Well that didn’t take long. Three weeks into the offseason and the Los Angeles Angels have made their first big move.
The Angels’ top priority this offseason is certainly pitching and there was talk about them trading one of their young position players in order to bring in some arms to reinforce the starting rotation behind ace Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson. The lineup is pretty much set but there was one gaping hole in that potent lineup that includes this eras best player, Mike Trout, and last eras best player, Albert Pujols; the Angels lacked a third baseman.
Not since the days of Troy Glaus and Chone Figgins have the Angels had a solid third baseman for the long run. Yes, Alberto Callaspo was a good third baseman but he didn’t provide a spark like Figgins or power like Glaus.
Well, that may all have changed as the Angels have traded outfielder Peter Bourjos to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for 2011 World Series hero and MVP David Freese.
The Angels also sent minor league outfield prospect Randal Grichuk and will also be receiving reliever Fernando Salas.
The move reunites Freese with former teammate Albert Pujols. Freese is coming off a down year in which he hit .262 with nine home runs and 60 RBIs but is a year removed from hitting .293 with 20 home runs and 70 RBIs. The Angels are counting on that Freese to be their third baseman.
The Angels’ third basemen ranked 27th in the majors with an aggregate .637 OPS and only hit eight home runs so even if Freese fails to regain his 2012 All-Star form, he will be better than anything else the Angels had at third.
The Angels also hope Salas can help improve their depleted bullpen which needs some major upgrades as Salas struck out 186 batters in 192.1 innings in his career so far. The Angels’ bullpen went 20-27 with a 4.12 ERA this past season so any help will be a major upgrade.
Borjous became expendable with the emergence of J.B. Shuck last year. A superb defender in center field with tons of speed, Bourjos will likely take the center field position in St. Louis from Jon Jay. The Cardinals now have a tendency of taking all the number 25 center fielders from the Angels’ as they once obtained former Angel great and number 25 Jim Edmonds.
Bourjos hit .274 with three home runs and 12 RBIs while missing most of the season with several injuries. The Angels thought he would be their center fielder of the future but that all changed once they saw what they had in Trout and the emergence of Shuck who hit a solid .293 with two home runs and 39 RBIs in his first year in the majors.
Girchuck was selected with the 24th overall pick by the Angels in the 2009 draft which means he was selected within one spot of Trout.
Now the Angels have another young player waiting in the trade winds in Mark Trumbo who they will look to possibly move as well to bring in some pitching help. Check one thing off their shopping list, now comes the rest.
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