Angels Trade Peter Bourjos for David Freese

Aug 27, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Peter Bourjos (25) works out prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Well, it finally happened. For two years now, Peter Bourjos has found his name in the middle of seemingly every trade rumor that swirled around the Angels. General Manager, Jerry Dipoto, consistently said that Bourjos was a part of the long-term plans for the Angels, making him seemingly off limits. Until now.

/throws phone from a moving car

My initial reaction was: “Damnit. I really like Bourjos.” My second reaction was: “What in the what? Randal Grichuk is heading to St. Louis as well?”

In return, the Angels are getting noted St. Louisian and post season hero, David Freese. Coming to Anaheim along with the prototypical third baseman that Angels fans have been clamoring for is Fernando Salas.

Freese is coming off of a down year where he posted a slash line of .262/.340/.381, a wOBA of .322 and a wRC+ of 106. He was still a little above league average, which should be comforting considering he played most of the season with lingering back pain. In 2012 he posted a .293/.372/.467 slash line, a .365 wOBA, a wRC+ of 133 and an fWAR of 4.0. When healthy, Freese is seriously valuable. But, “when healthy” is the key. He has never played in 150 games in a season.

Fernando Salas is the relative unknown in the deal for some Angels fans. And at first glance, his stats scream “underwhelming.”

Oct 27, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals third baseman David Freese (23) prior to game four of the MLB baseball World Series against the Boston Red Sox at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

In parts of four seasons, he has posted an ERA of 3.42 and an ERA+ of 111. But most of that is thanks to his 2010 and ’11 campaigns. In 2012 and ’13 he posted ERA’s of 4.30 and 4.50. His adjusted ERA+ for those seasons was 89 and 82. None of which fills me with any type of joy. And considering the inclusion of Grichuk* in the deal, it feels like the Angels got taken to the cleaners on this deal, and Dave Cameron of Fangraphs thinks the same.

In summation, the Angels traded away one of their top prospects in Grichuk along with Bourjos who, in 2011 posted an fWAR of 4.2 thanks in large part to his crazy-good defense and had become the hitter the Angels expected him to be before a broken wrist derailed his season in 2013. In return, the Angels got an oft-injured third baseman who, when healthy, is an above average hitter and is an OK defender at third along with a relief pitcher who was good for a couple of seasons a few years ago but has been below league average the last two seasons.

These are the kind of trades that I expect Tony Reagins to make. I am completely underwhelmed by this deal, and sincerely hope that it plays out better than I imagine that it will.

On the brightside, welcome to being a starting everyday player in the Major Leagues, Kole Calhoun.

* – Not once did I mention how Grichuk was the player chosen one pick before Mike Trout in the 2009 draft. I now consider myself to be accomplished.

Topics: David Freese, Hot Stove, Los Angeles Angels, Peter Bourjos, St. Louis Cardinals

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  • VirginiaT

    *cries*
    I have no words!

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  • carllafong

    Your analysis paints a black picture I just don’t see. The Angels haven’t had a third baseman in years. With a shortage of legitimate third baggers in major league baseball the Angels did well to come away with a World Series and NLCS MVP, who has played in the World Series two of the past three years. Yes, he had a down year due to a back strain– but that down year is still better than the production the Angels received this past year. You can keep talking about the potential of Bourjos, but he was a 4th outfielder with nowhere to play and who was also hurt the past three years. Trout is your center fielder, period. This is a great trade for the Angels– and Freese still has untapped potential, just as Bourjos. Furthermore, the Angels still have Jimenez in reserve, a nice fill in if Freese is injured at any time during the season, and Freese gives Cowart two more years to develop into a major leaguer.

    • mikehllywa

      The increased cushion for Cowart is the only upside. You mention Bourjos being hurt, but neglect to mention Freese and his injury history. Until the broken wrist, Bourjos was hitting well over .300. In 2012, he was pushed into reserve. In 2011he was a 4-win player.

      He lost one year to injury (a fluke injury at that), and got minimal opportunity in the other. He’s also four years Freese’s junior, and cheaper. Adding Freese aged the Angels and makes it harder to find pitching since they are hamstrung by big contracts.

      I hate to be bleak but, if it walks, talks and quacks like a duck…

      • carllafong

        Dude, do you understand baseball? We have a glut of outfielders. Bourjos is not a starter. He’s 27 and has not had an accomplished career. Freese is a World Series MVP who drove in an all time record number of RBI. They are two different players at different positions. We need a real third baseman and need to trade our surplus. There is a shortage of good third basemen. Jimenez ain’t gonna cut it. Callaspo was a second baseman. Yes, Freese has had injuries, so what? He’s only 30, that’s his prime. Who should the Angels have gotten for only 4 million a year to play third? Who? What’s the big move they should’ve made? Look at reality, this is not fantasy league. Freese had an off year and it’s still better than what our guys did at third.

        • mikehllywa

          So, what you are saying is: Freese has had injuries, so what? But, Bourjos has had injuries, so, trade him?

          Freese won a World Series MVP. Good for him. By that logic, Freese is incredibly accomplished and probably should have fetched more than Bourjos.

          You are citing a seven-game series as the reason why he is bound to be an all-time producer for the Angels. You question if I understand baseball? Do you understand the utter uselessness of small sample sizes?

          30 is not “prime years.” 30 is when a player starts his downhill slide into the backend of his career. And, last time I checked, defensive metrics held no bearing in fantasy baseball. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that I am not.

          What the Angels did was, add $4MM for a player that didn’t actually need when what they should have done was used that $4MM to go towards starting pitching. Because even though they didn’t have a “real third baseman” last year, they still had the fifth best offense in all of baseball.

          Unless of course David Freese is going to pitch 200 innings next year.

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