Angels and Cardinals trade Bourjos, Freese

Today the Los Angeles Angels traded outfielder Peter Bourjos to the St. Louis Cardinals for past World Series MVP David Freese.  Through the deal the Angels are able to fill their hole at third base while the Cardinals pick up some outfield depth with the expected loss of Carlos Beltran.

When you look at why both teams made the deal I think it’s a fine trade for each team. I believe Peter Bourjos has more value but it’s still fine trade for LA. They needed a third baseman and Peter Bourjos was just a fourth outfielder in LA. St. Louis had depth in the infield so Freese was expendable while they pick up some needed outfield depth.

Peter Bourjos is a 27 year old outfielder with great defensive skills who has proven to a valuable player in the Brett Gardner mold when given a chance. In his only full season, 2011, he posted a 4.2 fWAR. He has posted less than 600 PA in each of his other three seasons combined. He has accumulated an impressive amount of fWAR over that time. Granted, WAR is just a framework and not an be-all end-all type of metric- but it is useful. In fact, his career WAR/650PA is 5.15. Now, that’s over four seasons with three of them as a backup outfielder so his rate WAR is inflated a little bit. But it still shows he is a good player and can be a valuable member of any team as a starting outfielder. With the trade St. Louis can shift Matt Carpenter to third, put Kolten Wong at second, and have an outfield of Bourjos, Craig, and Jay/Taveras.

As for LA, they needed a third baseman. Freese isn’t as valuable as Bourjos in general, but for the Angels he might be. LA already have Josh Hamilton and Mike Trout in the outfield, with a couple other youngsters in the mix. However, their third baseman was Chris Nelson. Freese, according to Steamer projections, expects to a be two win upgrade over Nelson. Moreover, while Steamer projects Bourjos to be worth over two wins, that’s with nearly 500 PA. If LA was only going to give him only 200 PA again, then Freese would project to be more valuable in LA than Bourjos.

Freese is entering is age 31 season and has more two years arbitration years. Bourjos will be 27 and has three more arbitration years. So again, I do think Bourjos is more valuable in a neutral context. In the perspective of each team though, the trade makes sense.

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