#MLB Trade sends Cards’ David Freese for Angels’ Peter Bourjos in 4-Player Deal
First there was the surprising blockbuster trade of Detroit Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder and Texas Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler.
The St. Louis Cardinals sent their World Series hero, third baseman David Freese to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for outfielder Peter Bourjos. Two other players, reliever Fernando Salas and minor league prospect Randal Grichuk were also exchanged.
Cardinals: A- grade
I give the Cardinals a A- just for upgrading with 26-year-old Bourjos’ speed on the bases and in the outfield, getting minor league prospect Randal Grichuk, as well as ignoring sentiment by unloading Freese, who turned 30 years old this year.
Angels: B+ grade
I grade this trade as a B+ for the Angels in upgrading their hot corner position, but it is that low because of the Freese’s age and injury concerns and whether he can grind a full season after recovery. They shored up their pitching with right-hander Fernando Salas.
Freese has declined this past season and at age 30, it was a shrewd move to move Freese. He almost single-handedly won the 2011 World Series when he hit 0.397, 5 home runs and 21 RBI’s to be the World Series MVP. What a great home run to send the 2011 World Series to a Game 7.
He got injured this season and only hit 0.262 after playing 138 out of 162 games, when he played 144 games the season before and hit 0.293. Until this season, he never hit under 0.293 (per ESPN.com).
As reported by ESPN.com, Freese’s numbers far outdid those of any Angels third baseman as of late. So, for the Angels, this is a necessary risk and a good upgrade in the short-term. But, they have to be wary of his injury this season that cost him a good portion of the regular season.
When he was at the Angels’ AAA affiliate Salt Lake Bees facing the Oakland AAA affiliate, he chased down a couple deep fly balls and his quickness was astonishing. The pitchers for the Oakland affiliate never let him feel comfortable leading off and could get nothing more than a secondary lead. Here’s one great catch he had in the majors against the Baltimore Orioles:
In the majors last season, he hit 0.274, stole 43 bases, 3 home runs and 12 RBI’s in 55 games played. He did spend some time on the disabled list with a broken right wrist and sat out 39 games as a result. For the Cardinals, his speed will be an upgrade and will shore up a shaky outfielder lineup that struggled to hit in the postseason. It also helps bolster their fielding, considering the crucial mistakes by outfielder Jon Jay in the postseason against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He will fit into their fast outfield and sound base running. Mike Matheny, the Cardinals manager, will no doubt use him well.
Salas and Grichuk were more like spare pieces in my opinion, but I am no expert on developing prospects in the majors. Salas’ numbers, via ESPN, were in the 27 games played last year, he pitched 28 innings, gave up 27 hits and 15 runs, walked 6, gave up 3 home runs and struck out 22 batters with a 4.50 ERA. I’m not impressed by Salas.
Per St. Louis Today, Grichuk was the Angels’ 24th overall pick, right before Mike Trout and this year, earned a share of the minor leagues’ version of the Rawlings Gold Glove in AA ball. As a prospect, he hit 0.256, 22 home runs, 64 RBI’s, 28 walks and 92 strikeouts (per Baseball-Reference.com). Grichuk will be a game-changer when he makes the big leagues.
The Angels get a plug in their hole at third base, but the Cardinals won this trade fair and square.