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Angels Acquire Jason Vargas

December 19th, 2012

The Angels have acquired left-handed starter Jason Vargas in exchange for 1B/DH Kendrys Morales. This trade fills out the Angels’ rotation and opens the DH spot, presumably for Mark Trumbo.

Vargas, who turns 30 in February, is a solid middle-to-back-end starter. He won’t walk a ton of batters, but he’ll allow a moderate number of fly balls, which didn’t often leave the confines of Safeco Field. He’s another innings eater, having tossed an average of 203.2 innings over the past three seasons. Vargas, like Morales, is arbitration-eligible for the final time, and will become a free agent after the 2013 season.

Morales is coming off of his first season back after missing all of 2011, and most of 2010, with a leg injury. He wasn’t spectacular, but he was solid all year, finishing with a .273/.320/.467 line over 522 plate appearances. His home run power returned later in the season, and he hit 14 of his 22 home runs after July 1.

Game Friggin’ On!!

December 15th, 2012

Allow me to handicap these two fist fights for the fans. The Rangers are Manny Pacquiao and the Angels are indeed last week's Juan Marquez. Night night sleepy Ranger. The Dodgers are Mike Tyson and the Angels are Buster Douglas.  Ah, excuse me Mr. Dodger Blue but you've got some canvas stuck in your teeth.  Do you need some help up?

Lets get one thing straight, Arte Moreno and his fat cat counterparts over at Guggenheim Hedgefunds are having Major League Baseballs' version of a pissing contest. Mr. Moreno just took the lead.  Josh Hamilton is an Angel? Are you kidding me?

We'll get back to the Lonestar state to measure their bumps and bruises in a moment, but for now lets stick to Southern Cali and clear up any confusion.  This isn't just a battle for market share in Los Angeles.  It's an all out turf war between two financial behemoths that's net result is the greatest baseball players in the world making their way out to the west coast. It's fantasyland for baseball enthusiasts and the closest thing to the old "Wild Wild West" that players and their agents could have ever dreamed of.

The Guggenheim group and their Magic man roll with the deepest pockets in the game right now and certainly had to believe before Thursday's heist that they'd slipped a knife between Arte's ribs.  Hauling away Zack Greinke in a limo and heading about 35 miles up the 5 freeway had to have the suits popping corks, clinking glasses, and sticking their Armani covered chests out.  They'd staked their claim to supremacy in the Southland and dropped over $200 million on starting pitchers Greinke and Ryu to do it.  Their massive chip stack was just supposed to fold Arte right out of the game.  But it didn't.

Note to Magic and the hedge fund crew: You're dealing with a lone wolf that's so competitive that, for all we know, he's only all by his lonesome because he ate the rest of his pack. You may have thought you had him cornered off way down there in Anaheim, but make no mistake: he's still out stalking your sheep.  His paws have never left your doorstep and this time he dropped his latest kill right on your front porch.  Game friggin ON!

Both these MLB heavyweight teams are backed by massively lucrative television deals that seem to provide an endless flow of revenue.  And boy oh boy do these boys know how to spend it.  Kemp.  Pujols.  Greinke.  Hamilton.  Gonzalez.  Weaver.  Ryu.  Wilson.  Crawford.  Ethier.  That's just a little 1.3 billion dollar taste of the player purchases these two teams have made in the past year.

Back in Texas, Mr. Ryan and Mr. Daniels are trying to put the pieces back together.  They've lost 1/3 of their lineup and the free agent market is drying up quickly. The trade market seems to be their best option now but that means weakening their farm system to strengthen their big league club.  That's something they'd hate to do, and Alpha Arte is grinning like a cat watching them squirm.

This is for real.  Arte and the Angels are in a two front war and like a true superpower, they're holding their own just fine on both fronts. 

Please follow Drew Mumford Jr. on twitter @jrjantreshunt.

Our Hamilton Reactions

December 14th, 2012

Hamilton hopes to connect wearing red.

For the second straight season, Jerry Dipoto and the Angels pulled off a stealth free agent blockbuster deal. A year after luring Albert Pujols from his vaunted place in St. Louis history, they stole away Texas outfielder and former MVP Josh Hamilton at 5 years and 125 million. Below are reactions from some of the Halos Daily staff (with my own thoughts at the bottom).

Halos Daily

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