The St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have pulled off a deal that will send center fielder Peter Bourjos and outfield prospect Randal Grichuk to the Cardinals. The Angels will receive third baseman David Freese and right-hander Fernando Salas in return.
For the Angels, Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com tweets that the outfield for the 2014 season is expected to be Josh Hamilton in left, Mike Trout in center, and Kole Calhoun in right. There is also J.B. Shuck, Collin Cowgill, and, if pressed, Mark Trumbo.
Getting Freese could shore up the third base situation which was “vacant” after the Angels dealt Alberto Callaspo during this past season’s non-waiver trade deadline deals. After dealing Callaspo, four different players were used at the position: Andrew Romine (20 games), Luis Jimenez (10 games), Chris Nelson (26 games), and Thomas Field (1 game).
Freese has two more years of arbitration eligibility before he hits the free agent market. He will be 31 next April.
Regarding the Cards, they get a defensive player in Bourjos who also enters his first year of arbitration eligibility. Thought could be that Bourjos and Jon Jay would compete for the center field starting job. Jay is the better hitter (career 109 OPS+, compared to 98 for Bourjos), but Bourjos is the better defender (career DRS of 33, compared to -5 for Jay).
Jay did lead the Cardinals in steals last season…with 10. Not like they needed a speedster considering they led the NL in runs scored (783), but in his first two seasons, Bourjos did swipe 32 bags in 44 attempts. Bourjos was 6-for-6 last season as he was limited to 55 games.
Bourjos will turn 27 in March.