Free-agent left-hander Jason Vargas, whom the Angels hoped to retain this winter, has agreed to terms with the Kansas City Royals on a four-year, $32-million contract.
The average annual value of Vargas’ deal ($8 million) is actually pretty reasonable for a pitcher of his stature and experience and less than the $8.5 million Vargas made last season with the Angels.
The Angels, according to a person familiar with the negotiations, offered Vargas a three-year deal for about $24 million, but they were not willing to go to four years. Vargas was acquired from Seattle for slugger Kendrys Morales before the 2013 season.
"I think the biggest thing for me was being able to be in a place where I knew I was going to be for a significant amount of time, and with an organization that I felt comfortable, that I believed in what they're doing and how they're continuing to get better," Vargas said. "Kansas City was definitely at the top of that list going into the off-season, and now they're at the top."
The 30-year-old Vargas, who pitched at Long Beach State, has a 51-58 career record and 4.30 earned-run average in 174 games over eight seasons. He went 9-8 with a 4.02 ERA in 2013, a season in which he missed almost two months because of a blood clot that was surgically removed from his left armpit.
The Angels, who are already pushing up against the $189-million luxury tax threshold, did not make a $14.1-million qualifying offer to Vargas, so they will not receive any draft-pick compensation for losing him.
They are casting a wide net in trade talks in hopes of acquiring younger, cost-controlled starting pitchers, and they have expressed an interest in veteran free-agent right-hander Bronson Arroyo.
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