NL Central News: Cardinals Trade Freese for Bourjos

The St. Louis Cardinals made a trade this afternoon, sending third baseman David Freese to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for outfielder Peter Bourjos. The two sides also swapped additional players, with the Angels getting Fernando Salas and the Cardinals getting Randal Grichuk, according to Ken Rosenthal, who first reported the trade.

The move for the Cardinals should result in a shakeup of their 2013 lineup. With Freese gone, it’s expected that Matt Carpenter would move to third base, opening up second base for prospect Kolten Wong. Bourjos is a great defensive center fielder, and is much better than Jon Jay at the position. Bourjos has a career UZR/150 of 20.2 in center, while Jay has a career -0.6 UZR/150 at the position. So Bourjos is a big upgrade defensively. He could also be a candidate to bounce back offensively. If he puts up numbers like he did last year, and does that over a full season, he could be a very valuable player for the Cardinals.

From there, the only question is what the Cardinals will do in right field. My guess is that they move Jay over to right until top prospect Oscar Taveras is ready. It’s also possible that Taveras could take over on Opening Day.

I’m not sure about the total impact to the Cardinals’ offense. They’re basically replacing Freese with Bourjos, plus this also means they might not be bringing back Beltran for right field. Defensively, this is a big boost for the Cardinals. They upgrade in center field with Bourjos over Jay, and they’d upgrade at third base with Carpenter over Freese. You could also make the argument that they’re upgrading defensively at second base. Carpenter had a -2.0 UZR/150 last year at second, while Wong had a 16.3 UZR/150 in a very limited amount of innings. That’s a small sample in both areas, but Wong projects as a better defensive second baseman than Carpenter, so it’s easy to look past the stats in this case.

Last year the Cardinals had the 29th ranked UZR/150, with a -10.6 mark. So this move definitely addresses a need for them.

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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