Slow clap, everyone. Slow clap. Congratulations, Jerry Dipoto, through the tens of millions of dollars that you spent and the series of trades you swung last off-season, you finally go something right.
Sean Burnett? When healthy, sure, but that healthy part is kind of important.
Tommy Hanson? Meh.
Ryan Madson? I'll let you know if/when he ever dons an Angel uniform.
Josh Hamilton? Of course not.
Joe Blanton? Don't make me punch you.
I'm talking about the "big splash" that was the trade of Jason Vargas who has thus far been a rousing success for the Halos in that Vargas has been exactly what the Angels expected. What? You didn't think a Halo acquisition would actually overachieve did you? That would just be silly.
The big concern heading into the season for the Angels was their rotation. Those concerns have been more than justified… so very justified. The only pitcher who doesn't deserve any blame, at least thus far because we should take nothing for granted with this staff, is Vargas who has been decidedly adequate.
Yes, that sweet, sweet adequacy is the only thing standing between the Angel rotation being a nightmare and an outright tragedy. Vargas seems like an afterthought most of the time, but that is sort of what the Angels brought him in to do. He is that mid-rotation starter who doesn't really dominate but also doesn't really get dominated either. The 4.03 ERA and 95 ERA+ he currently carries would leave a lot to be desired with other pitchers, but not Vargas. If anything, he has been a very mild surprise since those marks are better than his career 4.33 ERA and 90 ERA+.
What the Halos wanted from Vargas was a yeoman like starter who sucks up innings and keeps the team in games. With league average numbers across the board, over 6.1 innings per start and really just one awful start, Vargas has done just that. But let's not get too rosy with Vargas. Him meeting expectations is great, but it also means accepting a lot of his warts.
Vargas, as per usual, has been pretty good at home with a 3.14 ERA, 4.31 FIP and .298 wOBA allowed. He has also, as per usual, been pretty lousy on the road with a 5.16 ERA, 3.63 FIP and .381 wOBA allowed. That is just who he is and the Angels can't really complain about it because it is precisely what they signed up for.
Even the cost of acquiring Vargas has worked out exactly as expected. To get Jason, Dipoto swapped sluggerish DH type Kendrys Morales to Seattle. Like Vargas, Morales has provided almost the exact same production as the season before, registering a 121 OPS+ and 119 wRC+ for Seattle after finishing 2012 with a 120 OPS+ and 118 wRC+ for the Halos. It was the rare trade where both teams feel like they won but also didn't hit the jackpot either. Sure, the Angels could use Morales given their depth issues on offense this year, but imagine how much worse the rotation would be without Vargas? Actually, don't do that. It is too early in the morning to start vomiting on your desk. Besides, Angel fans can at least take solace that Morales didn't pull a Vernon Wells and turn into a monster bat upon earning his freedom.