The Los Angeles Angels got the pitching depth they wanted. The Seattle Mariners got the power bat they so desperately needed.
Two foes in the AL West found a way to work together Wednesday when the Angels traded switch-hitting slugger Kendrys Morales to the Mariners for lefthander Jason Vargas, filling needs for both teams.
The 29-year-old Morales became expendable after the Angels agreed to a deal last week with free agent slugger Josh Hamilton.
The Angels had been looking for a pitcher after losing Zack Greinke and Dan Haren to free agency and trading Ervin Santana.
The Angels added a lefthander to their rotation, while Seattle got a hitter that can instantly take a spot in the middle of its order.
Getting Vargas reunites the lefty with his former Long Beach State teammate Jered Weaver at the top of the Angels’ rotation. The duo played college ball together in 2004 and now will be counted on in helping make the big money the Angels spent on Hamilton and Albert Pujols last season pay off.
Vargas led Seattle in wins last season, going 14-11 with a 3.85 ERA, and pitched a career-high 217⅓ innings. The 29-year-old is 36-42 with a 4.09 ERA in four years with the Mariners.
‘‘Jason was what we were looking for on the market this year: just a steady, reliable lefthander who can go out there. He’s got a history of pitching a high volume of innings and clearly I think we make ourselves a little bit better just in that we don’t have to face him because he’s given us fits,’’ Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said.
Morales hit .273 with 22 home runs and 73 RBIs last season after missing the entire 2011 season after breaking his leg early in 2010 while celebrating a game-ending grand slam against the Mariners. Morales was at his best later in 2012, hitting .275 with 11 homers, 28 RBIs, and an OPS of .827 over the final two months. Among its regular starters, no Seattle hitter had an OPS higher than .738 for the 2012 season.
Suzuki finalizes deal
The Yankees and Ichiro Suzuki finalized a $13 million, two-year contract that keeps the 10-time All-Star in the Bronx.
The 39-year-old, who will make $6.5 million in each of the next two seasons, was obtained in a trade with Seattle on July 23. His batting average jumped from .261 with the Mariners to .322 with the Yankees, with five homers, 27 RBIs and 14 steals.
A 10-time Gold Glove outfielder with speed and a strong arm, Suzuki has 2,606 hits in 12 major league seasons. He figures to see corner outfield time, with the Yankees allowing right fielder Nick Swisher to become a free agent.
New York opened a roster spot by designating right-hander Jim Miller for assignment. Suzuki raises the Yankees’ payroll next year to $182 million.
Francis gets $1.5m Jeff Francis completed a $1.5 million, one-year contract to remain with the Rockies, a deal that allows the 31-year-old lefthander to double his income if he pitches 210 innings . . . The Blue Jays claimed righthander Mickey Storey off waivers from the Astros. Storey, 26, appeared in 26 games and posting a 0-1 record with a 3.86 ERA out of the bullpen . . . The Diamondbacks hired Steve Sax as their first base coach, putting the former All-Star in a big league uniform for the first time in nearly two decades, and promoted Turner Ward to be their assistant hitting coach . . . Free agent pitcher Kyle Pelchy was suspended 50 games under baseball’s minor league drug program after refusing to take an offseason test . . . The Tigers released lefthander Adam Wilk after selling his contract to a team from the Korean Baseball League.