You can't say it wasn't expected. After weeks of talk, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and St. Louis Cardinals made it official, Peter Bourjos was heading to the midwest, and David Freese was heading towards the Pacific beaches. Little did we know, there was some extra juice to this trade, as Fernando Salas came over with Freese to enjoy the West Coast, in exchange for prospect Randal Grichuk.
Peter Bourjos, 26, has been plagued by injuries the majority of his career, but has shown a lot of promise. Bourjos has electric speed that is both a combination of actual speed and an acceleration like he's shot from a cannon. This works to his benefit in center field, where of course, he has shown his worth. Bourjos' bat is the question, but he's shown improvement over the past few years, hitting near .300 for the majority of his past season. Bourjos' numbers dropped while he was playing slightly injured (thumb).
David Freese, 30, is in a similar boat. Lower body injuries have been a problem of the past and present for Freese. We all know the story of Game 6 of the 2011 World Series where David Freese came up huge in the ninth to tie the game with a triple, and won it in the 11th with a shot to deep center. Freese has shown that he is a clutch player beyond that game, which is something you can't coach, and is something the Angels could use in their lineup. Freese also is an upgrade at third base for the Angels, a position that has been a problem for the past few seasons.
Randal Grichuk, 22, was selected the draft pick before Mike Trout. Once again, injuries have cursed the young talent, and kept him in the minors for as long as they have. Grichuk has learned quite a bit though going through the Angels system, and has become a stronger player at the plate for it. Grichuk won a Gold Glove in the minors this past season.
Fernando Salas, 28, is a unique touch to this trade. The Angels needed pitching, and particularly in the bullpen. In 2011, Salas posted a 2.28 earned-run-average with 24 saves over 68 games. The past two seasons though, his earned-run-average has dropped over two full runs to 4.30 and 4.50. It will be interesting to see what his role will be in the bullpen come this 2014 season.
The trade opens up the spot of center field for 2014, which obviously, will go to Mike Trout. Trout hit .349/.452/.626 this past season while playing center.
Just one more odd, tid-bit, to this trade. David Freese was acquired by the Cardinals in 2007, in exchange for Jim Edmonds, who was sent off to the San Diego Padres. Edmonds was previously an Angels center fielder who wore the number 25. Well guess what, Peter Bourjos happens to be a center fielder who wears the number... 25. I had to make a joke that it must be the "Illuminati" of trades.
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