http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2696708

The Blue Jays apparently are serious about keeping budding superstar Vernon Wells in the fold.

Wells, who can become a free agent after next season, was offered a seven-year, $126 million extension by Toronto. No deal has been agreed to, however.

Wells, who will make $5.6 million next season, confirmed the offer in an interview with The Globe and Mail, but wouldn't confirm the amount.

"It's somewhere in there," Wells told the Globe on Tuesday. "But to be honest, other than that, I don't feel under any obligation to make any more comments about it."

General manager J.P. Ricciardi also confirmed to the newspaper that a contract had been offered.

Ricciardi told ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick on Monday that the team was leaning toward keeping Wells, even if it can't reach agreement on an extension.

Wells, a two-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove Award winner, hit .303 with 32 homers and 106 RBI last season. Even though next winter's free agent crop is exceedingly deep (Andruw Jones, Torii Hunter, Mike Cameron, Mark Kotsay and Aaron Rowand will also be on the market), Wells looks like a strong candidate to receive a nine-figure deal.


Ricciardi recently told USA Today that the Blue Jays will have to "explore" the possibility of trading Wells if they can't sign him to a long-term contract. He told the newspaper that he should have a better idea where things stand with Wells in early January.

"We're going to exhaust every possible way to sign the player," Ricciardi said Monday. "Ownership has been great to us, and if it gets to a point where we can't sign him, then we can't sign him. That's the reality of it. It's not that we don't want to."

When asked to give odds on the likelihood of Wells wearing a Toronto uniform in 2007, Ricciardi declined to make a prediction.

"I don't want to predict numbers," he said. "If you've been to the race track with me, you'd know I'm not too good."