Vernon Wells backs Michael Young

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Outfielder Vernon Wells, who reported to his first spring training camp with the Los Angeles Angels Friday, was sharply critical of the Texas Rangers' handling of a trade request by his friend Michael Young.

Young and Wells were drafted in 1997 by the Toronto Blue Jays and were minor league teammates for three years.

Like Young, Wells dealt with being a frequent target of trade rumors before the Angels acquired him for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera in January. Both players have hefty contracts that make them more difficult to move.

"I dealt with it in-house, which was the right way to do things. He's having to deal with it, unfortunately, publicly," Wells said. "It creates all kinds of problems. It's been handled poorly on their end, I'll say that."

Young requested a trade nearly two weeks ago and the request became public. According to Wells, the team should have kept any negotiations private.

"It started a couple years ago and it just gives me a greater respect for the way [Toronto general manager] Alex [Anthopolous] handled this trade. ... Even if it didn't happen, no one would have heard about it," Wells said.

According to recent reports, the Rangers continue to look for destinations to trade Young, who makes $16 million annually between now and 2013. Anaheim is on Young's list of destinations he wouldn't have to approve, but it appears unlikely the Angels would be willing to take on so much salary with a payroll that's pushing $140 million.

Angels third basemen had the lowest OPS in the majors last year, though.

"Put it this way: I would love to have him," Wells said.

Wells grew up in the Dallas-Forth Worth area, while Young is from Covina, Calif., about 20 miles from Angel Stadium.

"He somehow gets traded to my hometown and, years later, I get traded to his," Wells said. "We've always been close."

Mark Saxon covers the Angels for ESPNLosAngeles.com.