Baseball America

Angels Deal Morales To Mariners For Vargas

The Deal
Two American League West rivals swapped arbitration-eligible veterans, each trading from surplus to address a team need. The Angels dealt first baseman/DH Kendrys Morales to the Mariners for lefthander Jason Vargas. Both players are 29 years old and have one more season of club control.
 
Angels Acquire
Jason Vargas, lhp

Age: 29. Remaining Commitment: Arbitration-eligible for 2013 ($4.85 million salary in 2012).

Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

Club (League) Year W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
Seattle (AL) 2012 14 11 3.85 33 33 0 217 201 94 93 35 55 141 1.18
3-Year Totals

33 36 3.96 96 96 0 611 593 285 269 75 168 388 1.25

Vargas trailed only Seattle ace Felix Hernandez (715) in total innings by Mariners pitchers over the course of the past three seasons, indicating his levels of durability and effectiveness. As any lefty would, Vargas derived an advantage from pitching half his games at Safeco Field, which suppresses righthanded power, an advantage indicated in his home/road splits since becoming a Mariners regular in 2010. In 49 home starts, he compiled the following ratios: 3.46 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 0.8 HR/9. In 47 road starts: 4.53 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and 1.4 HR/9. The Mariners brought the left-field fences in for 2013, so perhaps that advantage would have evaporated. Regardless, Angel Stadium also is a tough home run park, and Vargas now will pitch in front of a premier outfield defensive alignment of Mike Trout, Peter Bourjos and Josh Hamilton. He joins Tommy Hanson and Joe Blanton at the back of a remade Los Angeles rotation.

 
Mariners Acquire
Kendrys Morales, 1b/dh

Age: 29. Bats: B. Remaining Commitment: Arbitration-eligible for 2013 ($2.975 million salary in 2012).

Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

Club (League) Year AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OBP SLG
Los Angeles (AL) 2012 .273 134 484 61 132 26 1 22 73 31 116 0 .320 .467
3-Year Totals

.278 185 677 90 188 31 1 33 112 43 147 0 .327 .473

Morales hasn’t been the same hitter since he broke his ankle in a home-plate celebration 51 games into the 2011 season. He returned from a lost year in 2011 to hit 22 homers and record an adjusted-OPS of 121 this season, and while that may be a far cry from his peak level of production, he doesn’t have a high bar to clear with regard to the Mariners’ other first base/DH options. Seattle first basemen (mostly Justin Smoak with some Mike Carp mixed in) hit .228/.300/.369 this season, while the club’s DHes (mostly catchers Jesus Montero and John Jaso) hit .214/.287/.310. By trading Morales, the Angels create playing time for Mark Trumbo and Vernon Wells at DH.

 

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