Mariners Insider Blog

Mariners acquire Kendrys Morales for pitcher Jason Vargas

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