On Friday, the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Angels completed a trade that sends David Freese and Fernando Salas to the Angels in exchange for Peter Bourjos and Randal Grichuk. It’s not often that a trade between two teams is good for both sides immediately – most trades are established MLB players for prospects. In this case, the Angels get better because they needed a third baseman and the Cards get a much needed defensive centerfielder.
The Cardinals have been searching for a replacement in centerfield over Jon Jay. Bourjos provides excellent defense on a team that lacked great defense in 2013. For the Angels, they needed a new third baseman after trading Alberto Callaspo last season. Freese had a down season in 2013, but it could have been due to pain lingering from his early season back strain that he suffered. Last season, the third baseman hit for a .262/.340/.381 line with nine home runs. In 2012, he hit for a much more impressive .293/.372/.467 line with 20 homers.
As for the other two players involved in the deal, Salas and Grichuk, they are mainly throw-ins. Salas had a decent season in 2013, with better peripheral numbers than his traditional stats. For instance, his 3.62 FIP is much better than his 4.50 ERA. He didn’t strike out many batters (7.07 K/9), but he did a great job of limiting walks with just 1.93 BB/9. Grichuk is best known as the guy that was picked before Mike Trout. However, he was the Angels’ fourth-best prospect, profiling as a good defensive outfielder with a strong arm and potential to hit well at some point.