Jays' Wells Signs $11.5M Extension
Jun. 20, 1999
TORONTO (AP) _ David Wells, the subject of trade rumors since Toronto acquired him from the New York Yankees at the start of spring training, agreed Sunday to an $11.5 million, one-year contract extension with the Blue Jays.
If an option for 2002 is exercised and Wells earns his performance bonuses, the new contract would be worth $20 million over two seasons.
`I think right now he's the anchor of our rotation. If we're serious about being competitive, we're going to have to him pitch as well as he's capable of pitching,'' Blue Jays general manager Gord Ash said.
Cleveland general manager John Hart has called Toronto several times to inquire about Wells.
``I take the approach that you always have to listen,'' Ash said. ``We've been doing a lot of listening ever since spring training about a number of our pitchers.''
Asked if the extension makes Wells' better trade bait, Ash responded: ``That's certainly not the purpose of it.''
Wells pitched a four-hitter Sunday, striking out seven and walking none in a 2-1 win over Kansas City, his first complete game of the season. He lowered his ERA to 4.94.
Wells and the Yankees agreed in December 1997 to a $13.5 million, three-year contract, a deal that pays him $4.5 million this season.
Toronto decided Sunday to exercise a $4.5 million option for next year that carried a $1.5 million buyout. The new extension calls for a $2 million signing bonus, $8.25 million in 2001 and a $9 million option for 2002 with a $1.25 million buyout.
In addition, Wells can earn $750,000 in performance bonuses in 2001: $250,000 each for 180, 200 and 220 innings.