While David Freese is no longer the player he was with the Cardinals in 2011 and 2012, he's still a valuable major league asset. From 2014-2015, Freese posted a slash line of .258/.322/.401 with a wOBA of .319 and a wRC+ of 108. Those aren't eye-popping numbers, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with them. By wRC+, Freese was eight percent better than the league average hitter, while his wOBA was essentially the MLB average.
Despite not being in the upper echelon of free agents this offseason, it didn't seem like he'd have much trouble latching onto a team for 2016, as the class of third basemen was extraordinarily weak.
However, Freese had tremendous difficulty finding a new home, as it took him until March 12th to finally sign a contract. He's set to play for the Pirates, where he'll likely be the everyday third baseman. Jung Ho Kang is listed as the number one depth starter at that position, but given that he played 426 innings at shortstop in 2015 (versus 535.1 innings at third), he'll undoubtedly push Jody Mercer out of the starting role once he's healthy.
The signing makes perfect sense for Pittsburgh, especially for the shockingly low price tag of $3 million, however there was another team that could have used Freese; the Angels.
Heading into 2016, Anaheim is set to trot out a starting infield (from left to right) of Yunel Escobar, Andrelton Simmons, Johnny Giavotella, and Albert Pujols. Their clear weakness is at second base, where Giavotella, and Cliff Pennington are set to play. That's an unfortunate pairing, but there was seemingly an easy solution; re-sign Freese, and move Escobar to second base.
While he hasn't played there since 2007, last season he moved back to third base after a seven year hiatus from the position. Escobar wasn't spectacular at third, but he also didn't completely embarrass himself; and with an offseason to prepare, and more than a month of spring training to work with his teammates, a move to second base seems more than feasible.
Even with a clear need, the Angels apparently weren't seriously interested in their former third baseman, as they never even made him a formal offer.
Of course "never made an offer" doesn't mean there weren't negotiations. My understanding is there were. Apparently didn't get far.— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) March 14, 2016
Considering that Freese didn't sign until just two days ago, and that it only took $3 million, he clearly didn't have many offers on the table, if any for that matter. However even with a low price tag, the Angels didn't see a fit. Only time will tell how badly they could have needed him, but given the projections for their second basemen, it would seem like a safe bet that they'll regret letting Freese walk.