|Kendrys Morales shattered his ankle in 2010 celebrating|
a walk-off grand slam.
- Kendrys Morales of the Angels: 522 plate appearances, 22 homers, .273/.320/.467.
- Justin Morneau of the Twins: 570 plate appearances, 19 homers, .267/.333/.440.
Fairly similar 2012 seasons, right? Each suffered a major injury in midseason 2010 that not only ended that year but wrecked 2011 as well. While both played regularly in 2012, neither was quite at the level they had been at before the 2010 injury. (For Morales, it was a fractured ankle; for Morneau, it was a concussion). Both are to be free agents after the 2013 season.
There are a couple of significant differences, however. Morneau turns 32 in May and will be paid $14 million next season; Morales is a bit more than two years younger and is much cheaper (arbitration eligible).
The Angels traded Morales on Wednesday to the Seattle Mariners for Jason Vargas, a left-handed starter who is basically what the Twins hope Scott Diamond is. Vargas gave the Mariners about 200 innings each of the past three seasons, 30-plus starts each year, ERA of 3.96 for the three years combined. Good but not great.
Vargas, too, will be eligible for free agency after 2013.
That's what a near-match for Justin Morneau fetched in a trade: One year of a No. 3 starter.
This trade convinces me that Morneau isn't getting dealt this winter. The Twins still have a place in their lineup for Morneau; the Angels, having just signed Josh Hamilton, didn't really have a role for Morales. That they traded him in the division suggests that Vargas was the best offer they had for the big Cuban.
Terry Ryan isn't likely to trade Morneau for anything less than a significant long-term pitcher -- a trade along the lines of the Denard Span deal. And I don't think that's coming this offseason.
Come the trading deadline, maybe.