Two days after the biggest trade of the offseason, the Angels and Cardinals have pulled off a 4-player deal that includes Peter Bourjos and David Freese. In addition to Bourjos, the Cards also acquire outfield prospect Randal Grichuk. Reliever Fernando Salas heads to Anaheim with Freese. Although this trade doesn’t have the impact of the Fielder for Kinsler deal, there is an A.L. West team involved.
At first glance, this looks like a good deal for St. Louis. Not only do the Cards get a speedy young centerfielder whose skills may play better in the National League, they also get an outstanding outfield prospect in Grichuk. A first round pick in 2009 (by Jeff Luhnow) out of Lamar Consolidated H.S. in Rosenberg, Grichuk has amassed an OPS of .821 in 433 minor league contests.
In Freese, the Angels get an everyday third-baseman to fill the void left after Alberto Callaspo was traded at last season’s deadline. Salas provides a serviceable, yet unspectacular bullpen arm for Mike Scioscia. However, the Angels were unable to address their major need (starting pitching) with this deal.
In my opinion, Bourjos is the key player in this transaction. At 26, he is four years younger than Freese. Not only is he more affordable, I think Bourjos is already just as good a player as Freese and has the potential to get better. The Cardinals seem to agree. It appears that John Jay is destined to be a fourth outfielder and Bourjos will be given the opportunity to play every day.
Freese, the 2011 World Series MVP, had his worst season as a pro in 2013 and could be on the decline. Of course, he could bounce back and prove me wrong. Still, I like this deal for St. Louis.