Angels Clear Logjam, Land Jason Vargas

The acquisition of Josh Hamilton gave the Angels what they wanted, but it also left the Angels with a little problem: between Peter Bourjos, Mark Trumbo, and Kendrys Morales, they had too many good players for too few spots. This was, as they say, a nice problem to have, and the Angels also felt they had a need for another innings-eating starting pitcher. So in a move surprising only because it went down between two teams in the same division, the Angels and Mariners have exchanged Morales and Jason Vargas, straight up. With one move, the Angels solved two perceived problems.

The whole trade is simple. It’s easy to understand, like an example transaction in Trading 101. The Angels had too many bats and too few starting pitchers, so they traded a bat for a starting pitcher. The Mariners wanted a bat more than they wanted to keep one of their starting pitchers. Morales didn’t fit in one place and he does fit in the other. Morales has one year left until free agency, and he’s projected to make just under $5 million. Vargas has one year left until free agency, too, and he’s projected to make just over $7 million. There are no prospects, no cash considerations, no players to be named later. Few transactions are this uncomplicated.

For the Angels, the consequences are twofold. Bourjos is now entrenched in center, flanked by Hamilton and Mike Trout. Trumbo will assume the regular DH role, and Vernon Wells will look on longingly from the dugout. And Vargas will take the fifth rotation slot from Garrett Richards, who becomes presumably necessary depth. Don’t think of this as the Angels giving Richards the boot; think of this as the Angels demoting Richards from fifth starter to sixth starter. Almost every single season, a team will need to call upon a sixth starter, and Richards will pitch.

If you believe even a little bit in Bourjos, then you’re of the opinion that the Angels just made the right call, because Bourjos’ defense alone makes him an asset and his offense isn’t hopeless. He and Trumbo are also under team control for a while, whereas Morales is not. What we should focus on now is exactly who Jason Vargas is. Because he’s the new guy, and he’s going to play a lot, as the Angels gun for the playoffs.

Vargas was a regular in the Mariners’ rotation between 2009-2012, and he posted a 4.09 ERA. He’s a lefty with a changeup and the corresponding fly-ball rate. Two years in a row he’s surpassed 200 innings, which makes him more appealing from the Angels’ perspective. But Vargas has also been a fly-ball lefty in Safeco Field, and these Mariners splits are extreme. Following are Vargas’ home and road performances over the last four seasons:

ERA wOBA HR BABIP K%
Home 3.34 0.286 34 0.263 17%
Road 4.85 0.341 57 0.281 13%

You see something like that and immediately you think the player is doomed if you remove him from his environment. Against Vargas in Seattle, opponents have hit like Darwin Barney. Against Vargas on the road, opponents have hit like Jon Jay. It makes intuitive sense that Vargas would flourish in the old Safeco, and that’s what we observe, and this has to be of some concern.

But the good news is that the Angels play in a run-suppressing ballpark, too. It’s not quite like Safeco has been, but it’s pitcher-friendly, and what’s also pitcher-friendly is the prospect of allowing fly balls and having Trout and Bourjos in pursuit of them. Just as Vargas has benefited from his environment in the past, so it should go in the future, and he’ll give the Angels the innings they’ve been seeking. He should be unspectacular and effective enough.

With Vargas, the Angels can worry less about what’s been going on inside Tommy Hanson. They know they have a little depth now, and they can afford one guy not working out. Vargas is affordable and he’s gone in a year if not re-signed, but he also went to school in Long Beach and might stick around if he likes it, and if the Angels like it too. Vargas is leaving a good place for a good place, and a better team.

On the other end of this, the Mariners opened up a hole in the rotation to fill a hole in the lineup. The Mariners, as is, aren’t better than they were a day ago, but they might have more luck luring a pitcher than a hitter, and they’ve been looking for a hitter for weeks, if not months, if not years. Morales can play first base, and he’ll push Justin Smoak. Smoak also has an option, and Morales can also DH, and presumed DH Jesus Montero can also catch. Right now, there are four players for three spots, at least two of whom are good hitters, with the other two being developing prospects, but this is not a logjam like the Angels’ recent logjam.

Morales was a well above-average hitter in 2012, and he was even better before his injury. He’s one of the worst baserunners in the league, and he swings a lot while rarely walking, but his power is undeniable and the Mariners might now feel more free to pursue Michael Bourn, knowing they acquired a so-called big bat. It shouldn’t be ignored that the Mariners will save money in this deal, and were willing to guarantee Josh Hamilton $25 million a year last week. There’s financial flexibility there, and the Mariners will try to remain active. Morales doesn’t seem to make them better, but there are more pathways to get better from here.

The Angels got a thing they wanted for a thing they didn’t have a real use for. The Mariners got a thing they wanted for a thing they didn’t mind giving up. If neither player works out, they’ll become free agents next fall. The big winner here is Peter Bourjos, who’s going to start and who stands a chance of flourishing. And the only-slightly-less-big winner here is Jason Vargas, who’s going from a good situation to a good situation and a contending roster. The Angels still might not be the best team in the American League West, but they’re actively addressing all their problems.



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Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.


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RSBuletz
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RSBuletz
3 years 9 months ago

I’m hopeful with steady at-bats Bourjos will improve his OBP. With PB hitting in the nine spot, getting on base (and a threat to steal with his speed) will get Trout better pitches to hit. Bourjos and Trout circling the bases has the threat of creating its own micro-climate.

Sparky Anderson's Libido
Guest
Sparky Anderson's Libido
3 years 9 months ago

What about Nick Franklin for Rick Porcello?

The Tigers are suffering from a lack of a middle-infiend life-force.

philosofool
Member
Member
philosofool
3 years 9 months ago

Doesn’t seem like there’s much in this for the M’s though. Why would the M’s trade six years of an average short stop for two years of an average pitcher? The M’s front office doesn’t exactly have “Win Now” written over the door.

Sparky Anderson's Libido
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Sparky Anderson's Libido
3 years 9 months ago

Wrong conversation. I’m on magic mushrooms.

Lucille Bluth
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Lucille Bluth
3 years 9 months ago

You’re high!

Oscar Bluth
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Oscar Bluth
3 years 9 months ago

You’re drunk!

Stewie Griffin
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Stewie Griffin
3 years 9 months ago

You’re sexy.

chucknchino
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chucknchino
3 years 9 months ago

You’re going the wrong way!

algionfriddo
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algionfriddo
3 years 9 months ago

DON’T CRUSH THAT DWARF, HAND ME THE PLIERS!

Grebe
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Grebe
3 years 9 months ago

No prospects, no cash… this trade is right out of a 90s video game. Highlight Jason Vargas in left column, highlight Kendrys Morales in right column, hit A.

And now because you messed with the default lineups, the next time you play against the Angels as a computer opponent they’ll have Aybar DH-ing and for some reason Hank Conger is playing short and batting fifth.

Twain
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Twain
3 years 9 months ago

I don’t know how that comment could be so stupid and so funny at the same time!

Jason B
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Jason B
3 years 9 months ago

You must be new here. Welcome!

Yinka Double Dare
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Yinka Double Dare
3 years 9 months ago

The Angels would probably be a lot happier if PASTE randomly ended up in their lineup.

Ivan Grushenko
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Ivan Grushenko
3 years 9 months ago

How are the Angels not the best team in the AL West?

Preston
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Preston
3 years 9 months ago

Because the off-season isn’t over, and Tommy Hanson’s shoulder is mush.

Billy Beane
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Billy Beane
3 years 9 months ago

Have you heard of the reining AL West Champion: Oakland Athletics?

Twain
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Twain
3 years 9 months ago

I’ve heard the story, but I don’t think it’s real.

Jim Crane
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Jim Crane
3 years 9 months ago

Two Words:

Houston Astros

Forrest Gumption
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Forrest Gumption
3 years 9 months ago

Because Jered Weaver, CJ Wilson, Tommy Hanson, Jason Vargas, Joe Blanton & Garrett Richards are not even close to Jarrod Parker, Brett Anderson, Bartolo Colon, Tommy Milone, AJ Griffin, Travis Blackley & Dan Straily?

Subtract Weaver and the Angels rotation is a scrub parade, straight up. Joe Blanton in the AL? Tommy Hanson’s destroyed shoulder? CJ Wilson in free-fall? Jason Vargas being awful away from Safeco? Its laughable how bad those guys are going to be, the A’s are going to run away with this division and the Angels are going to lose a lot of 8-6 games. If only they spent their money on Greinke instead of Hamilton, then they’d be scary.

A’s fans gotta be loving this offseason, the Rangers failing at everything they do and the Angels spending all their money on the wrong guy.

GR
Guest
GR
3 years 9 months ago

Colon is a roids baby and the rest of those pitchers are youngins who will have a sophmore slump. Weaver is better than all of them. The Angels may have a bunch of #3 and #4 pitchers after that, but they still have a solid staff and a much better hitting team than the A’s.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
3 years 9 months ago

The A’s are going to run away with the division? You guys realize the Rangers didn’t turn into the Astros, they’re still two separate teams. The Rangers haven’t gone anywhere…

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
3 years 9 months ago

@GR Yes you are just repeating what I said “Subtract Weaver and its a scrub parade”. Yes Weaver rules but every single pitcher the A’s have is miles better than the rest of the Angels rotation. I’d take AJ Griffin over CJ Wilson in a heartbeat. You literally said sophmore slumps are mandatory, so what’s Trout gunna do next year? OPS around 700? Ok player. The A’s might have a couple of those, but not all 18 of them will. In fact you could even say Reddick had a sophmore slump last year, his batting average was a LOT lower than usual.

A’s can hit too, if you hadn’t noticed. You will see when they hit against Blanton, Hanson & Vargas. Cespedes, Reddick, Carter, Moss etc etc. Mashers. Angels rotation with the exception of Weaver = laughable.

@Bip Texas has lost 8 players from its wild card team and have signed no one. No Upton, Greinke, no one they were tabbed to get. The best move they made was getting rid of Mike Young, but they are a distant 3rd behind the A’s and Angels.

The A’s have 4 OF: Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Reddick, Chris Young & Coco Crisp. All are natural CF’s, all have been lauded for their defense. Everyone talks about the Angels OF defense but the A’s have 4 who kill Hamilton & Wells.

Oh yeah, the Angels have Vernon Wells subbing for the inevitable Hamilton injury. What a joke. How people can’t see the A’s as clear favorites next year is beyond me. Depth, talent at every position, the best manager in the game…eh, I’ll guess you will all just have to wait and see.

Mike
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Mike
3 years 9 months ago

I really don’t understand the hate parade on Josh Hamilton. He may not be as good as 25 mil a year, but he is still a very good player. I don’t see how you think Cespedes was lauded for his defense, and Reddick has played under 200 innings at CF in the show.

#3-4 starters are not scrubs by any means. Especially when they have Jared Weaver as the ace of the staff. The A’s probably have a better rotation, but because of their youth there is a much greater chance that they have poor seasons. Also, the increased workload last year puts Milone and Parker at a greater risk for injury this year. Not to mention that Anderson hasn’t had a full season since 09.

You may have a decent argument but come across as an unreasonable, angry A’s fanatic.

AngryAndruwInJapan
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AngryAndruwInJapan
3 years 9 months ago

I hate it when people say “subtract so and so and now their team is this and that!”. It doesn’t work like that. The Angels have Weaver. He will be used.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
3 years 9 months ago

@Mike Thanks for saying I made a decent argument. I was a little mad because it looked like GR was straight up trolling me with the “roids baby” and “every young A’s player is going to have a sophmore slump” comments. Neither of those things make sense.

Weaver, Trout, Trumbo, Hamilton & Pujols are stars, as are Frieri and Burnett. But the talent dropoff from those guys is big and is the reason why the Angels won’t top the stacked A’s. Hamilton isn’t going to play 162 games because he never has before and gets hurt on routine actions like sliding. Then Vernon Wells plays. That is key. When Crisp or Cespedes are out of the lineup, Chris Young and his lauded defense and power bat come in. Its all about depth, players are going to get hurt and its who you have replacing them that matters greatly. The A’s, with the exception of SS and C, have a stacked AAA team full of players ready to make their mark. Jemile Weeks and Grant Green are just sitting there, you know? If Sizemore or Donaldson stink, they will be right there to replace them. The Angels do not have that. Same with pitching. Blackley, Straily & Peacock are the 6-7-8 SPs and all very good. This is why Oakland is primed to take the AL West at this point in the offseason.

John Smith
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John Smith
3 years 9 months ago

Because no games have yet been played and all five teams sit tied at 0-0

Spit Ball
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Spit Ball
3 years 9 months ago

Houston really does not count.

Antonio bananas
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Antonio bananas
3 years 9 months ago

Greinke/Hunter replaced by Hanson/Hamilton for one. Pretty mediocre rotation after weaver. Great lineup in a pitcher’s park. Rangers likely make trades, Oakland is young so they should collectively get better. Lots of reasons. Don’t just look at what the angels added, look at what they lost. Holes and Hamilton are a year older and I doubt trout will be as agood as he was last year.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
3 years 9 months ago

Agreed, also the A’s depth is unchallenged by any AL team aside from Toronto.

Cidron
Member
Cidron
3 years 9 months ago

collectively better, perhaps, or collectively worse, also perhaps, or just inconsistent as they work thru the next season, also perhaps. Do remember that they came out of nowhere last year.. They could very easily go back there this year. (regarding the A’s)

Rippers
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Rippers
3 years 9 months ago

This trade is all Smoak and Mirrors.

jwb
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jwb
3 years 9 months ago

Stop Carping!

Cidron
Member
Cidron
3 years 9 months ago

I think this one will MANAGE to drive a WEDGE between you two.

RaoulDuke37
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RaoulDuke37
3 years 9 months ago

I hope the Mariners do some Logjammin’ on the Angels next year.

Jackie Treehorn
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Jackie Treehorn
3 years 9 months ago

Regrettably, it’s true, standards have fallen in adult entertainment.

Aaron
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Aaron
3 years 9 months ago

I will be stunned if Darwin Barney hits 34 home runs over any four year period.

Cidron
Member
Cidron
3 years 9 months ago

if you look closely, you will see a “-” between the 3 and the 4 making it 3-4

Mr. Obvious
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Mr. Obvious
3 years 9 months ago

If all it took was a JAG like Vargas to land Morales where were teams like the O’s and Rays? I know the Angels wanted an innings eater, but why not just pay someone like Marcum who’s actually good and collect a prospect for Morales from someone. Lannan was out there for a song, too. Maybe I’m too down on Vargas, but Morales seems to have legit upside, whereas Vargas has, at best, a chance not to suck.

Central Coast Halo
Guest
Central Coast Halo
3 years 9 months ago

One Lannan is with the Phillies now. And Two he’s terrible.

While this deal is not exciting it is reliable depth. I agree in the sense that I share your concern about Vargas away from Safeco. Wile the article notes – he will have Trout and Bourjos tracking balls in The outfield- last I checked they have to stop at 404 in center and 386 feet in the alleys. However he is left handed, eats up innings and is solid if not great. He also is affordable and reunited with his college teammate. I just hope the balls in play stay in the yard and he does not walk too many. If his ERA can stay around 4 and whip around 1.25 this is a good deal. Though not are spoiled oh my gosh I cannot believe it deals that we seem to get nowadays.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
3 years 9 months ago

217 IP
0.8 WAR

There’s nothing positive about this from an Angels perspective. The A’s rotation from 1-7 (including depth) is so much better its laughable.

Balthazar
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Balthazar
3 years 9 months ago

You’re too down on Vargas because that’s the obvious call.

Look, let’s parse what Vargas brings a bit finer. He’s an extreme flyball lefty with a mid-80s fastball, a quality change-up, and a bit of a cutter. He has a very good idea of _how_ to pitch, gets just enough Ks to survive, nibbles to get the hitter to (mis)hit his pitch, is good in critical ABs and game situations on the whole, and a competitor; yes all intangibles, but put them in the picture. Over the last _5_ years he has been very durable, his numbers have been extremely steady, with his K/9, BB/9, and and GB% have been essentially the same (except that his GB% may have ticked up last year due to using the cutter a bit more). Because his K rate is low, FIP doesn’t like him, which means WAR doesn’t like him. What has varied considerably from year to year has been his HR/9. When ‘a number’ of balls leave the park over a season, he’s been a 2.5 win pitcher; when ‘a lot’ leave the park, he’s been a fractional win pitcher. Now as multiple statheads have said here and elsewhere in recent years, the fluctuation in the number of balls a pitcher has leave the yard isn’t really something he controls beyond his basic skillset. Jason Vargas is just a likely to have a two and a half win season next year as one ‘one third as good.’ He’s the same pitcher either way.

Something else regarding Vargas is that the image on consistency just described masks where his danger points really lie. It’s not as if Vargas has been ‘bad on the road,’ he’s been bad in hitter’s parks on the road. Oh, occasionally, he’ll throw a shut down game when his location is on and he gets Ks, but he’s been lit up really bad at times. In fact Vargas’ ‘bad road numbers’ in 2012 are disproportionatley influenced by a couple of pyrotechnical apperances such as in summertime Phoenix where, frankly, he should never have been starting. Another downside to Vargas is that although he has been very durable in terms of taking the hill, he has worn down late in almost every season. He’s been very typically hit hard in September, or I think to put it more accurately after his innings get over 160 or so.

Vargas is not a ‘regularly mediocre pitcher; he is a pitcher hit hard in batters parks and late in the year quite good in other contexts the rest of the year. He is coming to a pitcher’s park which suits his skillset. He is coming to an outstanding outfield defense on paper which suits his pitching pattern. He is pitching in his walk year, and while it’s unproven at least that player’s raise their performance in their walk year some give that appearance, and Jason Vargas comes to compete. He shouldn’t be counted on as anything other than a grinder after 1 September. Vargas is much better than the back end of the Angel’s rotation options before his arrival. He’s arguably better than Blanton, and far more likely to get to 2.5 wins in 2013.

As for expending Kendry Morales to get him, how is that a problem? Pujols of course has 1B, and the Halos committed to Trumbo over Morales sometime ago, so there goes the DH. Morales has little trade value if he’s not playing, and is in his walk year too, so Kendry wouldn’t get squat back in a deal in mid 2013. The Angels patetntly weren’t going to keep Morales, a mistake in my view, but again that choice was made when Kendry couldn’t play in 2011, he’s done here. _This_ is the best return the Angels were going to get on Morales period, and fills the salient need for the Angels to start the season. Don’t forget, Vargas can be dealt again if the Angels find a match-up and a better piece.

The Angels turned somebody they couldn’t use for more than depth (though he was a lifesaver for them in that regard when Pujols went down), for someone whom then can use and much need out of the gate. Don’t let a desire for ‘the best’ confuse regarding the real utility Jason Vargas has for the Angels if used sensibly.

Ruki Motomiya
Member
Ruki Motomiya
3 years 9 months ago

Morales would(and should) have pushed out Bourjos. Hamilton/Trumbo/Trout outfield, Morales DH. Bourjos plays 4th outfielder for a year then can play outfielder when Morales walks or is traded mid-season.

You overrate Vargas. He’s never been worth 2.5 wins, though his 2.4 practically counts. His career ERA is 4.35 and his FIP is 4.48, below the average baseline of 4.00 by a good deal. In addition, you claim that he is good late in the year, but his best months of production for his career have been in May and his second worst in August (By FIP, Marc/Apr, August and July all fight within 0.10 of each other for second worst and September becomes best). This is ignoring the fact that he has assuredly benefitted from Safeco(Angels’ stadium is slightly worse than Safeco at holding runs). He also just posted his worst FIP since 2009. And even his better FIPs were around 4.00.

So I doubt Vargas will do that great next year.

Balthazar
Guest
Balthazar
3 years 9 months ago

So Ruki, you misread me. I specifically stated that Vargas performs _WORSE_ late in the year, and that that is a concern to whomever he pitches for.

There is a tendency to use stats like FIP as if they represent _constant rates of performance_. For some pitchers this is true, but for others not, and when not a single annualized number like 4.48 misleads. The larger point in Vargas’ performance is that he is a remarkably consistent pitcher with the one fluctuating factor being his HR/9; everything else remains the same. Vargas’s high FIP is largely driven by his homerun totals. The factors affecting his homerun rate are a) chance, b) pitching in hitters parks, anc c) pitching once his annual innings pitched gets up above 150-160.

For two thirds of his starts in a year, Vargas performs quite capably as a mid-rotation arm. Is his 2012 performance indicative of a worsening trend? Well he had a five homer game in Arizona where he shouldn’t have been pitching. Vargas had a career high in innings pitched, but was shelled or nearly in all his September starts when he should have been skipped in the rotation a good deal more. The ‘difference’ in Vargas’ performance for 2012 is that he was, unwisely, asked to perform _more_ often in contexts when his results were not likely to be good. His aggregate totals took the hit, but in most of his games elsewise he was neither better nor worse then the effective useful arm he is and has been.

There is a tendency for folks to use numbers to simply justify existing biases. In the case of Vargas, that’s both trite and sad. Jason Vargas is not what most would want under the Christmas tree. He’s low K, low GB, low velocity, high HR, rarely shuts a team down, hardly every goes 9, and is bad late in the year. “Replacement level pitcher!” go the screams. Well, no. Over 18-20 starts a year, mostly before mid-August, he reliably puts his team in a position to win: that is his very consistent record. If the Angels elect to give him the ball every five days after 1 September, or to pitch him routinely in Arizona, Colorado, the Chicagos, Kansas city, Houston, and Arlington (though he’s thrown some of his best games in Arlington), they can’t say they weren’t warned. Jason will take the ball and do his best, but he’s not put together to have good outcomes there. Otherwise, he’s a useful asset. When he gets beat it isn’t pretty and that makes him ‘look worse,’ but that’s a fraction of his starts and the rest of the time he helps you win. That’s not nothing, and nothing is what Morales would have brought back in a July 2013 deal.

Ruki Motomiya
Member
Ruki Motomiya
3 years 9 months ago

I’m sorry, I did misread you on the time in the year bit.

Balthazar
Guest
Balthazar
3 years 9 months ago

So Ruki, I skipped a word in the sentence you read, so misreading that particular statement was understandable.

I get they you don’t care for Vargas, and yes, there are downsides to him so that can be argued. And yes, Kendry’s absolute value is higher than what this deal brought back. But the way Dipoto has stocked the roster pushed Morales to the end of the bench and pushed his value down; that’s the reality. _This_ is likely the best deal that could be done for him, which is why it was done, together with the fact the Vargas is a Long Beach native and that has marketing value. And Vargas is better than replacement level and I hope he pitches well for his new team, he’s a good joe, and is like as a team mate.

Balthazar
Guest
Balthazar
3 years 9 months ago

As for the other side of this deal, I love this for the Mariners. First base for the Ms has been a wormhole into an enfolde, n-folded, sub-dimension of suckitude. The incumbent there has expended 1400 major league plate appearances to return exactly 0.0 WAR, and likely isn’t even that good. Smoak? Dud. I wouldn’t take a bet that he was going to make the 25 man on Opening Day even without this deal.

Morales is great for the Mariners. He has historically hit very well in that park, in no small part because he hits better from the left side and Safeco has always rewarded lefty power hitters. Morales ISOs have been consistently good. Take a look at what it is costing in terms of $$$/talent to acquire ISOs like that of Kendry Morales these days. A great deal more than Jason Vargas, to put it bluntly. Morales doesn’t come to work to walk; well, he’d be better if he did, but he is what he is. Someone around here’s been calling Trumbo ‘a great emerging talent’ for showing up with exactly the skillset and production which Morales has demonstrated consistently over his career. Oh btw, Morales is a fine defensive 1B while Trumbo is only a butcher when he stabs at the ball rather than chasing it the rest of the time since his range is zero. Yes, Kendry as a baserunner hurts the eyes at best, but if you hit it over the wall you can trot slow. As a cherry on the thing, Kendry is a switchhitter, and holds his own from the right side.

After most of two years without facing major league pitching, Morales swung and missed more than his usual in early 2013, exacerbated by not playing regularly; later in the season he got that fixed, perhaps not coincidentally playing regularly _and carrying the Angels while doing so_ in she shadow of the Trout that Flew. Let’s not call Morales as good as his last two months or as shaky as his first two for 2013, but rather a fair to good bet to simply produce at his established rate going forward. And Morales’ established rate is as good as anyone not named “Blue Eyed Trubble Childe” on the market this year. Morales is in his walk year trying to reestablish high-ceiling value too, so that’s for mint sprinkles on this.

At the least, the Mariners acquired a regular performer for a vacant position. At best, Morales simply produces at established levels, making this a specing fucktacular acquisition. Morales could, seriously, have the best 2013 of anybody changing teams this year; not saying he will, but one has to like the potential, and for $5 and no draft picks given up it’s sweet. The Ms weren’t going to keep Vargas after 2013, and swapped him for a high return flyer at a position of need. What’s not to like? A hole in the rotation? Is that a 2.5 or a .8 sized hole to fill? A bunch of fill material of that size is on the market, but I expect the slot to be filled either by an non-roster invitee or a rookie. The Ms have shown before that they’re willing to fill a rotation place by either means out of spring training. It seems far more likely to me that Jack Z isn’t down trading, and will shift some more pieces for another bat, and an expensive one.

Giving up Vargas just moves up the schedule on his departure and the arrival of alteratives which the team can and will build around. And getting Morales may be Jack’s best deal yet (if keeping him should it go well being no sure or easy thing). I totally like this trade all the way around.

Balthazar
Guest
Balthazar
3 years 9 months ago

Oh and as a final note, some voices not calling Vargas’ departure the opening of a hole in the Ms rotation were also calling for Vargas to be non-tendered in October because too expensive. Yes, those two positions aren’t exactly antithetical, but they don’t add up to a voice of credibility when spoken in close sequence either. I mean, which side of the mouth are we evaluating Jason Vargas out of this month; just tell me so I can follow the tout . . . .

Balthazar
Guest
Balthazar
3 years 9 months ago

” . . . now calling . . .”

Indiana Bob
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Indiana Bob
3 years 9 months ago

Seems a shame to not have Trout playing center. I think it would have been better to trade Bourjos for a better pitcher and let Trumbo play LF where he was almost average last year per UZR/150 (-.4).

Chris
Guest
Chris
3 years 9 months ago

I am almost certain that they will have:
LF – Hamilton
CF – Trout
RF – Bourjos
DH – Trumbo

It would reduce Trout’s value by moving him to right field. Although, I think chose Bourjos simply as a backup plan for Trout and because Morales cannot defend any position; same goes for Trumbo though. Plus Trumbo’s potential is higher than Morales’. Anyhow, that would be my opinion.

Matt
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Matt
3 years 9 months ago

But it reduces Bourjos’ value playing in RF as well, so what’s the difference? Atleast Trout has the bat to play corner OF, unlike Bourjos. But I don’t know watch enough of the Angels to know who the better defender is, if Bourjos is a better fielder than I see no logic in putting him in RF over Trout.

ettin
Guest
ettin
3 years 9 months ago

Bourjos is quite possibly the best fielding center fielder in baseball. Trout is good but Bourjos is elite in every sense of the word.

It will be Trout in LF (he doesn’t really have the arm for RF), Bourjos in CF, and Hamilton in RF. That will be a defensive arrangement that may not have an equal in the history of baseball. I wonder if we could look it up somehow? ;) (Author!)

P.S. Trumbo will probably DH and spell OF’s on occasion.

Antonio bananas
Guest
Antonio bananas
3 years 9 months ago

Prado/Bourn/Heyward was pretty sick last year. I’d start there.

Antonio bananas
Guest
Antonio bananas
3 years 9 months ago

Cordially,

Your friendly neighborhood (totally unbiased) Braves fan

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
3 years 9 months ago

Morales in 2.5 seasons put up the same WAR as Vargas did in 4.5 seasons, and Morales’s career was trending up when it was interrupted by his injury. With Seattle moving the fences in this year, this can’t be seen as anything but as massive victory for the M’s.

Vargas had a 0.8 WAR last year in 217 IP. That is straight garbage. He is not good at baseball, and the Angels just gave the Mariners a huge gift.

DJG
Guest
DJG
3 years 9 months ago

“Vargas had a 0.8 WAR last year in 217 IP. That is straight garbage.”

By fWAR, yes, by rWAR he was worth 2.8 WAR, which is decidedly not garbage, straight or otherwise. I think it’s safe to say that Vargas is a very context-dependent pitcher — he benefited greatly from Safeco’s dimensions and having guys like Ichiro and Gutz in the outfield — so fWAR might not be the best stat to judge him by.

As the author pointed out, the Angels have a decent pitcher’s park and an outstanding defensive outfield. Vargas could play well there, and if he doesn’t, well, Morales has never been anything more than an average first baseman and probably never will be.

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
3 years 9 months ago

If he can put up a 4.6 WAR over 200 games like he did in 09-10, that’s a very valuable piece, and one that will benefit from the new dimensions at Safeco. “Average first basemen” don’t have .306/.355/.569 slashlines over a full year. That’s very good, something Vargas has never been.

I can’t see this trade as anything but one-sided. Angels could have done better than Vargas for Morales.

DJG
Guest
DJG
3 years 9 months ago

“’Average first basemen’ don’t have .306/.355/.569 slashlines over a full year.”

They do. Out of 24 qualifying first basemen, Morales ranked 12th in WAR in the year your refer to (2009).

DJG
Guest
DJG
3 years 9 months ago

Correction above: there were actually 25 qualifying first baseman. And yes, I realize you have to be halfway decent to get enough PAs to qualify (unless you’re Aubrey Huff), so I’d like to qualify my above statement, “Morales has never been anything more than a very slightly above average starting first baseman.”

My larger point stands.

Brandon
Guest
Brandon
3 years 9 months ago

“He is not good at baseball”

His left arm is blessed by God. He possesses abilities that hundreds of thousands of boys across America wish they could have a fraction of. And he’s not good…

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
3 years 9 months ago

Ok fine then, he’s “not good at baseball at the MLB level”.

Better?

Brandon
Guest
Brandon
3 years 9 months ago

Thank you.

jim
Guest
jim
3 years 9 months ago

apparently some of us can’t figure out that distinction

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
3 years 9 months ago

This trade will make even more sense when it is revealed that the Angels are planning to have Hamilton DH, use Trumbo as a fifth infielder and just let Bourjos and Trout handle the outfield on their own.

Ruki Motomiya
Member
Ruki Motomiya
3 years 9 months ago

Terrible trade for the Angels. You get someone whose ceiling appears to be a replacement level leftie who greatly benefitted from a home park in exchange for giving up a strong switch hitter who could be traded for a lot more mid-season or to a contender. You put Hamilton in RF, Trout in CF, Trumbo in LF. Bourjos plays excellent backup and can be slotted in if the fragile Hamilton breaks. Kendrys plays DH. You could even put Bourjos in the field and move Trumbo to DH vs. Lefties since Trumbo has done better. This not only gives excellent depth but gives you a ton of strong hitters. If you need pitching, trade Morales mid-season or for something better.

Why not just get Edwin Jackson?

Ruki Motomiya
Member
Ruki Motomiya
3 years 9 months ago

Pitchers the Angels can probably get instead of doing this trade:

Carl Pavano
Edwin Jackson (You have to outbid the /Padres/)
Kyle Lohse
Colby Lewis
Maybe Shaun Marcum?
Joe Saunders

All viable options who provide similiar or better value than Vargas with marginally(Save for Marcum/Lohse) without losing Morales, who could then be traded for something(Perhaps something better than Vargas).

Cidron
Member
Cidron
3 years 9 months ago

1. If he “greatly benefited” from Safeco, then he will most assuredly benefit from Angels park too, as it also suppressed hitters.
2. Strong switch hitter…. who is coming off a major injury, cant run, really haven’t seen much from since the injury.
3. Putting Trumbo in LF doesn’t help as his defnse, along with Hamiltons would turn a strength into a weakness.

That’s just three issues with your main statement..
and, 4. Edwin Jackson isn’t an improvement over Vargas.. Just a bigger name.

Randy
Guest
Randy
3 years 9 months ago

It doesn’t reduce Trout’s value no matter where he plays, it’s just that Bourjos is such a crappy hitter that you can only justify putting him in the lineup if he is using his defensive ability in centerfield. Wells would make a decent 4th outfielder and he doesn’t have to play center because Trout would slide over.

I’m not sure if I’m happy or sad that this means the Tigers and Angels won’t hook up on a trade now, but oh well. As was stated, having a 6th starter is nice.

Randy
Guest
Randy
3 years 9 months ago

Also, Colby Lewis is NOT a Free Agent.

Ruki Motomiya
Member
Ruki Motomiya
3 years 9 months ago

My mistake. I thought he was for some reason.

Antonio bananas
Guest
Antonio bananas
3 years 9 months ago

Jason Verga, if he doesn’t play well.

RSBuletz
Guest
RSBuletz
3 years 9 months ago

Mariners flip Morales to the Rangers by next week for Olt, Andrus or Profar (Rangers choice), and a starting pitcher. Maybe the Mariners need to throw in Seager.

d_i
Member
Member
d_i
3 years 9 months ago

I know you can never have too much pitching, but it sure still seems like the M’s have a lot of options at the back end of the rotation. There’s time for injuries/spring training, but I’m curious how that plays out and how this affects the ETAs of Hultzen and Paxton (whom I drafted thinking a solid lefty in Safeco with that deep alley for righties would be golden – just to have the fences moved in on me).

from rotoworld depth chart – doesn’t even list Paxton.
2. Hisashi Iwakuma
3. Blake Beavan
4. Erasmo Ramirez
5. Danny Hultzen
6. D.J. Mitchell
7. Anthony Fernandez
8. Brandon Maurer

Jeff
Guest
Jeff
3 years 9 months ago

I love this move as an Angel fan. I like how Jerry D is aquiring a pitching staff with roots in SoCal. So far we have Weaver, CJ, Vargas, Hanson, Madson. These guys all grew up in SoCal cheering for the Angels. Thats an underrated element which will contribute to good clubhouse chemistry. Not to mention, now we keep Trumbo and Bourjos. Trumbo also growing up in Anaheim. I love having guys who WANT to play here. This team is loaded and the offense should be just enough to win 90-93 games. The bullpen should be much better than last year if Madson is healthy. Burnett, Scott Downs, Frieri, Jepson, Madson are pretty good. Im stoked! Defense is so underrated and now with Bourjos and Trout and Hamilton, our OF is better than any other team in baseball.

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
3 years 9 months ago

I admit this is picky, but I don’t quite agree with this trade as being as simple as trading a bat for an arm.
Each team’s goal in a trade should be to improve the team. The Mariners are better off if the difference between Morales and whoever would have played in his place is greater than the difference between whoever replaces Vargas and Vargas. The opposite for the Angels, of course. There are other considerations, even in this sample, involving multiple or partial replacements, reverberations in the rest of the roster, money, etc.
Strictly speaking, a team never “needs” any particular kind of player. Somebody is always available to play a position or a role. It is not like one team had a round hole and a square peg and the other team had the opposite so that they would have to play with only 8 men if they didn’t trade.
It’s a matter of improving or not. In this case, either or both of the teams may have improved, maybe not.

Erik
Guest
3 years 9 months ago

I like this trade for the M’s. Morales got better and better as the year went on. His ankle improved seemingly by the day. He went from a part time DH with a powerless bat to the every day first basemen and one of the best hitters on the team. His baserunning improved dramatically as well.

2013 will be his walk year, he should be healthy all year long too – he has something to prove, and a contract to ear. With the fences moved in, and him batting most often from the left side, he should have a really good season.

Jerry D seems focused on two things these days. One is keeping cost controlled players (Borjous & Trumbo) over higher priced players on shorter contracts (Morales, Hunter). This team would have been better in the short run with Morales and Hunter potentially but I think Depoto is trying to keep a good base of young and cheap players.

Second is his love of crappy pitchers with the right skill sets. Blanton and Vargas are not good at all, but if they are going to be effective in anyway its going to be on this team. My only fear is that he is spending too much on these guys – it makes sense if you can get them on the cheap but I have not seen that.

JMAC
Guest
JMAC
3 years 9 months ago

I don’t understand why people choose to look at overall stats instead of looking a little deeper. Vargas allowed 3 runs or less in 23 of his 33 starts and 4 runs or less in 28 of 33. He got lit up in 5 starts which skewed his overall numbers quite a bit.
With the Angels offense, they stand to win quite a few of those 28 starts where Vargas allowed 4 or fewer runs.

Morales was a luxury once Hamilton was signed. There is upside for both these players. I t will all come down to how they actually perform this year. IMO, Morales will have a tougher time adjusting to living in Seattle than Vargas will adjusting to his home area. Time will tell.

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