The Los Angeles Angels, who needed to clear a spot in the lineup, found a willing trade partner in the Seattle Mariners, a team in need of an offensive boost.
The result was the Wednesday deal that sent first baseman/designated hitter Kendrys Morales to the Mariners in exchange for left-hander Jason Vargas.
The recent arrival of Josh Hamilton in Anaheim left the Angels with too many players to man their outfield, first base and DH slots.
Morales, 29, is best known for fracturing his left ankle while jumping on home plate to complete a walk-off grand slam on May 29, 2010 — against the Mariners.
He didn’t return to the major leagues until the start of the 2012 season, as the ankle required multiple surgeries. Morales had a solid comeback year, hitting .273 with a .320 on-base percentage, a .467 slugging percentage, 22 homers and 73 RBI in 134 games.
Vargas, 29, is coming off the best season of his career. He set a career high in wins while going 14-11. His 3.85 ERA was a career low, and his 33 starts were his top total.
Both Morales and Vargas are in their final year of arbitration eligibility before free agency. The Times estimated that Morales’ salary might double from just under $3 million to just under $6 million. Vargas’ salary, which was just under $5 million last season, should see a significant boost, too.
—The Cleveland Indians signed free-agent pitcher Joe Martinez and catcher Brian Jerolman to minor league contracts.
Both players also received non-roster invitations to the major league camp.
Martinez, 29, spent the 2012 season with Triple-A Reno, where he won seven straight starts in May and June. He also made one relief appearance for the Arizona Diamondbacks in April. Martinez pitched in the Indians’ organization with Triple-A Columbus in 2011 and has appeared in 19 major league games.
Jeroloman, 27, suffered a knee injury last season and was limited to 43 games. He has spent his entire career with the Toronto Blue Jays’ organization.
—Bolstering their bullpen and rotation on the same day, the Phillies reportedly reached contract agreements with free agents Mike Adams and John Lannan on Dec. 15.
Adams, a right-handed reliever, agreed to a two-year, $12 million contract, according to multiple media reports.
An option for a third year becomes guaranteed if Adams makes at least 120 appearances, including 60 or more in 2014, in the first two years.
Lannan, a left-handed starter, landed a one-year, $2.5 million deal, though his pay could double due to incentives, according to CBSSports.com.
Adams went 5-3 with a 3.27 ERA in 61 appearances for the Rangers this year.
Adams, 34, is recovering from thoracic outlet syndrome, a condition that causes pain in the neck and shoulder and can affect how a pitcher grips the ball. He is expected to make a full recovery from corrective surgery and be ready for spring training.
—Free agent minor league pitcher Kyle Pelchy received a 50-game suspension without pay for failing to agree to take an offseason drug test, the commissioner’s office announced.
Pelchy, 23, pitched for the rookie-level Rays in the Gulf Coast League in 2012. He posted an 0-2 record with a 5.25 ERA in 12 games before he was released by the Tampa Bay organization.