Keith Law reports on his ESPN blog that Wells has told JP Ricciardi flat out he won't return to Toronto after his contract expires after 2007.
I can't access the full article (insider), but the part that's publicly posted follows: link
Let the Vernon Wells watch begin posted: Friday, August 18,
Vernon Wells has told Blue Jays' management that he has no intention of signing a contract extension to stay in Toronto; he and his family would like to move closer to his home in Texas, and he has become increasingly disenchanted in Toronto as he has faced public criticism from general manager J.P. Ricciardi. It hasn't helped matters that the Blue Jays' clubhouse has become one of the least diverse in baseball, with Wells currently the only African-American player on Toronto's 25-man roster.
Wells has one year remaining on the five-year deal he signed in spring training of 2003 and will earn just $5.6 million in 2006, after which he'll be eligible for free agency entering his age-29 season.
Sources around baseball indicate the Blue Jays will explore trading Wells this winter rather than allow a repeat of the Carlos Delgado situation in 2004, when the team was unable to trade the impending free agent due to Delgado's blanket no-trade clause and thus ended up with nothing after Delgado left. While the Blue Jays could play out 2007 and take two draft picks for Wells, they're looking at Wells as the one chip they might be able to play into some help for their beleaguered rotation.
This is the big news on local talk radio tonight. Law used to work as a special advisor with the Jays, so this is presumed to have some credence. In a way this is really not news at all, since a lot of people have seen this coming for miles ever since Ricciardi called Wells out in public about a month ago in Kansas City.
Well hopefully they can get something good for a trade. I personally have believed there's no way Wells would return for a while now, so better to get something for him while they can in the off-season. Especially when there are so many holes in the pitching staff they need to fill.