wells' time in the infirmary, Alex Rios acquitted himself very well as the Jays everyday centerfielder, showing the range, instincts, arm and speed necessary to play the position. We don't know nuthin' 'bout no defensive metrics in baseball - it all just looks like a jumble of numbers and acronyms to us, but from what we hear, Rios' performance in center was quantifiably better than Vernon's, in spite of the latter's Gold Glove bona fides.
So our question (as the title of this post vaguely suggests) is: Isn't it about time that Vernon and Lexi allemand left and allemand right and dos-si-do and trade spots in the outfield?
Obviously, playing center is a point of pride for a player, and Vernon would be unlikely to just cede the position without some amount of consternation. And if you recall, Wells pretty much had to pry the spot out of José Cruz Jr.'s talons when he first got to the major league level.
At the same time, the move to the right corner of the outfield would save Wells' gimpy legs a certain amount of strain and pounding over the run of the year, which may help him stay healthy and fresh, thus improving his offensive output.
We'd be surprised to see Cito upset the applecart to make such a move. Then again, looking into the future of the franchise, we don't see how Vernon can keep his spot up the middle for the duration of his contract unless he demonstrates that he can keep his legs in proper working order.