It's always shocking to the fan base when one of their favorite players is traded away.
And it's hard to get more legendary than David Freese was in St. Louis.
There aren't many people who saw him hit a triple when the Cardinals were down to their last strike in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series to tie the game and then hit a home run in extra innings to win it and force a fateful Game 7 that will ever forget it.
Still, Freese had an awful season in 2013 in which he could never find a consistent stroke at the plate. And another mysterious car accident could only serve to decrease the Cardinals' dwindling patience for him.
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It was obvious, after rumors of talks with the New York Yankees and Miami Marlins that centered on Freese, followed by this latest round of negotiations with the Anaheim Angels, that general manager John Mozeliak was determined to get rid of the third baseman. It was just a matter of what the Redbirds would get in return.
Had the Cardinals not found a taker for Freese by Dec. 2, the team may very well have non-tendered him and walked away with nothing. Instead, the Birds were able to land star-crossed centerfielder Peter Bourjos who missed much of last season with injuries as well as another former first round draft pick, Class AA outfielder Randal Grichuk.
Generally speaking, I have been satisfied in the past when the Cardinals trade for an Angels centerfielder. Whether Borjous, who has reportedly been sought by several other teams in trade over the past two years, turns out to be Jim Edmonds remains to be seen. However, it's clear that the Birds had about as much value placed in Freese these days than they did in Kent Bottenfield in 2000.
At the very least, Borjous improves the Cardinals' team speed, outfield defense and depth. But he could blossom into a very productive starter in center for years to come.
My largest concern, and I am withholding final judgement until the rest of the off-season plays out, is that the Redbirds are putting themselves in a precarious position by counting on rookie second baseman Kolten Wong to be a starter as Matt Carpenter will seemingly move over to third base.
Wong might be fine. But he didn't hit last year when he was called up. If he doesn't hit next season and he has to be sent back to Class AAA for more work on his swing, the Birds are going to be in trouble.
This move seemingly put the Cardinals in a spot where centerfield won't be an option for top prospect Oscar Taveras. If Borjos is in center and Taveras moves over to right, that leaves Matt Adams and Allen Craig to fight over first base. Is it possible to get them all enough playing time? Yes. But there is enough coverage that the Cardinals could afford to trade one of those guys to find a shortstop.
In my book Adams would be the odd man out. But maybe the Redbirds are caving in to the Rangers demand of Taveras for their top prospect, potential shortstop Jurickson Profar...