David Freese and Fernando Salas were traded to Anaheim in exchange for outfielder Peter Bourjos and minor league outfielder Randal Grichuk, as reported by various outlets including the Cardinals' Twitter account. The move is an interesting one for the Cardinals and impacts far more than the outfield.
It can be speculated that Bourjos will contend for the starting center field job in St. Louis. If that is true, the Cardinals will shift Oscar Taveras to focus on a corner outfield spot. That would project a Cardinal outfield of Matt Holliday, Peter Bourjos and Oscar Taveras.
Taveras shifting to right field is likely a good thing as it provides the Cardinals a defensively strong center fielder in Bourjos. The logjam gets created at first base. The deficiency gets created in the middle of the lineup.
Bourjos is a fast, defensive outfielder that will provide the Cardinals with speed in the lineup but is not considered a powerful hitter. Taveras remains a bit of an unknown and will likely take some time to develop his bat when he arrives at the major league level. Prior to the trade, the assumption was that Taveras would play center field and leave right field to Allen Craig. Matt Adams would then be allowed to play first base. The Cardinals would keep Craig and Adams in the same lineup and increase the power potential.
Who got the better end of the trade?
It appears that the Cardinals will be faced with a lineup that features Craig or Adams and no longer both. In addition, the trade would likely move Matt Carpenter to third base and give prospect Kolten Wong the everyday second base job. Neither of those players are considered power threats, though both are good hitters.
That leaves pressure on general manager John Mozeliak to continue to look for an upgrade at shortstop that also provides an offensive upgrade to the lineup.
Pete Kozma was the starting shortstop last season. The Cardinals have expressed an interest in acquiring a young, controllable shortstop in exchange for one of their bulk of pitchers, as reported by Jim Bowden of SiriusXM.
The Cardinals could deal Matt Adams, or even Allen Craig, as part of a package to acquire a shorstop. They currently will rely on Matt Holliday and Allen Craig as well as Yadier Molina to provide power to the lineup. A shorstop that can provide some power would go a long way in helping the Cardinals improve.
The Cardinals traded a World Series hero in David Freese. It remains to be seen if it will be the only trade the Cardinals make this offseason.
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