Instant Analysis: Kendrys Morales Trade

So the Mariners have finally made a move. No, It isn’t to the level of Josh Hamilton or Justin Upton, but it is a move. And it improves this team, something you can’t necessarily say about the moves we’ve made in the past. The Mariners dealt their number two starting pitcher Jason Vargas to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for 1B/DH Kendrys Morales. Let me give you a little background about our new addition and then why you should like this move.

Kendrys Morales

Age: 29

Position 1B/DH

Bats: Switch Hitter

Throws: Right

Last Season’s Stats

    • Avg: .273
    • At-Bats: 484
    • Runs: 61
    • Hits: 132
    • HRs: 22
    • RBIs: 73
    • On-Base %: .320
    • Slugging: .467
    • OPS: .787

Analysis:

I am a fan of this move for several reasons. First off, we all are aware of the historic struggles the Mariners have had with producing runs. Morales will bring some needed pop to the middle of the order. Now it won’t be a vast improvement, just so we’re all clear, but we are receiving a serviceable bat, all while saving about $4 million dollars by offloading Vargas’ $7.4 million that he is set to receive this season. Both players are in the final year of their contracts, but are arbitration eligible, simply meaning the M’s are in control of Morales once his contract expires with the chance of going to arbitration to settle on a contract if they wish to bring him back.

Secondly, I will admit, Vargas was a decent pitcher last season. Posting a 14-11 record with a 3.85 ERA on this team isn’t too bad. The only downside is he was significantly worse on the road, having a 4.78 ERA compared to a 2.74 ERA at home. Several things can account for this. First is Safeco Field, one of the best pitchers parks in baseball. But the walls are coming in this season. I don’t think Vargas would see the same success at home, especially because he is much more of a fly ball rather than ground ball pitcher. He also gives up the long ball more than most, so the walls coming in really wouldn’t help his cause. You could point to the fact that even though his ERA was 4.78 on the road, his record was a respectable 9-6. Then again, don’t you remember how well the Mariners hit on the road (at least for their standards)? That number may be a little skewed.

Bottom line, the Mariners will need to fill those innings that they give up by trading Vargas, but I still think the move is worth the trouble of having to find a replacement. Maybe Iwakuma will slide up to be our number two, or we could resign Millwood who is still out on the market and was actually not that bad last season, especially given his age. And let us not forget the stable of young and talented arms we have in the minors. Or, we could just do what normal teams do and sign a legitimate free agent, which is what I hope we can accomplish. Edwin Jackson is a possible suitor, so keep an eye on him.

I understand Morales is not the big time hitter that we have all been dreaming of, but he is better than most of what we have, and at this point I’ll take that. Lets hope the M’s can continue to piece this together and possibly put a respectable team out on the field come next season.

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