Seattle, WA, United States (4E Sports) – The Seattle Mariners, looking to boost their offense, have traded pitcher Jason Vargas to the Los Angeles Angels for first baseman/designated hitter Kendrys Morales.
“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 lineup immediately makes us a better offensive club.”
After missing all of 2011 and most of 2010 with a broken left leg, the 29-year-old Morales bounced back hit .273 with 22 homers and 73 RBIs in 134 games last season.
The freak accident happened May 29, 2010 when he landed awkwardly while jumping into a group of teammates at home plate after driving a walk-off grand slam.
Before suffering the injury, Morales was emerging as one of the American League’s power hitters, batting .306 with 34 home runs and 108 RBIs for the Angels in 2009.
“Last year, in terms of my start and finish, it was obviously part of the recovery,” Morales said through interpreter Luis Garcia in a conference call from his home in Miami. “I didn’t feel 100 percent, but as the year wore on, I was able to build and have a stronger base, especially in that left foot.”
“Now I’m at the point where I can work during the offseason and continue improvement from the latter half of last season to be ready for the upcoming year,” Morales added.
Morales became expendable when the Angels signed free agent slugger Josh Hamilton last week.
However, the Mariners paid a high price for Morales as Vargas was one of their consistent starters last season. He went 14-11 with a 3.85 ERA in 217 1/3 innings last season, and was the Mariners’ No. 2 starter behind Felix Hernandez.
“It was tough to give up Jason Vargas with his innings and dependability,” general manager Jack Zduriencik. “He’s been a great teammate and great guy on the club. But to acquire talent, you have to give up talent.”
In six seasons with the Angels, Morales batted .281 with 79 home runs, 265 RBIs and an .823 OPS. The native of Cuba has hit .292 with a .904 OPS in 34 games at Safeco Field, with seven home runs and 23 RBIs.