Los Angeles Angels Trade Kendrys Morales to Seattle Jason Vargas

Paul Francis Sullivan@@sullybaseballChief Writer IDecember 20, 2012

As reported by Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim traded first baseman and designated hitter Kendrys Morales within their division for Seattle Mariners pitcher Jason Vargas.

After the acquisition of former Texas Rangers star Josh Hamilton, the Angels found themselves with a log jam of offensive weapons.

The Angels chose to not deal the younger Peter Bourjos instead of Morales. Now, the Halos have Bourjos to play center and right, giving Hamilton a chance to spend some at-bats at designated hitter.

Vargas gives the Angels another replacement for a starting pitching staff that has seen a lot of changes since the end of the 2012 season. Zack Greinke, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana have all left.

The Angels have filled those spots with Joe Blanton, Tommy Hanson and now Vargas. There are no longer any holes, but have they improved? Hanson could have a bounce-back season, Vargas had the best season of his career and Blanton is a wild card.

The Angels have swapped out Torii Hunter and Kendrys Morales essentially for Hamilton and Bourjos. The defense has improved, and Hamilton's power tops what Hunter and Morales provide.

So ends Morales' time with the Angels.

A man who was a star in Cuba, Morales was imprisoned several times trying to escape the island. He was successful in 2004, arriving in Florida on his 12th attempt, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPN Desportes.

He signed with the Angels, and in 2009, at the age of 26, he was a legitimate MVP candidate, finishing fifth in the vote.

But in 2010, he had his infamous walk-off homer celebration where he broke his leg stomping on home plate on May 29th. He missed the rest of the 2010 season and all of 2011 before having a productive 2012.

Now he is a Mariner. And Vargas will bring his durable left arm to Anaheim.

Both teams undoubtedly have several more moves left as the shuffling of the American League West continues.

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