Angels Swap Kendrys Morales for Jason Vargas

Is anyone else a little surprised at the news that the Angels traded slugger Kendrys Morales for Mariners lefthander Jason Vargas?

Long-time visitors of MetsToday know I’ve been a fan of Jason Vargas since he was in diapers. OK, maybe not THAT long, but the love affair goes back to his days with the Marlins. To this day I’ll never understand what he did to make the Mets sour on him; my best guess is he pitched through various injuries and is performance suffered as a result. In any case, he was basically a throw-in when the Mets gave up 38 players in a three-team deal that brought back Jeremy Reed (as well as Sean Green, and some other J.J. Putz). Vargas had a breakthrough season in 2010 and has improved each year since, spinning 217 innings and winning 14 games for a bad Seattle team in 2012. But is he so good that he can be traded straight-up for a beast like Kendrys Morales? I guess so.

I know, I know, we can’t dwell on the terrible trades made throughout Mets history — Jim Fregosi be damned. But when I think about what might’ve been, and what’s happened instead … well, I think it’s better to vent than keep it all bottled up inside.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Izzy December 19, 2012 at 10:49 pm
    Venting is always good. Keeps the BP down and lets you sleep better. Keep up the good work.
    • Joe Janish December 20, 2012 at 12:25 am
      Thanks. I also find that a glass of wine helps with the BP and sleeping. 😉
  2. Reese December 20, 2012 at 2:18 am
    You know what they say, Joe. Wine is fine but liquor is quicker. Down here on the border the liquor of choice would be tequila, mezcal or sotol.
  3. Dan December 20, 2012 at 7:05 am
    Venting and J Walker Black usually do the job,especially when I stumble into things like this, starting with “Look. You all know I am a Mets fan, right?”
  4. NormE December 20, 2012 at 11:57 am
    How can you be a Met fan without the help of some liquid
    concoction? Psychoanalysts would have a field day with those of us who continue to root for a Wilpon-owned entity.
  5. DaveSchneck December 20, 2012 at 1:27 pm
    It goes to show you how desperate the Angels are for pitching. Vargas is a very different pitcher outside of Safeco. Then again, Safeco is a lot like Citifield. Oh well, you may want a 2nd glass of wine.
    • Joe Janish December 20, 2012 at 8:00 pm
      Ha! Already on glass three …

      Yes, Vargas was much better at Safeco in 2012, but in 2011 his splits were fairly even — he was only slightly better at home, and not in all areas (he actually gave up more HR at Safeco in ’11). And as you point out, Citi Field likely would be an ideal park for Vargas. Then, add in the fact he’d be facing fewer sluggers in the NL, and a pitcher (or PH) instead of a DH one time out of every nine batters …

      Time for glass four!

  6. Jeff December 22, 2012 at 6:58 pm
    Joe, You’re usually pretty much on the mark with all your comments and insight, but this article absolutely baffles me. You’ve been a fan of Jason Vargas since his Marlin days? Were you as impressed with Jason Vargas as Omar Minaya was in 2006 when he posted that 7.33 ERA? When he allowed 50 hits (including 9 home runs) and 30 walks in just 43 innings for a WHIP of 1.86? (doesn’t include the 4 batters he hit as well) And Omar Minaya traded Matt Lindstrom for Jason Vargas based on that performance? You also said that you’ll never understand what he did to make the Mets sour on him. I’m thinking it might be the 17 hits and 14 earned runs in 10.1 innings for an ERA of 12.19. Or his final Met appearance allowing 9 earned runs in 3.1 inning. Yeah that’s what I’m thinking. I didn’t think he could possibly do worse than his 7.33 ERA in 2006, but he managed to reach new depths with the 12.19 ERA. Granted that was in a short sample – but how much more did we need to see? Fine trade, Omar. Yes, a fine trade indeed. Of course this was done during his great white purge of November/December 2006 which saw Brian Bannister, Heath Bell and Matt Lindstrom traded for garbage like Ambiorix Burgos and Jason Vargas.
    • Joe Janish December 22, 2012 at 7:51 pm
      Yes, I’ve always loved Jason Vargas, and still do. You can type “jason vargas” into the search box of this site to read all about it.

      You can present all the negative numbers you want, but if you’ve been here a while you know that in many cases I trust my eye far more than stats, particularly with young players.

      And if you are one who evaluates players strictly on numbers, you know better than to cite the specific numbers you did, because they are small sample sizes.

      Further, you neglect to mention that Vargas was 23 years old and pitching for a similarly young and absolutely horrible defense when he posted that 7.33 ERA.

      Not every pitcher bursts onto the MLB scene like Matt Harvey did, putting up great stats immediately. Roy Halladay had an ERA over 10.00 when he was 23 years old; Johan Santana had a 6.49 ERA his rookie year; Chris Carpenter had a 6.26 ERA when he was 25 years old; for example.

      Going by your fast-twitch evaluation, the Mets should have dumped Jon Niese after he posted a 7.07 ERA in his first three starts, and don’t need to see any more of Jenrry Mejia nor Jeurys Familia, since they both pitched terribly last September.

      • Jeff December 22, 2012 at 10:51 pm
        Actually, I liked Jon Niese right away. Thought he reminded me of a young Andy Pettitte. And I similarly am not impressed with Mejia or Familia. Both seem to be wild in the zone. I would have dumped them both in a multi-player offering for Wil Myers. I don’t always look at stats though. I saw something in Heath Bell that was not apparent in stats. I saw mound moxie, mound presence and really, really good stuff. Omar didn’t and you know the rest. I thought highly of Jeff Keppinger and Ty Wigginton too, yet they were shipped out of town. I’m much more right than wrong when I look at young players. I thought Lastings Milledge stunk the moment I laid eyes on him. I thought Lucas Duda would be a stud. So far I’m not right about that, but he still has a shot to pan out.