Los Angeles Angels Gamble On David Freese And Kole Calhoun
The Los Angeles Angels took a risk last Friday, trading center fielder Peter Bourjos and outfield prospect Randal Grichuk to the St. Louis Cardinals, in exchange for third baseman David Freese and reliever Fernando Salas.
The Angels have had a revolving door of third basemen since the Chone Figgins era, are hoping that Freese regains some semblance of his 2012 form. Freese earned an All-Star trip and provided a slash line of .293/.372/.467 on his way to a 4fWAR season.
2013 was rough for Freese as he battled numerous ailments and hit just 9 home runs, with a sharp decline in defensive performance. The Angels would be satisfied with production somewhere in between Freese’s last two seasons considering the general lack of production at the position over the years.
With Bourjos out of the picture, the Angels outfield alignment will see a slight modification. Mike Trout will slide back over to center field, after playing in left for most of last season to accommodate Bourjos. Josh Hamilton will then move over to left field, allowing Kole Calhoun an opportunity to play everyday in right field.
Calhoun was provided the chance to play regularly towards the end of 2012, and batted .282/.347/.462 with eight home runs. His performance was a pleasant surprise for the Angels, after disappointing seasons from outfielder Josh Hamilton and first baseman Albert Pujols.
Though Calhoun is not the defensive wizard that Bourjos is, he profiles well in a corner outfield spot and figures to have far more offensive upside.
On paper, the Angels overpaid to get Freese in Anaheim. Bourjos has one more year of team control than Freese, plus they exchanged Grichuck—their second best prospect, for a league average reliever. This is a make or break year for general manager Jerry Dipoto, here’s hoping this move works out better than those of year’s past.