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Thursday Halolinks: Jason Vargas Makes The Angels Better, But They Will Still Miss Kendrys Morales

The Morales/Vargas deal makes sense for both teams.

Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Snow day! And Halolinks! Yipee!:

  • If you haven't heard, and I can't think of any reason why you haven't considering you are reading this blog, Angels trade 1B-DH Morales to Seattle for Vargas - FOX Sports, and that makes Jason Vargas happy, ''I'm back home in California now,'' Vargas said. ''It's perfect.'' What's also perfect is the trade. The Halos traded a surplus to fill a need: Angels Clear Logjam, Land Jason Vargas - FanGraphs Baseball. "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." One way to look at this deal is like this: the Angels get Vargas and Peter Bourjos for Morales and Garrett Richards (although Richards isn't really going anywhere except Salt Lake City). The club will lose a bit in power, but get a better pitcher on the hill every fifth day and improved outfield defense every day.
  • Angels trade Kendrys Morales to Mariners for Jason Vargas - "Vargas, a 29-year-old left-hander, was 14-11 with a 3.85 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 141 strikeouts in 217 1/3 innings pitched last season. He's actually a decently useful pitcher, though the Mariners could afford to spare him in adding offensive help." Not too shabby for a #3-4 pitcher.
  • If you're a stat-guy, how happy are you that Lyle is no longer covering the Angels? WAR: Angels have improved this offseason … - Gonzo and 'The Show'. "In my opinion, it was a very successful one for the Angels’ second-year GM. With a very similar payroll (about $160 million), and a ridiculously expensive free agent market, Dipoto was able to add yet another weapon to an already-dangerous lineup, greatly improve a thin bullpen and build more starting-pitching depth. (Here’s an updated depth chart.) Granted, the rotation is nowhere near as heralded as it was at the start of last season, but it is solid and a lot more payroll-efficient."
  • I like the moves Dipoto has made this offseason, but now we have to wait a couple months to see the team in any sort of on-field action: Angels make moves but rest of AL West may not be done - FOX Sports. "The Angels look like Offseason Division Champions, just like last winter, but that was only good for a divisional bronze. They have added three starters (Vargas, Joe Blanton, Tommy Hanson), two late-inning relievers (Ryan Madson, Sean Burnett) and one of the game’s best all-around players (Hamilton) in less than a month. They’re spring-training-ready with more than seven weeks to spare."
  • I kind of odd that this article and the following showed up on the same day: Do hitters 'step it up' when their ace is on the mound? - Beyond the Box Score. "I pulled all pitchers from 2008-2011 who pitched at least 150 IP and held their ERA to at least 25% below the league's (in other words, a 75 ERA-). I defined those pitchers as "aces." I then measured the team's offensive wOBA in regular season games when (one of) their ace(s) was on the mound compared to games when their ace was on the bench." The result was somewhat surprising.
  • So now what happens when Jered Weaver is on the mound and Josh Hamilton is in the line-up? Can Josh Hamilton hit the Best Pitchers? - Diamond Dollar$. "Hamilton hit .721 against top pitchers, while banging out an OPS of 1.154 against the weakest pitchers. He performed only 12% above the MLB average against top pitchers, but a bone-crushing 40% above league average against the weakest third of the rotation. This suggests that Hamilton, who was a .909 OPS guy over these three seasons, feasts on weak pitching, but is neutralized by top pitching."
  • I was kinda hoping we wouldn't have to hear about Mike Trout and money for at least another year: Figuring out Mike Trout's next big contract: $100M, $250M or $300M? - Yahoo! Sports. ""Gotta get nine figures," one player said. "He's dumb if he agrees for anything less than $100 mil," the other said. "If he's getting over $100 million on his first bite of the apple," one executive said, "he'd be crazy not to." So we've got seven years. We've got $100 million. "Too much money," an executive said. "Too many years," an agent said. In other words, perfect."
  • Isn't great when both parties are satisfied? What Are Mutual Options, Anyway? - FanGraphs Baseball. "A mutual option is an agreement by the club and the player that the player will stay with the club for the option year at the option price only if both sides agree. Is that really an agreement, then? Yes. A mutual option is a hedge against volatility in the market for that player in that particular option year."
  • Oh good God: Ranking the sexiest GMs in baseball 1-30 - Yahoo! Sports. "I dunno what's going on here. This guy can do better. He was a major-league ballplayer, for crying out loud."
  • How does this happen, out of baseball for almost 20 years and then get a big league job first time trying? D-Backs add Sax to staff, promote Ward to assistant hitting coach - "The Arizona Diamondbacks hired Steve Sax as their first base coach on Wednesday, putting the former All-Star in a big league uniform for the first time in nearly two decades"