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Friday, January.04, 2013
Nicholas Rossoletti (MLB Trade Correspondent): Follow @NRoss56
It is rare in baseball that division rivals complete trades. Most of the time when it does happen, it is a lower end deal involving pieces that neither team is particularly worried will come back to haunt them. This is what makes the Jason Vargas for Kendrys Morales trade so interesting. It is a trade that makes incredible sense for all parties involved, but there is at least some likelihood that either or both players could make their former club regret the move in the short term. Let’s take a closer look at the players involved in the deal and why each club wanted to make this move.
On the Angels side, the team was in dire need of innings they could count on. After acquiring Tommy Hanson and his questionable shoulder as well as losing Zack Greinke to their cross-town rivals, the Dodgers, the Angels needed to find a starter who could give them guaranteed innings. Enter Jason Vargas. Vargas has been good for 190 plus innings over the last three season including over 200 Innings Pitched in 2011 and 2012. Vargas is a back-end of the rotation starter who has one terrific pitch in his arsenal, which is his change-up. Vargas’ change-up is an elite pitch. To help characterize how elite a pitch it can be, we can look to some statistical measures. Per 100 pitches, Vargas saved 2.25 runs over the course of 2012 with his change-up. To understand in comparison, Justin Verlander‘s curveball, what many would consider his “put-away” pitch saved 2.04 runs per 100 pitches in 2012. Now clearly, no one in their right mind is going to positively compare Vargas to Verlander, but in terms of Vargas’ change-up, I think it is important for everyone to understand that he does do something as well if not better than any other pitcher in the Major Leagues.
The Brutal Kendrys Morales injury after a Grand Slam Walk-Off HR: