Regardless of who the Jays add in any given off season, or who comes through the system, or whatever complementary parts they add to beef up their line up, no one will receive the day-to-day scrutiny that Vernon Wells does.
Nor should they.
The Globe's snappy Jeff Blair has a bit of a think piece on V-Dub this morning, calling on the centerfielder to step up and assume the role of the franchise's cornerstone by taking a leadership role in the team that is too easily handed off to players who drift in and out of the Jays' clubhouse (like new acquisition Scott Rolen). (The Drunks beg to differ, mostly.)
We don't want to engage in the pseudo-proletarian debate about how the size and legnth of Vernon's monster contract should dictate his performance. The truth is that it's not really about the money.
But the team has bent over backwards in recent years to make Wells the franchise's centerpiece, even when his performance hasn't dictated that he deserved that role. For instance, Wells has spent much of the last three years hitting third, even though he would probably serve the team better hitting lower in the lineup. Wells is more of a fastball hitter and a free swinger, attributes that would be better suited to a spot in the lineup where he could hit with runners on base.
For his career, Wells hits vastly better in the five and six hole (.877 and .894 OPS respectively) than he does in the three spot (.823).
If this team is going to go anhywhere, Vernon and his healthy labrum are going to have to produce, and management needs to have the courage to use him in a manner that best fits the team's needs.