Reaction To Vargas – Morales Trade

Yesterday afternoon the Mariners made their first impact move of the off-season, trading starting pitcher Jason Vargas to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for slugger Kendrys Morales.

This is an interesting trade between division rivals, and it appears to be one of those trades that makes a lot of sense to both sides. Morales was expendable for the Angels, because they just signed Josh Hamilton and it created a backlog of hitters.

The Angles needed a starting pitcher, the Mariners have plenty of starting pitching prospects and needed a hitter, and here we are.

Both players are free agents after the 2013 season, so this deal is unlikely to have long-term ramifications.

I really like it from the Mariners side. They desperately needed a hitter who is a power threat in the lineup, and now they have one.

One side effect is that the arrival of Morales is going to put pressure on Justin Smoak to make the team. Smoak has one minor league option year left, and could end up in Tacoma if he does not have a productive spring training. With all apologies to Justin, if this happens, we’ll take him!

Reaction to the trade:

  • The Seattle Times has a news story on the trade from Geoff Baker, who also has a blog post on how the trade came into focus.
  • The esteemed Larry Stone calls the trade a “win-win.” He also notes that the Mariners are expected to save roughly $2.5 million on salary with this move.
  • The News Tribune has a news story on the trade from Ryan Divish, who provides much deeper analysis of the trade on this blog post. He also talks about the starting rotation, and who is available on the market to take the Vargas slot. I think he left out a key name on the list of in-house candidates: Charlie Furbush has a lot of starting experience and the M’s are deep in left-handed relievers to fill his bullpen spot.
  • Jack Z talked about the trade with Mitch on KJR this morning, here is a link to the interview.
  • The trade sent Dave Cameron into a writing frenzy over at USS Mariner. In this post he tries to figure out how the pieces fit together now (and also takes a tweet of mine way out of context as a joke), and here he writes that the trade probably leaves Mike Carp dangling in the wind.
  • At Lookout Landing, Jeff Sullivan posted his thoughts on the deal.
  • On an ESPN video interview, analyst Keith Law likes the deal and still thinks the Mariners are trying to add more offense.
  • Rob Neyer asks the question, what does Kendrys Morales do for the Mariners?
  • If you are a Baseball Prospectus subscriber, here is their analysis.
  • In the PCL, the Reno Aces announced their coaching staff. Brett Butler returns as manager, ex-Mariners starter Mike Parrott is back as pitching coach, and the new hitting coach is Greg Gross. Gross, parrott butler.
  • 2012 PCL Pitcher of the Year John Ely was traded by the Dodgers to the Astros yesterday, opening up an opportunity in the majors for him. Ely went 14-7 with a 3.20 ERA with 165 strikeouts last year, leading the league in all three categories for the “pitcher’s triple crown” – and he did that despite pitching on the moon in Albuquerque.
  • Anyone who buys the Rainiers 12 Days Of Tacoma Pack today gets entered to win a chance to throw out the first pitch at a 2013 Rainiers game. Info is here, you can buy it here or just call 253-752-7707.

Tomorrow Baseball Prospectus releases their Mariners Top Prospects list, and I’m told it will be different and interesting. Looking forward to that…

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