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Angels send Peter Bourjos to Cardinals for David Freese

Angels make deal to solidify third base

Patrick Smith

Per Ken Rosenthal, the Angels have made thier first deal of the offseason by sending outfielder Peter Bourjos and minor leaguer Randal Grichuk to the St. Louis Cardinals for third baseman David Freese and reliever Fernando Salas.

Per MLBTradeRumors: Cardinals Acquire Peter Bourjos

Freese, 30, had a down season at the plate in 2013, slashing .262/.340/.381 with just nine homers. He was significantly better in 2012, when he belted 20 homers and batted .293/.372/.467 in 144 games. Freese is typically regarded as a solid defender at third base, but both The Fielding Bible and Ultimate Zone Rating graded his work poorly this season. Freese began the season on the DL with a back strain, and if that pain lingered throughout the season, it could explain his decline on both sides of the game. Swartz projects Freese to earn $4.4MM in 2014.

In addition to Freese, the Angels will also be acquiring relief pitcher Fernando Salas. Salas is a 28 year-old right-hander who finished last season with a 4.50 ERA in 28 innings. The Sonora Mexico native has just over 3 years MLB service time, compiling a 3.42 ERA over 192 Innings. Salas's best came in 2012 when he took over as the Cardinals' closer, saving 24 games. Salas finished the season with an ERA+ of 163.

This deal doesn't look good for the Halos, per Dave Cameron at FanGraphs Cardinals Continue Being Smart, Acquire Peter Bourjos

To get Bourjos, the Cardinals sent Anaheim third baseman David Freese and reliever Fernando Salas. Salas is basically nothing, so this can be seen as essentially a Freese for Bourjos swap from the Cardinals perspective. And it’s hard not to love that exchange for St. Louis. Freese has value and is a decent buy-low candidate for the Angels, but his offensive performances have always been heavily driven by BABIP, and his defense went from okay to terrible last year. Even if you expect a nice rebound season, Freese still projects as an inferior player to Bourjos, he has one less year of team control, and will be more expensive in his final two seasons of arbitration. Oh, he’s also older, and not exactly the picture of durability himself. It’s hard to see any area where Freese is better than Bourjos. This trade will be sold as speed-and-defense for power, but Bourjos actually has a higher career Isolated Slugging mark than Freese does. This is an average hitting elite defender for a slightly above average hitting meh defender, only the meh defender costs more and is closer to the end of his career.