Reports are floating around the internet that the Angels are preparing to trade second baseman Howie Kendrick for a young Major League-ready starting pitcher, as well as re-sign LHP Jason Vargas.
These are interesting developments, as the Angels have a dire need for good, young starting pitching. The front office apparently prefers to deal Kendrick over Mark Trumbo, Peter Bourjos, and Erick Aybar.
Kendrick is having one of his best seasons with a .301/.341/.437 slash line, and a 3.4 WAR. Believe it or not, by acquiring former first round draft pick second baseman Grant Green, the Angels have actually created a lot of depth at second base. Down the line, the Halos have Taylor Lindsey and Alex Yarbrough at second base in their minor league system. Green has some defensive work to do, especially with his glove-to-hand transfer, but he is showing spurts of what he can do with the bat.
Kendrick was almost traded to the Dodgers at the July 31 trade deadline for Dodgers top pitching prospect Zach Lee, but that trade fell through. It was widely considered, however, that trading Kendrick was a better move to make during the offseason.
Jason Vargas has suffered a blood clot that forced him to miss six weeks, but on the mound he is 8-6 with a 3.86 ERA, and a 1.428 WHIP. The WHIP is a little alarming, but that has a lot to do with getting back into the groove after all the time he missed. Despite that, Vargas is third on the pitching staff in WAR, and fifth on the team in WAR overall. He is at 1.8.
Due to his ailments this season, Vargas is not in a position to really demand a hefty contract. He might have been able to because of his numbers over the previous three seasons. But for now, he'll probably get no more than a three year contract. Four might be pushing it. Either way, it's an important move to make, as Vargas has demonstrated the type of middle of the rotation stuff the Angels are in need of. Plus, he's another lefty to compliment CJ Wilson in that regard.
The Angels did place Vargas on revocable waivers in August, but they pulled him back. That was no surprise.
In any case, these are moves the Angels need to make. Angels fans will be very curious to see what kind of return the organization can get for Kendrick, which will be an addition that, combined with Vargas, will give the Angels much more promise in their starting rotation for 2014.
Mike Trout's WAR has skyrocketed in the past three months to 8.4! His OPS+ is 183. I've done the research, and the only other player I found who can match Trout's OPS+ over his first two full seasons as a position player is...
... Babe Ruth
Mike Trout is the number three hitter the Angels have needed since Vladdy went on the decline in 2008. He's also the bat the Angels needed back then to compliment Vladdy.
Making those aforementioned moves will bring the Angels back toward the formula they had in place back then... with Trout as a bonus.