After a disappointing end to the 2012 season, the Los Angeles Angels are having an offseason that would turn the head of even late great general manager George Steinbrenner. Moves to bring in starting pitchers – Tommy Hanson, Joe Blanton – and reliever Sean Burnett, combined with a one-year deal worth $3.5M to impressive closer Ryan Madson all make the Angels a better squad. Not to mention a ho-hum 5-year deal worth an MLB–record $125M contract to a 2012 MVP candidate in Josh Hamilton.
On Wednesday, the Angels decided to go the trade route to enhance their chances at a second World Series title in twelve seasons. The Angels sent 1B Kendry Morales north to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for starting pitcher Jason Vargas. Both of these players are free agents going into 2013 so the “contract year’ is definitely an incentive for both. Now, Vargas was one of the few bright spots for a struggling Mariners team in 2012, putting together 14 wins with a 3.85 ERA, which in a division like the AL West is nothing to be ashamed of. I look for Vargas to be a mainstay in a rotation that stacks up quite well to any American League offense. The seven-year veteran has pitched in 200+ innings for the past two seasons and will benefit from a stout Angels line up and defense behind him.
On the Morales side the Mariners should receive plenty of credit for getting creative and finding a way to bring some consistent offense to Safeco Field in 2013. Morales’s .292 average, .346 on base percentage, 11 doubles, 7 home Runs and 23 Runs Batted In while at Safeco definitely played a part in the Mariners decision. Hopefully that production will transfer over to 81 home games.
Bottom line, the Angels have had another spectacular offseason, but the on-field success is what matters. Did the Angels make the right move parting ways with Morales and bringing in Vargas?
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