Game 71, Mariners at Angels
Aaron Harang vs. Jason Vargas, 7:10pm
The deal made perfect sense when it happened, and with the benefit of a half-season’s hindsight, it looks like one of the fairly rare cases wherein both teams ‘win.’ The Angels rotation had a FIP of 4.33, good for 21st in the league – and that was *despite* getting a full year from ace Jered Weaver. The back of the rotation fell apart as Ervin Santana and Dan Haren gopher-balled their way into terrible seasons, and Garrett Richards continued to confound the Angels (and me) by being crappy. But their offense looked great, and they added Josh Hamilton in the off-season. They used surplus corner IFs to cover their weakness, and it’s worked out great. Jason Vargas has been an excellent starter, having already eclipsed last season’s low fWAR and with an even better RA than last year’s. With the injury to Weaver, the Angels needed Vargas to be consistent, and he’s been exactly that.
The Mariners’ offense has been terrible since the dawn of the Bavasi era, and they needed an upgrade. They thought Kendrys Morales could not only replicate his rate stats, but improve upon them (adjusted for park/context, of course) the further from his injury he got. So far, so good. Morales has a slightly better wOBA and wRC+ playing every day than he did last year for LA. The M’s offense isn’t good by any stretch of the imagination, but their team wOBA starts with a ’3′ for the first time in a while, albeit barely (it’s at .300 on the dot). They needed a middle-of-the-order player to help them cash in when Seager and Ackley (ha ha…ha..ha) got on base, and he’s done so.
Unfortunately for both teams, there’s quite a gap between a trade working out perfectly and an entire roster working out perfectly. The Angels FIP is just a tiny bit better than last year, and Joe Blanton has inherited Santana’s HR problems. Jered Weaver went down, and Richards once again failed to grab the rotation spot that I thought he’d take back in 2011 or so. The M’s offense is better, but still not good enough, and unfortunately for them, injuries have wiped out much of the pitching depth they had when they agreed to trade Vargas. No one was ‘wrong’ here and both teams would probably make the deal again today. But both teams are waaaay out of the playoff race.
Vargas is much the same guy we remember from his days in Seattle with one exception: he’s stopped throwing his slider/cutter to lefties as much and has replaced it with a curveball.
1: Chavez, RF
2: Franklin, 2B
3: Seager, 3B
4: Morales, DH
5: Morse, 1B
6: Ibanez, LF
7: Zunino, C
8: Saunders, CF
9: Triunfel, SS
The Jackson Generals lost a 1-0 game today; Anthony Fernandez was the hard-luck loser.
Gonzaga alum Tyler Olsen makes his debut for Everett tonight.
A number of M’s draft picks signed, but there’s word that the M’s landed their biggest target – 2nd rounder Austin Wilson. His slot value was just over $1m, but as a guy many thought could’ve gone in the 1st round, it’ll be interesting to hear what the M’s had to commit to get his signature. Here’s hoping he suits up for Everett very soon.