The Angels have agreed to send outfield prospect Randal Grichuk and outfielder Peter Bourjos to the Cardinals in exchange for third baseman David Freese and reliever Fernando Salas, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports.
The centerpieces of the deal, Freese and Bourjos, were each previously above average players who saw their stock plummet this past season, the former due to ineffectiveness, the latter due to injury. In his second season, Salas had been a pivotal piece of the Cardinals’ 2011 World Series run, but he’s 1-7 with a 4.36 ERA since then.
Grichuk ,21, is the only prospect in this deal, and he could tip the balance in the Cardinals favor. A first round pick out of high school, Grichuk has forever been billed as having plus raw power, but has never been able to fully channel that natural strength into games. This past year was his greatest attempt, with 22 round trippers in 500 Double-A at bats, but it came at the expense of his average. He hit .256 after hitting .298 the year prior.
Worse, he has struggled to get on base consistently throughout his minor league career. Despite playing full seasons and logging over 540 plate appearances each of the last two years, he has failed break the 30 walk plateau. The result has been on base percentages of .335 and .305, numbers that will have to improve if he is ever going to make the majors.
In the outfield, he’s nothing special, but he has a decent arm and decent range – the makings of a mildly above average right fielder. Don’t expect any gold gloves, though.
He’s not a sexy prospect. In fact, he failed to even make MLB.com’s postseason top 20 Angels prospects, but at 21 he still has plenty of upside. If he learns to harness his power and maybe lay off a few pitches out of the zone, he could develop into a 25-30 homer, .330 On base competent right fielder. If not, a future as a fourth outfielder is not out of reach. For a struggling third baseman and a middle of the road reliever, its not a bad pickup, especially when packaged with a gold glove-type fielder like Bourjos.