Mariners Insider

Mariners acquire Kendrys Morales for pitcher Jason Vargas

Post by Ryan Divish on Dec. 19, 2012 at 2:07 pm with 7 Comments »
December 19, 2012 3:14 pm
AP photo

The Seattle Mariners made another move to bolster the offense for the 2013 season. On Wednesday, the Mariners announced they’ve traded to left-hander Jason Vargas to the Angels in exchange for switch-hitting 1B/DH  Kendrys Morales.

“We have been focused on adding offense this off-season, and feel that Kendrys will be a middle-of-the-order bat for us. He’s a switch-hitter with power who has played, and hit, in the AL West,” GM Jack Zduriencik said in a press release. “He’s familiar with the teams and parks and is a proven run-producer. We hate to part with Jason, and really appreciate everything he’s done for us, but we are in a situation where we had to give up talent to acquire talent.”

After a career-best season in 2009 in which he recorded 43 doubles, 34 home runs, 108 RBI and finished 5th in the American League MVP voting, Morales was limited to 51 games in 2010 and missed the entire 2011 season. He suffered a fractured lower left leg following his walk-off grand slam May 29, 2010 vs. the Mariners. At the time of his season-ending surgery, Morales ranked among the American League leaders batting .290 with 11 home runs and 39 RBI.

“Kendrys gives us a veteran presence and a proven, middle-of-the-order bat, with power from both sides of the plate,” said Mariners manager Eric Wedge. “Adding him to our line-up immediately makes us a better offensive club.”

Both players are arbitration will be free agents after this season. Basically you are trading a left-handed starter that benefited from the old Safeco Field for a power hitting DH type who could benefit from the new Safeco Field. Morales is projected to earn about $3 million, while Vargas could make up to $7.5 million. So there is some savings.

For those asking about the at-bats for Jesus Montero and Justin Smoak and who plays where, Zduriencik said that in talks with manager Eric Wedge that they could find enough at-bats to go around.

Also it’s instructive to remember that Smoak has a triple A option year left, and that the Mariners are still not going to pigeon-hole Jesus Montero into a DH just yet. They want him to improve as a catcher and have had him in agility and quickness and conditioning camps all offseason

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  1. Palerydr says:

    Well it’s a move to provide a middle of the order power/RBI type of hitter. So where does this leave Smoak? As far as Vargas goes he was a decent pitcher/clubhouse guy who gave up too many homers. I would expect the Mariners to knock Vargas around a time or 2 this season. I actually like the salary savings. Quite a few hitters come up with career seasons in their contract year so maybe Morales will be one of those guys.

  2. tacomajoe says:

    Note to sportswriters and sports fans who haven’t thought this through – moving the fences in benefits the Mariners AND whoever they’re playing against, which is to say there are no benefits to tinkering with the fences at all.

    The only real benefits to tinkering with the fences are to ADHD fans who don’t care about baseball unless the Mariners win every game 15-13.

  3. BigSwingingRichard says:

    Smoak just got smoked.

  4. bbnate420 says:

    Smoak will still get his at bats if he comes to play in 2013. He’s clearly the superior player defensively at 1st. The question is who plays when Montero is at DH? I expect Montero to play at least 80 games or so at C. Smoak prob won’t get 600+ PAs, but he should get enough time to show if he’s improved. This is assuming he doesn’t stink it up in ST and is sent to AAA.

    Note to tacomajoe, most of us have thought about that and JUST DON”T AGREE with your hypothesis. It doesn’t seem that you’ve bothered to read any of the rationale behind moving the fences. OTHER teams don’t have to play 81 games a year at Safeco, so it doesn’t affect their approach long term like it does the M’s. A lot of other teams have a good deal of veteran hitters. The M’s DO NOT! Young hitters are more likely to be affected by it. And I highly doubt that Safeco will play like Coors now. It will hopefully just make it more of an average hitting ballpark. We will find out over the next few years.

  5. bbnate420 says:

    I like the trade. Morales is probably the best hitter on the team right now, unless Montero or Ackley take a major step forward and realize their potential in 2013. Vargas was gone after 2013. I can’t imagine getting much more for him with his perceived value in the league. Morales is at least a stop gap until they can get a good hitter either during the season or next off-season.

    I assume this means the M’s are going to sign a starter now?

  6. bbnate420 says:

    Marcum?

  7. Palerydr says:

    Agree with you Nate on how the park will play now. I don’t expect to see 15-13 games every night that’s just not gonna happen. What I hope will happen is the Mariners increase their runs scored from the 619 from last year to the mid 700’s next year. With the pitching we have that should equate to at least 90 wins maybe not good enough to win the division or WC but certainly making us competitive in every game we play.

    I might sign a guy like Kyle Lohse to a 3 year deal he’s 30-11 over the last 2 years, keeps the ball in the park and doesn’t walk guys like he used to.

    Marcum looks ok but only 21 starts last year? What kind of inj did he have?

    There’s also Edwin Jackson who you always think can be a good pitcher until he actually pitches.

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