Friday, December 21, 2012

Hot Stove Update: Angels Trade Orlando Cepeda for Ray Sadecki

In 1966, the Giants had to choose between Orlando Cepeda and Willie McCovey as their future first baseman.  They made the right choice, but traded Cepeda to the wrong team.  The Giants needed pitching to back up Juan Marichal and Sadecki did actually pitch pretty well for them after he came over, but Cepeda gave the Cardinals a middle of the order bat to anchor their otherwise fairly weak hitting lineup.  They proceeded to win the next 2 NL pennants while the Giants finished in second place both years.

The Angels were in a similar position with Mark Trumbo, Kendrys Morales and Albert Pujols competing for the 1B/DH roles on the team.  Yesterday, they traded Morales within their division to the Mariners for Jason Vargas, a LHP who makes a nice #4 or 5 starter on a contending team.  Yes, Vargas lengthens the Angels' rotation, and the Angels have enough hitting that a 4+ ERA can win a lot of games, but Morales has the potential to transform the Mariners' lineup.  With multiple high ceiling pitching prospects nearing MLB ready, the Mariners can easily replace Vargas from within.  After adding Morales bat to the lineup, they start to look suspiciously like the Giants in their construction.  Meanwhile, Vargas, who is coming off a year in which he had an unsustainable BABIP of .257 will also be hurt by the difference in park factors.

Great pitching generally trumps great hitting and I could easily see the Mariners giving the Angels a run for their money with the added presence of Kendrys Morales in a lineup to support all those young stud pitchers.  I think the Angels will come to regret trading him within their division.


  1. That's what they need in that division - more balance.

    1. Yeah, I'm sure that's exactly what the Astros wanted: another team in that division improving.

    2. Who else is in that division?

    3. It was a 4 team division: Angels, Rangers, A's, M's. Adds 'Stros next year.

  2. This might come back to haunt the Halos like the Napolei trade in 2010 to the Rangers. I understand the trade better from the Halos perspective though. Varges has been a workhorse for the Mariners averaging 200 IP the past 3 seasons, which is valuable for a team like the Halos in the win now mode. I don't understand why a rebuilding team like the Mariners would trade for Morales who is a FA in 2014? Like you said if those young stud pitchers like Walker, Paxton and Hultzen turn out to be special then the M's could be a surprise team in 2013. I think if the Halos don't make the playoffs in 2013, Scossia is a goner..


  3. A good friend of mine is a die hard M's fan, and I have compared their current development to what the Giants did... very similar. I remember 2007-09, when I really first became attracted to MiLB, and all of the special players moving up in the Giants' system. It was a very fun time, even when the big league club was struggling. I'm very interested to see how Seattle puts things together in the next couple years, as many of their big pieces are getting close to a call-up. They may have even found their Posey-type leader in Zunino, who I believe will be a VERY solid player for them. Fun to watch teams build it from the ground up like Sabean and co. did.