The Los Angeles Angels have just one free agent, and signing him would cause serious problems for the Halos this off-season. As much as fans would like to see him back, I doubt there's anyone who'd like to see Jason Vargas back in Anaheim next year and that is... Jason Vargas.
Vargas was traded to his "hometown team" from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Kendrys Morales last winter and despite injuries was an asset to the Angels poor rotation this past campaign. Vargas is the loan free agent for the Angels this off-season and causes a problem for the Angels check book. Since a qualifying offer ($14.1 million) would put the Angels at or over the $189 million luxury tax threshold for 2014, it's hard to imagine Vargas will return next season. The Angels have until 2:00 p.m. Monday, November 4th to offer Vargas a qualifying offer.
If you're a fan though, you could try and hold out for a longer term, multi-year deal for Vargas, which would still be hard due to the contracts of others on the team, such as Albert Pujols (10-year, $240 million) and Josh Hamilton (five-year, $125 million).
With those big contracts in place, the Angels don't necessarily have a lot of spending money, which means the high-end free agent pitchers might not be the easy route for the Angels to take.
Trades are the way to go for General Manager Jerry Dipoto and the Angels this off-season, which means singing Vargas may come down to a trade early this week. It's already been released that the Angels are looking to trade fan favorites, Mark Trumbo and Peter Bourjos, in exchange for a pitcher. You can also include names that were brought up at the trade deadline like Howie Kendrick, and Erick Aybar.
Trades are tricky because you never know who the target is, but when it comes to the Angels, we seem to know one of them.
The Tampa Bay Rays have already said they'd explore trade options for 2012 Cy Young Award winner, David Price. The Rays are looking to open up some cap space and nab some prime prospects in exchange for it. The Angels are necessarily known for their prospects, but they do have some that could be of interest to the Rays.
When it comes to trading prospects, Taylor Lindsey comes to mind. All scouts I've talked to say Lindsey will be a Major Leaguer in the future, and for the Angels, you have a prospect in the same position (Alex Yarbrough) to fall back on. Michael Roth and Nick Maronde are possible pitchers to send off the Tampa.
It's already out in the open also that multiple teams such as the Los Angeles Dodgers and Texas Rangers are after David Price as well. This leaves the Angels with a big question mark on whether Jason Vargas would be worth it or not.
By early next week we'll know if Vargas will be in a red uniform pitching for Mike Scioscia and the Angels next season, but for now, we can assume the trade market is what Jerry Dipoto and the Angels will be looking at, and Vargas will more than likely be busy with his agent talking to teams elsewhere.
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