Cardinals, Angels Deal David Freese for Peter Bourjos, Prospects
The St. Louis Cardinals traded third baseman and 2011 World Series MVP David Freese to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Friday for speedy centerfielder Peter Bourjos in the second significant trade of the week (after the Prince Fielder for Ian Kinsler deal a few days back).
In Freese, the Angels are obtaining a solid defensive third baseman who had a down year in 2013. His slash line of .262/.340/.381 was a bit lower in all aspects than that of his breakout 2012 campaign, when he slashed .293/.372/.467 for the Cardinals. Freese had some back issues in 2013, perhaps explaining his down season.
Bourjos is widely considered to be one of the best defensive outfielders around if he manages to stay healthy (something he could not do in 2013, only managing 55 games in total). He’s on track to be at full strength in time for spring training, and will likely assume everyday duties in center field for the Cardinals.
Losing Bourjos allows Trout to re-assume his natural position in center field. Bourjos’ presence in 2013 pushed Trout over to left field frequently, but a player with his type of defensive skills should be in center on an everyday basis. Freese being able to anchor third base seems to imply (as the L.A. Times‘ Mike DiGiovanna points out) that the Angels weren’t very keen on turning the position over to Andrew Romine, Grant Green, Luis Jimenez and Chris Nelson.
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