The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have acquired third baseman David Freese and right-handed pitcher Fernando Salas from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for outfielder Peter Bourjos and outfielder Randal Grichuk, according to a team announcement. Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reported yesterday that the two sides have been discussing a trade that would send Freese to Anaheim, and the deal was finalized this afternoon.
Freese, 30, hit .262 with 9 HR and 60 RBI in 138 games with the Cardinals last season, and will fill in the Angels' third base vacancy that was left open when the team traded Alberto Callaspo to the Athletics at the trade deadline. The Cardinals have expressed a willingness to trade him since the end of the World Series, and the Yankees and Marlins have reportedly had him on their radar. In five major league seasons with St. Louis, Freese is a lifetime .286 hitter with 44 HR and 237 RBI in 466 games. His shining moment came in the 2011 World Series, when his .348 average and late-game heroics led the Cardinals past the Texas Rangers for the Series victory.
With Freese headed to the Angels, the Cardinals will likely shift Matt Carpenter to third base, opening up second base for prospect Kolten Wong, who saw limited major league time at the end of last season.
Salas, 28, split the 2013 season between St. Louis and Triple-A Memphis, pitching to an 0-3 record and 4.50 ERA in 27 appearances in the big leagues. He was better with Memphis, posting a 1.90 ERA in 22 appearances. He has seen major league time in the last four seasons with the Cardinals, and is 6-13 with a 3.42 ERA, 8.7 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 187 career relief appearances. He is almost certain to join the Angels' major league bullpen next season.
Bourjos, who is entering his age-27 season, will likely become the Cardinals' everyday center-fielder next year. He hit .274 with 3 HR and 12 RBI in an injury-shortened 2013 season, and is widely regarded as one of the quickest and most talented defensive center fielders in the league. For his four-year major league career, Bourjos is a .251 hitter with 24 HR and 89 RBI.
With Bourjos manning center, the Cardinals could look to move Jon Jay this winter, or the two could platoon. While the two outfielders match up offensivelty, Bourjos is considered a much better defensive player.
Grichuk, 22, was the Angels' first round pick (24th overall) in the 2009 draft, and has spent five years in the team's minor league system. In 2013 with Double-A Arkansas, the outfielder hit .256 with 22 HR and 64 RBI, bringing his career minor league average to .284 with 61 HR and 259 RBI in 433 games. According to Baseball America, Grichuk was the Angels' sixth best prospect following the 2012 season, and his strong 2013 will likely only help his value. At 22, he will likely begin the 2014 season in Memphis.